I want to tell you about an amazing woman I know. She was born in 1924 in southern Wisconsin and was living on a farm during the Great Depression when her father died after a brief illness. She learned to drive at age thirteen because her mother did not drive and someone had to provide transportation. Without a man to work the farm, she moved with her mother and younger sister to town, completing high school as the valedictorian of the class of twenty-six students. On the eve of the Second World War, she attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, studying to be a medical technologist. Having an interest in seeing other places, after earning her degree, she went to California with other young women to work, but after the war she found herself back in Wisconsin and married to the captain of her high school football team, now a Navy war veteran.
A year later she gave birth to the first of three daughters. Meanwhile her husband was obtaining his business degree on G I Bill funding, beginning a career in the insurance industry, and moving the growing family multiple times in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. He accepted any opportunity for advancement which always seemed to be linked with a transfer, and after a year in New Jersey and five years in Atlanta, they settled into life in Dallas, Texas. During these years our heroine was very busy cooking, sewing, crafting, and raising her three girls. The oldest stayed in Atlanta, the middle child attended college in North Carolina and stayed there, and the youngest attended high school and college in Texas, finally settling in Charlotte NC. She filled her empty nest with community and church activities including Jazzercise, and did some traveling including regular visits with relatives in Wisconsin.
Her husband retired and they moved east for the opportunity to spend time with their adult children and two grandchildren, settling near the top of a mountain in Hendersonville NC. She became interested in Carl Sandburg’s farm, Connemara, a nearby National Park and eventually became a volunteer guide, giving informative tours of the house weekly for thirteen years. She also took every opportunity to travel, visiting such faraway places as Scotland, Germany, China, Spain, the Holy Land, Greece, Mexico, the Caribbean, Alaska, and Hawaii, as well as many places in the continental US. Her husband passed away in 2001 and she was able to remain in her home for many years, recently moving to an independent apartment in a senior community. She lost her oldest daughter to cancer in 2014. In spite of the many challenges her life has provided, she has always been a positive person, looking for the best in other people and relying on her Christian faith for support. I don’t know anyone who has met her who is not impressed by her charm and humility, in fact, I agree wholeheartedly with my many friends who have said over the years, “When I grow up I want to be just like your mom!”
Story written by Alison Lewis
A memorial service will be held at 1 pm on Saturday, January 4, 2019 at Grace Lutheran Church with Pastor Greg Williams officiating.
Date: Saturday, January 4, 2020
Time: 1:00 pm
Grace Lutheran Church
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