My Mom died Friday morning July 27. She died at home as she wanted to. We had the services for her on Wednesday, August 2.
Even though she was ready to go it is very hard for those of us she left behind. We will all miss her so much. I can honestly say that I am who I am today because of my Mom. She gave me so much. Here is the obituary from the North County Times and here is the eulogy that I read at her funeral:
Mom was born in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. She
grew up in Jasper, Alberta in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. She
loved the mountains. Her Dad was an train engineer for the Canadian
National Railroad. He drove the steam engines that were used to pull
trains over the mountains. Mom said she always remembered being a
little bit scared of the giant noisy engines. She had memories of her
Mom taking Gordon and her down to the station to visit her Dad when he
was working. She also remembered one time She and her mother rode the
train to a remote mountain meadow where he stopped and let them out.
They camped, spent the night and picked blueberries. The next day the
train stopped and took them home
When Mom was 13 her Dad died suddenly. Mom and her Mother and Brother emigrated to the U.S. to Spokane Washington where my Grandma started a nursing home. Mom graduated from High School in Spokane. She went to Washington State University where she received a bachelors degree in Nursing Education. One of her first nursing jobs was in Los Angeles where nurses were needed to help with the polio epidemic that was then going on. Mother worked at a few different nursing jobs for about a year and then decided that nursing wasn't for her. She enrolled at Iowa State University and received a BS in Home Economics education.
At Iowa State Mom met my Dad on a blind date in about 1947 (60 years ago!). They were married in 1950. Their first home was in Hibbing, Minnesota. Ironically in Hibbing married women were not allow to teach so although Mom was a qualified teacher she went back to work as a nurse until I was born. Eventually Mom and Dad moved to Bismarck, North Dakota where Barbara, Betsy and Charlie were born.
In 1964 when the opportunity presented itself Mom urged Dad to apply for a position helping to build a new oil refinery in Brisbane, Australia. Dad got the job. Mom and Dad packed up the whole family and we moved. We lived in Australia for 5 years and then moved to England, then Wales and finally Zaire. In Zaire Dad was heading a project to build a new copper mine in a remote area. There were no schools for the American and European children so Mother started the school and was the superintendent as it grew.
Mom was always an excellent shopper. She loved a bargain and always got value for money. During our time in Australia, England and Wales Mom began to collect antiques. Mom and Dad's home is decorated with beautiful and interesting antiques that she bought on their travels. There are biscuit barrels, a bed warmer, bellows, chamber pots, writing desks, candle sticks, tea caddies and several clocks and that is just the beginning. In England Mom visited the china factories and collected all the china that the whole family uses today.
When Mom and Dad finally moved back to the US Mom again became active in PEO, started Bible study and continued knitting, sewing, doing needlepoint and smocking. Mom continued to love to travel. In the last years she has visited the Holy land, the Gallapagos islands, Russia and many other places. Within North America Mom and Dad explored Alaska, Prince Edward Island where Mom's family came from, the Canadian rockies where Mom grew up and the Teton's where we vacations when we were young. Dad says that Mom recently told him that she wished she had even traveled more
When I think about Mom and all she did with her life, what stands out and what I am certain was her proudest accomplishment was our family. Being a mother defined her and she was the best mother ever. She encouraged us, she taught us, she led by example and most of all she loved us.
To Mom family was everything and her faith was overarching. Her faith was the rock on which she built her life. She was an amazing woman and I think all four of her children can say we are who we are today because of our Mom and her encouragement of us and faith in us. Although she is gone I know that she will live in our hearts and we will never forget her.