Category Archives: Obits

Kaye Sillery Fissinger – 5/16/1944 — 5/18/2017

Kaye Sillery Fissinger – 5/16/44 – 5/18/17

I liked Kaye right from the start.

We met in 2008, while doing volunteer work. I knew right away she was a warrior – she had the Look and the Light. Faithful friend and indefatigable foe of Darkness. She was there for me through my joys and tragedies as I was for hers.

The proof that she was Good was obvious by how the forces of love prevailed when she was present. Our world is lessened by her loss – but I know she would exhort us to ‘work harder!’ and not to mourn her too long.

She is NOT gone – you need only look around and see our beautiful town, free of theocracy, safe from exploitation and unified for the future.

Thank you Kaye – as always, you’ve gone on ahead to prepare the way for us. We’ll see you at the ocean.

Love you friend.

Fellow Adventurer

Anthony David Green 7-31-1950 — 10-9-2016

dscn0022I knew Tony Green under many names, his given name as well as all of his adventuring names from the thousands of hours of roleplaying we did together:

Brutè- Fighter, D&D (Todd’s World)
Skafloc – Magic User, D&D (Todd’s World)
Marluk/Lukram – Magic User, D&D
Alizarin Crimson -Fighter/Magic User, D&D
Kiowa – Aftermath
Jake – Daredevils
Allodar Elventine – Elf Mage, Middle Earth Roleplaying System
Dunravan Shardlow AKA Ravan – Wolf Shaman, Shadowrun
E’rol Flynn – T’skrang Swordmaster, Earthdawn
Sundance – Armed Rock ’n Roller/Psionic Starship Captain, WARPS
Sundance – Serenity
Anthony Marluk – Detective/Wizard, WARPS

(Thanks to Bill Lenox, our erstwhile Dungeon Master for this list)

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Here’s most of ‘Deathspite‘ our gaming group.

Left to Right Back Row: Doug Wray, Bill Lenox, Kirk Sarell, Martin Beier
Front Row: Nick Beier, Janet Thomas, Tony Green
Not shown: Kathy Argenta

tony-warps-at-bills-06-28-2008-5

Here’s another group shot – we’ve been playing for decades and our roster changes slightly. Left-to-right: Janet Thomas, Doug Wray, Bill Lenox, Marty Beier, Lemuel Smith, Tony Green, Nick Beier and Kathy Argenta.

Tony was very musical – played and wrote music, was a DJ and guitar teacher. Here he is at our friend Marty’s 50th birthday party, belting out his rendition of The Man They Call Jayne from Firefly.

It freakin KILLED. He was in very rare form and it was most memorable.

Anthony David Green - 7-31-1950 — 10-00-2016He really loved the song and did it perfectly.

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Opening presents on Christmas – checking for safety before opening?dscn0027

Always  detail-oriented! He and our referee Bill routinely discussed crucial minutiae that success hinged on. Brilliant player.

tony-warps-at-bills-06-28-2008-1

Also a hilarious role-player. I’ve seen screen performers that didn’t work as hard. I can’t count the hours of sidesplitting laughter at his silliness.

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Watching him laying on the couch where we had spent so many happy hours gaming, I realized the game had become real. This time the brave warrior would not be resurrected by miraculous magic or a generous Deity. This was the end of the road.

I sat vigil with him as his Light began to flicker and was witness to his iron will slowly being crushed by the agony of cancer. His children Daniel, Elizabeth, Victoria and Michelle came to him, bade him their farewells and he departed at 3:30 am on Sunday October 9th.

We’ve walked a lot of roads together my friend, wherever you walk now, I hope you are free of pain and care. You are sorely missed.


From Bill Lenox: “I think this was Tony’s favorite picture of himself…well, not exactly Tony, but he modeled for it.” – the illustration, After is by our mutual friend, Todd Lockwood.

tony


From Kathy Argenta:

Dear Friends,

Monday morning I went to the site where Bradfield Lumber use to be, on the corner of Pearl and Folsom in Boulder which is now a Park. I met Todd and Tony there when I was hired to work in the office in 1976, so many years ago. I sat in the park awhile, texted Todd and told him where I was,  and thought about our time together there and the fact that our connection has lasted all these many years, as it has with all of you.

Todd called me one day and asked if I would be interested in playing Dungeons and Dragons which of course he had to explain to me. Even then I had no idea, really, what was in store.

That began many years of the most fun I have ever had with one group of people.

Most important to me at that time was the fact that these sessions offered food for my mind heart and soul.

At the time I was a single parent raising two children ages 8 and 4.

Playing D&D with all of you was my escape and saving grace. I had so much fun and looked forward to each session. We laughed, we argued, we pigged out, we became one as a team against whatever forces were thrown at us and in the short and long run we became family.  Each one of you brought your own uniqueness to every game and you were missed when you didn’t show up. Each one of you still bring your own special self and are so dear to me.

Time passes but when we are all together again it’s as if I’ve never left. Tony would have liked it that we all came together and especially that you Todd came to join us.  How special is that? And Marty, even though you weren’t there in form I know you were in spirit.  As I looked around the table at Janet’s that Saturday it was just a given that you and Nick were there.

I’ve come and gone over the years and no matter how long I was absent I always felt when I returned that I had never left.  How special is that?

Tony you will always be with us.    “Black bird singing in the dead of night”……………, fly your way home my friend, fly free.

Love Kathy


Tony Green with Tommy Emmanuel, July 2016 - Photo by Martin Beier
Tony Green with Tommy Emmanuel, July 2016 – Photo by Martin Beier

A eulogy from Tony’s friend Marisa:

My Friend, Tony …

I used to tease Tony that he had ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). He would usually agree. But what made him difficult to be around sometimes also made him an original…In retrospect, I think Tony was actually a perfectionist–he liked things done right, he liked things done well, and he didn’t tolerate fools well. Tony was also a pretty private person and didn’t let many people into his inner circle. He could be the life of a party, but it was about the party, not him.

Here are some things he told me about himself over the five years I knew him:

He was born and raised in Kansas and grew up on a farm, loving the fireflies that lit up the summer nights. When he was five years old, he knocked out both front teeth when he slipped on some soap bubbles. During his elementary years, Tony went to Sacred Heart Catholic School. Believe it or not, he was also an altar boy for many years too! His favorite horse was named Topsy and he raised a cow named Babe, who was unfortunately struck by lightning and killed right after winning the regional4H competition. Some of his favorite memories were the summers spent at 4H Camp. He also fondly remembered playing Zarro on horseback with his siblings. His brothers shared how they all owned bb guns and used to pad themselves with their shirts and pants and shoot at each other. They had a “secret pact” that if any of them got killed, they would all kill themselves so no one got the blame. I bet their mom didn’t know about that one! He developed his interest in vampires when he read the book “Dracula” at age 15 and went on to write a full-length vampire novel in 1996 called “Blood of Time”.

Tony had a close call when the draft came. His number was 193 and they stopped drafting at 189. Instead, he went to college at KU and majored in theater. Even though he didn’t get his degree, he always liked the spotlight. He eschewed politics until Daniel came of age to be drafted–he didn’t want that to happen to his only son! Recently he was quite a fan of Bernie Sanders though.

His family moved to California when he was a young adult and Tony got to rub elbows with some of the rich and famous there. He was fond of telling how he used to jam with Mama Cass’s brother. In the 70s, he came through Colorado several times on road trips, fell in love with Boulder, and finally decided to move here. Some of the jobs he held during his adult life were editing, doing handyman work, and he even had a short-lived stint on the radio with a handyman call-in show. He had a great gift of gab and a keen sense of humor that kept us entertained and amused much of the time. And who could forget his spot-on imitations of Bob Dylan singing?

Obviously the love of his life was music. I wouldn’t even venture to guess how many albums he owned! He learned to play the guitar in his teens and in his early 20s he belonged to the band “Midnight Sun”, where he wrote and recorded several original compositions. His last public stage performance was an impromptu session when we went to Jake’s Roadhouse to support our friend Jay’s group this past summer and I badgered him to get up onstage to sing a song. He reluctantly complied and a half hour and SEVERAL songs later, just as reluctantly returned to his seat!

You may not know he was a DJ in Boulder for several years, under the name Brian Summers. I met him in the Not Ready For Primetime guitar group in January 2012. After the first time he came to my house for a meetup, he messaged me later to ask if I had found his favorite yellow pick. At the time I suspected he was trying to “pick” me up, but I looked anyway and couldn’t find it. I later found out he actually was particular about his picks and it was his favorite! He also told me he had met all of his serious relationship in bars, so I didn’t have to worry. Whew!

Tony became known in the music group for his general dislike of CCR-Creedence Clearwater Revival. It wasn’t that he disliked the music, but he had gotten to hear it played too much one summer and never got over it. Sometimes people would specifically request a CCR song just to get him going! As much as he “hated” CCR, he had a love affair with the Beatles that never waned and he could rattle off minutiae about each and every song they recorded effortlessly. His two favorite Beatles songs were “Day in the Life” and “Michelle” (after which he named his oldest daughter). It was all too fitting that Tony left us on John Lennon’s birthday–his hero probably wanted to jam …. He and I went to see the Fab Four in concert downtown last Spring and when we got there, found there was gum on one of our seats. He talked to an usher and got us moved from the 24th row to the 4th! Afterward we went to the Hard Rock Cafe, where he had never been before, and he spent almost two hours walking around to look (and comment) on all of the memorabilia.

He was also a big Who/Pete Townsend fan. But he often said his favorite song of all time was “Story in Your Eyes” by the Moody Blues. He even had a favorite chord (Am) and he loved the major 7th chords, which was why his final (and favorite) composition, “Sunfall”, was all done in all maj7 chords.

Although he always loved to teach new things in the meetup group, Tony became my “official” guitar teacher in the Spring of 2015 when I would go over for weekly lessons. He loved to push my learning and was willing to put up with many a clunker as I struggled to master barred chords. He would purposely pick songs that I liked and then write them out in an impossibly hard key to play just to watch me squirm. I usually stopped at his house before I continued to my salsa dancing for the evening and he used to say I was the most overdressed student he had ever taught. I figured if you can’t sound good, you may as well look good!

Tony had many other interests too. He collected perpetual calendars, he was an avid Broncos fan, and he played with a Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying group for decades. He was a rabid collector of family history and genealogy, and felt one of his greatest achievements was getting his parents and grandparents finally buried in the same place. He also collected wooden coins and artichokes. A born storyteller, he could tell you tales behind every knick-knack in his apartment (and there were many!). And I personally never saw anyone so enamoured by words–crossword puzzles, poetry, songs, stories. He loved finding just the “write” word to express himself. His tv was often on some “how it’s made/done” show or Jeopardy. He was a knowledge HOUND. He also was fond of carousels–who knew? And although he didn’t go in much for athletics, he liked to swim.

However, above all else, Tony’s greatest love was his family. I can’t tell you how many times he talked about his kids. He used to call them his “heart” and said without them, life would have no meaning. His apartment was filled with their pictures, their gifts, their accomplishments. He even wrote stories for them when they were younger. He spent a lot of time driving them to school or work or taking them out to eat. He was so proud of all of their achievements and most of all, their individuality. I remember him telling me how smart and good looking they all were–a father’s pride and joy! He always kept his phone nearby in case one of them needed something and was calling him. With Elizabeth, he shared his love of classic rock music. He was thrilled when Michelle got to follow her dream and be part of the Disney cast of”Frozen”, even if it was in faraway California. He often said Victoria was the most like him and he was pleased when she went off to college this year to study drama like he had. And Daniel allowed him to relive some of his own youth. I remember him telling me about how powerful his birth was to him and how proud he was when Daniel got his photo in the Broomfield newspaper and his Eagle Scout designation. And although we never talked about what had happened in his marriage, he told me several times he still loved Laura and I think he hoped for a reconciliation someday. One memory he shared was of an unusual lilac bush that they got on one of their anniversaries that actually bloomed twice a year. He greatly appreciated how she helped him in the months after his cancer was diagnosed, as he had to depend heavily on her to get him to and from the doctors and hospital.

One of his food loves was soft-shell crab and I think in some ways it described his personality as well–crabby on the outside but soft inside. Once he told me about an elderly neighbor who he helped with trash weekly and did handyman work for free and I asked why he often put on the curmudgeon mask so people thought he was so rough and gnarly. He said it was his I ittle secret–he didn’t want people to know he was actually a nice guy. But with all the sweets he liked to eat, they couldn’t help influence his personality, and like the conversation hearts he so enjoyed, he really did have a good heart. He gave me guitar lessons free when I was on sabbatical from my job and couldn’t afford to pay for them. He did many handyman jobs around my house and charged me half of what a regular repairman would. When I look around my house, his handiwork is everywhere–from the compost pallets we scrounged one cold winter night to my rain barrels to my bathroom fixtures to my dance mirror to my greenhouse glass to my walls and outlets. When I went through a rough patch in my own life, he let me come over and play music or go out to eat or watch some “must see” movie whenever I wanted just so I had some company. And what a movie buff he was! We watched everything from Doctor Strangelove to the Sherlock series to Cat Ballou. Quite a mix! Tony once confided his favorite musical was (much to my surprise) “My Fair Lady”. What a romantic softie!

In short, although he had his flaws and never seemed to have a dime to his name, Tony was a good guy who tried to do the best he knew how. He battled his cancer with tenacity and grace, always with an eye to the legacy he was leaving his kids on how to deal with adversity. I really thought he would beat the odds and overcome this horrible disease due to his sheer orneriness, but I admire how he handled the toughest challenge of his life. I still can’t believe he’s gone. I will miss his music at the meetups and I will miss him as the good friend he was, but I know his song will live on in my heart and in all of yours as well. When he came up to my mountain place to work on some plumbing, he signed my guest book with, “I’ll be back!” I’m holding him to that!


From Lemuel Smith:

I am at the library (which is a ways from home to be sure) but wanted to have a chance to speak to Tony’s passing.

When Tony and I talked I told him that for all the places I had been since I left Denver nowhere had I done anything I have enjoyed as much nor met people who have meant more to me than you guys. I know very well that my contact has been sporadic at best but that has taken nothing away from the depth of the feeling I have for all of you. And sporadic as it may be it is more contact than I have kept up with almost anyone from any of the places I have been since.

I will miss knowing Tony is there in Denver but in truth I miss all of you as well. All those Saturdays from before noon until the wee hours. How I looked forward with eager anticipation to playing with all of you each and every session.

You are often in my thoughts and always in my heart. I only wish I had gotten to know Marty and Nick better.

(I can’t believe he isn’t there anymore. Sigh.)

Lemuel D. Smith

Stepping into the Presence

Joshua and Sherri Zander

Joshua and Sherri Zander, of Fort Collins, stepped into the presence of Jesus on Sunday, August 21st in a motorcycle accident on Highway 34 coming home from a sunshine bright, Sunday ride to Estes Park. They were both 55 years old. Joshua was preceded in death by his father, Warren Zander, his mother, Joanne Zander, his brother Michael Zander. He is survived by his sister Mardie (Jay), sister Kris, brother David (Trish), sister Lisa and brother Carl (Chris). Sherri was preceded in death by her brother Jeff Thicksten and brother Mark Thicksten. Sherri is survived by her mother Nancy (Charlie), father Darrell (Deb), sister Tammi (Doug), sister Niqie (Kevin), sister Darlene, and sister Tammy. They both are preceded in death by their son Tyler. They both are survived by four children: Jeremy (Jen), Charlie (Jamie), Katie (Kevin) and Colby (Ruben). They are also survived by six grandchildren affectionately called “grandcuties”: Jackson, Avery, Logan, Braxton, Mason, and Lilly. Joshua was born in Chicago, Illinois, September 8, 1960. Sherri was born in Whiteside County, Illinois, October 28, 1960. Both families moved to Fort Collins when Joshua and Sherri were young. They met at Blevins Junior High in Fort Collins. Both graduated from Rocky Mountain High School in 1978. They began dating shortly after high school graduation, fell in love and married September 27, 1980. Josh worked for Larimer County as a Facilities Manager for ten years. He then became the Facilities Manager at Timberline Church where he served faithfully for six years, seeing the church through a relocation to Timberline Road. In 2004 he took a job at Platte River Power Authority in Site Facilities, became a Plant Operator and then a Laboratory Technician. Sherri launched and managed the coffee shop at Timberline Church, worked for Axa Advisors as an Administrative Assistant, then went back to work at Timberline Church as an Administrative Assistant and was quickly promoted to Office Manager. They had five children, each one loved for who they were. Those children were their whole world. On May 11, 2001 their son Tyler passed from this life as a result of neurofibromatosis. Josh and Sherri modeled what faith and strength looked like while living day to day through difficult times. In any conversation with Josh and Sherri, it was clear that family and faith were everything to them. They loved each other with an almost magical kind of love. They did almost everything together. They were filled to the brim with happiness when they were with their kids and their grandchildren. You could see the joy in their eyes and hear it in their laughter. These were parents who were delighted and energized by their strong family bond. Josh and Sherri had hearts that held plenty of room for loving and caring for their friends too. So many friends . . . so many stories shared of them showing up to help a friend in need. Woodworking projects, party planning, recipe sharing, thoughtful, handwritten notes. Both freely offering hands on help and words of consolation and encouragement, bringing light and hope to those going through rough times. It was easy to have fun with them too. A party at their place was quite an event. Everything a guest might need was thought about and planned for. Everything was just right, when they threw a party. Laughter and love shared in abundance, made being with them a time that would be remembered. Josh loved woodworking and cigars, Sherri loved crafting and decorating – especially for the holidays. They both had the wonderful gift of hospitality. They had a way of making everyone they met feel special. And they both loved to ride their motorcycle together every chance they could. They loved God, their family and their friends. They cared deeply about their work and those they worked with. They were dedicated and honorable people. The kind of people this world could use more of. We loved them. Our hearts are broken because they are gone from us for now . . . but we will see them again, and all will be right and whole once more. For that assurance, we give thanks to our God. Please visit Josh & Sherri’s online memorial tribute at www.allnutt.com.

Published in The Coloradoan from Aug. 27 to Aug. 31, 2016


This a selection of images – some mine, others from Tammi’s personal photos. I knew Josh and Sherry for roughly six years and knew they were incredible people. Sherry was a wonderful sister to Tammi and Josh was the perfect brother in law. I know they’re riding down the highway together still, just in a better place.

Smooth riding kids, see you at the big truck stop in the sky.

Tammi's wedding to Scott Hofferber
Tammi’s wedding to Scott Hofferber
Charlie's Graduation
Charlie’s Graduation
At the Sweet Shoppe
At the Sweet Shoppe
At the Breen / Deines Dutch Hop
At the Breen / Deines Dutch Hop
Sherry and Josh dancing with Tammi and I at the Dutch Hop
Sherry and Josh dancing with Tammi and I at the Dutch Hop
Telling stories at their anniversary party
Telling stories at their anniversary party
More stories from the anniversary
More stories from the anniversary
Josh and Sherry clowing around at their anniversary
Josh and Sherry clowing around at their anniversary
The Zander Family three generations - 2011
The Zander Family three generations – 2011

Bridges

On this seventh anniversary of Marilyn’s death I reflected on how our pets become bridges to the past.

When I met Marilyn she simply hated cats. So my dear cat Fran had to be rehomed to Albuquerque with my first wife. It was years later and an answered prayer when Marilyn finally decided she wanted cats in our home.

No dogs. But cats were now ok. It was a quantum leap in our relationship and her spiritual life.

After her death Kink helped keep my heart alive and then Tammi joined me. With Tammi came dogs (Kona and Sugar and eventually Dozer) and one of our cats simply couldn’t adapt (Chloe) and was rehomed. Kink hung in there and now is on a equals basis with the dogs. She’s also bonded to Tammi and there are now nights when my bed is filled with my lovely wife, my cat AND my dogs.

Blessings come wrapped in tragedies. I thank God for my blessings and give honor to those gone beyond who await me now.

God bless you all.

MLW_KinkyChinCuddlebest
Marilyn Bonita Wray cuddles with one of our new kittens, Kinky, soon to be renamed Kinkles. It was a wondrous moment to see her child heart take flame again. I will never forget it.
Tammi petting Kinkles 060914
My third (!) wife Tammi Jean Hofferber-Wray cuddles with Miss Kinkles surrounded by white. To see this sweet creature ever so wisely bridging the gap between my mates is deeply touching. People ask ‘why cats’ – this should help answer that somewhat.

Friend of My Heart

My uncle Mickey was one of the first men I met who was truly *gentle* with me and playful as I was. His hugs were so encompassing, like no danger or harm could reach me in his arms. All my childhood cares were swept away when I was with him and he made my soul rise up and catch fire. I thank God for his love, it was a wonderful gift to me and transformed my heart.

He was SO silly. I had not known adults were allowed to BE silly ( I did not know my Uncle Bob very well at this point, rest his soul! ) but oh my God he WAS. I remember on at least one occasion laughing so hard I peed my pants. And it was even FUNNIER. Mickey always gave you a warm feeling – sometimes in ways you didn’t expect – or know that you needed.

At my mother’s funeral his words of comfort were like a stone wall holding me up. Even at that dark moment his blazing soul was hard at work and his humor helped me cheer my sister Paula who was dealing with losing her avatar. With one short conversation he helped us both. That’s a moment I remember so clearly.

He was more than my uncle, he was my childhood friend and as I grew, he remained a friend of my heart. He knew well how much I loved him. His Light lives on in me and I give Thanks to God for it.

This poem is my final homage to him.

I love you Uncle Mickey.

M. Douglas Wray and William D. "Mickey" Rowe - Oct. 30, 2010 - Family reunion
M. Douglas Wray and William D. “Mickey” Rowe – Oct. 30, 2010 – Family reunion

Friend of My Heart

Through wind and fire
you have come –
done the things
that must be done.

Worked the Steel
that built our dreams,
fought the fight
and heard the screams.

Built a family
shared his joys –
his lovely girl
his two fine boys.

Gentle heart
devoted soul –
perfect for
a father’s role.

Always humble,
God’s own tool
he shared his gifts –
obeyed the Rule.

Consoled the hearts
of those in pain
and raised them up
to Light again.

Made laughter ring out
clear and sweet –
wit so clever!
mind so fleet!

Time has taken
my favorite clown.
Friend of my heart!!!
My Friend is gone!

To my Uncle Mickey
With all my love

M. Douglas Wray
a nephew
2015

William D. “Mickey” Rowe – 7/14/31 – 5/29/15

William D. "Mickey" Rowe - 7/14/31 - 5/29/15
William D. “Mickey” Rowe – 7/14/31 – 5/29/15

William D. “Mickey” Rowe, 83, of Vandergrift passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, May 29, 2015 in his home.

Born July 14, 1931 in Vandergrift he was a son of the late William John and Lillian Emily (Barber) Rowe. Mr. Rowe lived in Vandergrift all of his life and was a graduate of Vandergrift High School class of 1950. He was employed as Utilities Dispatcher for U.S. Steel in Vandergrift where he was Past President of Local Union U.S.W.A. 1346 retiring after 38 years.

After retirement Bill worked for Walter Optical in Vandergrift and the Vandergrift Beer Distributor.

An Air Force veteran, Bill served during the Korean Conflict in the 43rd Bomb Wing of the Strategic Air Command (S.A.C.). He was honorably discharged in 1956 after four years of service.

Mr. Rowe was a member of St. Gertrude Church, Vandergrift where he was a charter member of the Men’s Club, and former member of St. Vincent DePaul Society and the Bingo committee. He also served his church as an alter server for funerals and as a Minister of Consolation. He was an Honorary Member and Past Grand Knight of the Kiski Valley Knights of Columbus, Council #3174, the Alle-Kiski Assembly Knights of Columbus #0928 and a member of the Assembly Color Corp. Bill was also a member of the Vandergrift American Legion Post 0114 and life member of the Leechburg Elks B.P.O.E Lodge 377.

Mr. Rowe volunteered for the Vandergrift Meals on Wheels for more than 25 years and enjoyed working at his church’s spaghetti dinners and at all of the Men’s Club activities. He was also a member of the PA Adopt-A-Highway.

He was the proud recipient of Citations from the State House of Representatives, Westmoreland County Commissioners and the Vandergrift Borough along with a plaque from Vandergrift #2 Fire Department for rescuing a 74 year old woman from a fire in her home in 1983.

Bill enjoyed traveling, working in his yard, but most of all loved spending time with his family. Although he was a lifelong resident of Vandergrift he was an avid Dallas Cowboys football fan.

Besides his parents, Mr. Rowe was preceded in death by two sisters, Shirley Wray and Mary Barbara Walsh.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lois Jean (Kane) Rowe of Vandergrift; daughter, Debra Jean Julian and her husband, Joseph of Pittsburgh; two sons, William D. Rowe and his wife, Jennifer of Broadview Heights, OH and Michael E. Rowe and his wife Beth of Leechburg; 3 grandchildren, Matthew R. and Angela J. Julian both of Pittsburgh and Edward J. Rowe of Leechburg; a sister, Guinivere Fleissner of Pittsburgh as well as many nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind his special friends, Wilmer and Raffelina Shaner.

Visitation will on Monday, June 1st from 2-4 & 6-8 pm in the Brady-Curran Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc., 429 Franklin Avenue, Vandergrift. Parting prayers of transfer will be recited at the funeral home on Tuesday, June 2nd at 11 am followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30 am in St. Gertrude Roman Catholic Church, Vandergrift with Father James Loew OSB celebrant. Entombment will follow in Greenwood Memorial Park Mausoleum, Lower Burrell where full military honors will be accorded by the Vandergrift Veterans Honor Guard, Inc.

The family suggest memorial contributions in Bill’s memory be made to Heritage Hospice, 356 Freeport Street, Suite 200, New Kensington PA 15068.

Helen Ruth Talbott – Oct. 27, 1937 — May 9, 2014

Helen Ruth Talbot
D. Eugene and Helen Ruth Talbott

Helen R. Talbott, longtime resident of Montrose and the Western Slope, passed away in Fruita on Friday, May 9, 2014. She was 76.

The child of Ralph and Naomi Cowan, she was born in Boise, Idaho, and lived in several locations throughout her childhood. But Western Colorado was her home. Some of her fondest childhood memories stem from her time living with her grandparents near Telluride in Ames, Colo., where her grandfather operated the Ames Power Plant, the world’s first commercial alternating-current power plant.

She married D. Eugene Talbott in Castle Rock, Colo., in 1959. They shared a lifelong love of the outdoors and togetherness. With her at his side, he passed away suddenly in 2001.

She was a devoted mother, loving wife, cherished friend and consummate grower of African violets. She worked as a bookkeeper and accountant, including at Connors Drilling in Montrose and Delta-Montrose Electric Association.

She is survived by son Clinton Talbott, daughter-in-law Melinda Marquis, and brothers Orion Cowan and Marvin Cowan.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, “Gene,” her daughter, LaRena, and her baby boy.

A graveside remembrance is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, May 16, 2014, at Grandview Cemetery in Montrose (map).

Cynthia Lynn Owens – 1/27/59-5/1/14

Cindy Owens Beier
Cynthia Lynn Owens

Cynthia Lynn Owens, aged 55, died peacefully in her sleep on May 1, 2014 at her townhome in Erie of natural causes. Cindy was born January 27, 1959, in Gary, Indiana, the daughter of Richard and Dorothy Beier, now of Frederick, Colorado.

Cindy moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1972 with her parents, brother and sister. In 1983, Cynthia Beier married Thomas Owens, with whom she had two children, which they jointly raised following divorce.

Cindy thoroughly enjoyed socializing with friends and vacationing with her parents in Arizona. She read extensively, especially true crime and suspense novels. She was a huge Broncos fan and an even bigger fan of Pink Floyd. She loved her cats and spending time with her daughter Patty and Patty’s friends. She enjoyed hosting big meals, parties and family gatherings, and talking with her cousin Debbie on the phone every week. Cindy liked to play video poker, shoot pool, sing karaoke, smoke cigarettes and drink Budweiser. She was a devoted mother, daughter, sister, aunt and a loyal friend.

She attended Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado in the 1970’s, obtained her G.E.D. and studied at Front Range Community College.

She was a key part of her father’s floor covering business before he retired. Following that, she started her own carpet and tile business that she ran for several years before moving to the Home Depot Pro-Desk. Throughout her career, contractors and customers sought her expert advice on home remodeling and decorating projects.

Cindy is survived by her daughter (Patty Ann (Owens) Stewart), her parents (Dick and Dee), her older brother (Marty), her younger sister (Jodi), several beloved nephews and nieces, and other relatives and close friends. Her son, J.D. Owens pre-deceased her but was always close to her heart.

There will be a private viewing for immediate family members and close friends at the Crist Mortuary in Boulder, Colorado. A public memorial to celebrate her life will be held at 4:00 p.m. on May 7, 2014 at the same location. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent in her name to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley and the Association for Suicide Prevention.

Service for Major Lee

Note: all images click to enlarge – click ‘x’ in top right corner to close.

IMG_1538B&W
Major Lee and his human Anthony Lee

May 1998 –– 17 August 2013

Memorial service: 2:00, Sunday 6 October 2013

Chapel of the Holy Family, St John’s Episcopal Church

1419 Pine Street, Boulder, Colorado

Major Lee
Major Lee

When I started working on this service, I was using as a guide the service I put together for Rumple in November 2003, which had been compiled mostly from resources furnished by the Franciscans because at that time the Episcopalians were somewhat slow in their development of such resources.  In the intervening ten years, I am pleased to say, the Episcopalians have caught up with and in some sense passed the Franciscans in this regard; some of the Franciscan material is now devoted rather specifically to St Francis himself and not to animals as such.  Thus, this service is a patchwork of quotes or ideas borrowed from the Franciscans, from a liturgy created by an Episcopal priest in Georgia, from an “authorized rite” from the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, and from the BCP.  I will preface it with an observation from the Franciscans which is not quite a prayer and is therefore rather difficult to fit into the liturgy:

The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth, and the sea.  They share in the fortunes of human existence and have a part in human life.  God, who confers his gifts on all living things, has often used the service of animals or made them symbolic reminders of the gifts of salvation.  Animals were saved from the Flood and afterwards made a part of the covenant with Noah.  The Paschal Lamb brings to mind the Passover sacrifice and the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt; a giant fish saved Noah, and ravens brought bread to Elijah.  Animals were included in the repentance enjoined on humans, and animals share in Christ’s redemption of all God’s creation.

We therefore thank God for blessing us with the companionship of animals in this life, and trust that in his mercy and wisdom  he will bring them as well as us to that place where we may together praise and glorify him throughout all ages.

Memorial service for Major Lee

Officiant

None of us has life in himself,
and none of us becomes his own master when he dies.
For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord,
and if we die, we die in the Lord.
So, then, whether we live or die,
We are the Lord’s possession.

Book of Common Prayer 491

Hymn #645 St Columba

  1. The King of love my shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never;
    I nothing lack if I am his, and he is mine for ever.
  2. Where streams of living water flow, my ransomed soul he leadeth.
    And where the verdant pastures grow, with food celestial feedeth.
  3. Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love he sought me,
    And on his shoulder gently laid, and home, rejoicing, brought me.
  4. In death’s dark vale I fear no ill with thee, dear Lord, beside me;
    Thy rod and staff my comfort still, thy cross before to guide me.
  5. Thou spread’st a table in my sight; thy unction grace bestoweth;
    And oh, what transport of delight from thy pure chalice floweth.
  6. And so, through all the length of days, thy goodness faileth never;
    Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise within the house for ever,

Paraphrase of Psalm 23 by Henry Williams Baker (1821-1877)

Collect for the Feast of St Francis

 Major Lee
Major Lee

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord: Grant unto your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of the world; that, following the example of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Reader    A reading from the twelfth chapter of the Book of Job.

7 Ask of the animals, and they will teach you;

the birds of the air, and they will tell you.

  Ask the plants of the earth. and they will teach you;

and the fish of the sea will declare to you.

  Who amongst all these does not know

that the hand of the LORD has done this?

  In his hand is the life if every living thing

and the breath of every human being.

  The word of the Lord.

People    Thanks be to God.

Canticle 12 – A Song of Creation (Benedicite, omnia opera Domini) Book of Common Prayer 89, alt.

Let the earth glorify the Lord, *

  praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O mountains and hills, and all that grows upon the earth, *

  praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas and streams, *

  O whales and all that move in the waters,

All birds of the air, glorify the Lord, *

  praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O beasts of the wild, *

  and all you flocks and herds [and all you dogs and cats],

O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord, *

  praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Reader    A reading from Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, in the eighth chapter.

19   The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

  The word of the Lord.

People    Thanks be to God.

Prayer of St Francis (“Make me a channel of your peace”)

Celebrant  The Holy Gospel of our  Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

People    Glory to you, Lord Christ.

14:1   Jesus said: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”

  The Gospel of the Lord.

People    Praise to you, Lord Christ.

Homily – Rev. Susan Springer

Offertory – “To Canaan’s land I’m on my way” – Cara McMillan & Tony Lee

  “What wondrous love is this” (v. 2 by McMillan; congregation join in on #439, v. 3)

Prayers of the People   Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music

O God, your blessed Son, Jesus, told us that not even one tiny sparrow is forgotten in your sight.  Strengthen our confidence in your love for all your creatures; in your goodness,

  Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

Loving God, you brought this beloved animal into the life of Tony and all his friends, to share kindness, joy, and faithful companionship.  Receive our thanks and praise for the community between your animals and your people, and all the ways in which we bless each other’s lives; in your goodness,

  Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

Gracious God, you have given us the blessing and responsibility of caring for animals.  If in any way   we have failed in that responsibility, we ask for your pardon and trust in your mercy; in your goodness,

  Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

Various readers      

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, we remember before you today our brother Major.  We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage.

May the love and faith and loyalty and trust he showed for us in his life be to us an example of the love and faith and loyalty and trust that we may show for you.  In your compassion, console us who mourn.  Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are united with those of all species who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. BCP 493, alt.

Almighty God, with whom live the spirits of your creatures who die innocent of sin as well as those who die in the Lord: We give you hearty thanks for the good example of your servant Major, who, having finished his life in peace, now finds rest and refreshment.  May we, with all who have died in harmony with your ways, have perfect fulfillment and bliss in your eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.   BCP 503, alt.

God of grace and glory, we remember before you today our beloved companion Major.  We thank you for giving him to us to be a source of abundant love, affection, and joy.  In your compassion, comfort us who grieve.  Give us faith to commit this beloved creature of your own making to your care, for you live and reign for ever and ever.  Amen.    Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music

Almighty God, your Son taught us that though five sparrows could be bought for two pennies, they are not forgotten before you.  We thank you for Major, and for the companionship he offered to Tony and many others.  And we thank you for all the pets who share our homes and our lives.  We ask for comfort for this community in their loss, knowing that you grieve with them, for you care for all of your creation as you care for us.  May we live more peacefully because of today, and come at last, in the fellowship of all your people, to the heaven where we long to be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

   Rev. Frank Logue, King of Peace Episcopal Church

Eucharistic Prayer C – BCP 369

The Lord’s Prayer – BCP 364

Communion – “Into paradise may the angels lead you” (Hymn #354) – Pick-up choir

Closing prayer Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music

God of creation, through your great mercy you renew us:

Send us now back to the love and labor of this day

with joy and compassion in our hearts;

Through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.

Officiant

All life is interwoven.

People    All life is a gift from God.

Officiant Let us bless the Lord.

People    Thanks be to God.

Hymn #400 Lasst uns erfreuen

1 All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voices, let us sing:

  Alleluia, alleluia!

  Bright burning sun with golden beams, pale silver moon that gently gleams,

  Refrain   O praise him, O praise him, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

2 Great rushing winds and breezes soft, you clouds that ride the heavens aloft,

  O praise him, Alleluia!

  Fair rising morn, with praise rejoice; stars, nightly shining, find a voice: Refrain

3 Swift flowing water, pure and clear, make music for your Lord to hear:

  Alleluia, alleluia!

  Fire, so intense and fiercely bright, you give to us both warmth and light. Refrain

4 Dear mother Earth, you day by day unfold your blessings on our way;

  O praise him, Alleluia!

  All flowers and fruits than in you grow, let them his glory also show: Refrain

5 All you with mercy in your heart, forgiving others, take your part;

  O sing now: Alleluia!

  All you that pain and sorrow bear, praise God, and cast on him your care: Refrain

6 And even you, most gentle death, waiting to hush our final breath,

  O praise him, Alleluia!

  You lead back home the child of God, for Christ our Lord that way has trod. Refrain

7 Let all things their creator bless, and worship him in humbleness;

  O praise him, Alleluia!

  Praise God the Father, God the Son, and praise the Spirit, Three in One: Refrain

St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226); tr. William H. Draper, alt.

 

A wake will follow immediately at the home of Charlie & Kathe Lujan, 1999 Clipper Drive, Lafayette; follow others to get there, or ask them for directions.  (Dog-owners, note that they don’t have a fenced yard.  Cat-allergists, note that they do have cats.)

Memorial donations may be sent to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, or to VCA All Pets Animal Hospital, 805 S. Public Road, Lafayette 80026.

If I have any belief about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.

– James Thurber

 Major Lee
Major Lee
all photos: Taryn Taylor, 6 August 2013

Spirit Abides

This is a poetic eulogy for my mother,  Shirley Jean Wray (1927-2001). It was printed on the back of the program for my youngest sister Paula’s wedding.

One of the decorative elements of the wedding was violets in many places, a tribute to our mother. I found it tremendously touching.

I miss you mom.

Spirit Abides

Though absent in body,
a spirit abides
we’ve only to summon –
it’s there at our side

Fire and steel
and a vessel of clay
brought forth a family
known proudly as Wray

But furnaces falter
and day turns to night
what once was so brilliant
is now gone from sight

So if there’s no answer
when her name is read,
let blossoms of violet
stand now in her stead

For Shirley Jean Wray
Beloved Mother

MDW 3/03

Mary Frances Gregory 2/16/1944 – 12/2/2012

Mary Frances Gregory
Mary Frances Gregory

Mary Frances Gregory, aged 68, of Hygiene, CO, beloved mother of Amy and her husband Bob, grandmother of Jacob and aunt of Meghan and Jeremy departed for heaven (we hope) on Sunday December 2, 2012 after a courageous battle with breast cancer, life, obesity and rude people.

She was born February 16, 1944 to Helen Elizabeth Lathrup Gregory and Virgil Littleton Gregory at Longmont United Hospital, then located at the corner of 4th and Coffman Streets. In attendance at her birth was Dr. John Andrew, who told her mother to give the baby oatmeal strained through a cheesecloth in lieu of mother’s milk. As a result, Mary developed a strong bond with oatmeal. At the time of her birth, her father, Virgil was milking the cows at the family farm north of Longmont. Her Mother, was hysterical with the pain of both childbirth, and being slapped about by a sadistic nurse.

Mary attended Lincoln Elementary through ½ year of Kindergarten. Upon dropping out of Kindergarten she later attended Chapman Elementary School, Longmont High School, the University of Colorado and Front Range Community College, all for a total of twenty plus years of education. In her younger years, she was employed as a bean bug exterminator on the family farm, and as a maid at the Zick Hotel in Grand Lake, CO. After college, she gained employment at the now defunct Washington Daily News in Washington, D.C. and numerous other jobs through the 70’s and 80’s, including a stint with this very publication delivering papers for the Times-Call. In 1987, she finally found a worthwhile career working with students as a graduate advisor at the University of Colorado. She was a member of the St. Vrain Ski and Surfing Society, The Longmont Christian Singles, Liberty Hall Grange, Hygiene United Methodist Church, and Longs Peak United Methodist Church. She was the recipient of C.U.’s outstanding graduate advisor award, as well as the University’s Student Choice Award. She won a state art contest during her junior year at Longmont High School and a blue ribbon in fourth grade track and field. After retiring from the University in 2009, she enjoyed spending quiet days at home. She was an artist and musician who enjoyed singing in the church choir, playing piano and listening to her daughter sing and play the violin. She adored her daughter, Amy, and grandson Jacob. She was crazy about flowers, but always frustrated that her garden consisted of one crummy patch of flowers about the size of a bread box.

Mary is preceded in death by her Parents Helen and Virgil, her Brother James Edward Gregory, her Granddaughter Adeline Elizabeth Miner, and many beloved pets. She is survived by her Daughter Amy Kathryn Mann, her Grandson Jacob Dalton Marsing, her son-in-law Robert Joseph Miner, her former son-in-law, Darin Kent Marsing, her sister-in-law Julia Caroline Gregory, niece Meghan Elizabeth Gregory, nephew Jeremy Scott Gregory, great niece Gabriel Lauren Campbell-Gregory, and many close friends and acquaintances that filled her life with joy and laughter. In particular, she wishes to acknowledge, upon her demise, the friendship and many kindnesses of the staff of Longs Peak United Methodist Church; and the staff and students of the Political Science Department, C.U., Boulder.

A celebration of Mary’s life will be held at 11:00am on Friday December, 7th at Longs Peak United Methodist Church, 1421 Elmhurst Dr. Longmont, CO. Cremation has been entrusted to the good folks at Howe Mortuary and crematorium. Contributions in Mary’s memory may be given to the Angel Fund of the Longs Peak United Methodist Church, or the Greenwood Wildlife Refuge. This obituary was written by Mary herself.

Memorial for Scott Alan Hofferber

Scott Alan Hofferber April 24, 1965 - April 10, 2003
Scott Alan Hofferber April 24, 1965 – April 10, 2003

Scott Alan Hofferber, 38, of Littleton, Colorado, suddenly and unexpectedly went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Thursday, April 10, 2003.

Scott was born April 24, 1965 in Grand Junction, Colorado and moved to Fort Collins with his family in 1968. Scott was a 1982 graduate from Rocky Mountain High School, Fort Collins, CO, and went on to continue his education at Aims Community College, Greeley, CO graduating in 1984 with an AA in Small Business Management. Scott was born with a very serious congenital heart defect; doctors said he would not survive past the age of four or five years of age. He had several close calls but proved the doctors wrong.

Scott truly was a miracle.

Scott married Tammi J. Lockman in March of 1986 and was blessed with four beautiful children, three sons and one daughter. He was a loving husband and father. He was very involved with every aspect of his children’s lives and enjoyed every minute he had with them. His wife and children were his life.

Scott was a member of Englewood First Assembly of God in Englewood, Colorado. He was very involved in the church and a leader of Royal Rangers Program.

Scott was Manager at Crown Trophy in Littleton, CO. Scott loved to camp and be outside as well as riding horses – his latest passion was watching NASCAR. Go #24!!

Scott is survived by his wife, Tammi, four children, Zachary 16, Jeffrey 15, Skyler 13 and Kylie-Jeanne 10; his parents George “Andy” and Maryann Hofferber and a brother, Steve of Fort Collins; a sister, Kimberly of Rio Ranch, NM; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Services will be held Wednesday, April 16, 2003, 11 a.m. at Timberline Church 2908 Timberline Rd., Fort Collins, Colorado with interment at Grandview Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Scott A. Hofferber Family Fund at the Colorado Business Bank of Littleton, Colorado. Donations may also be made at Allnutt Funeral Home in Fort Collins, Colorado.


I had the good fortune to meet Scott’s widow Tammi eight years after his death. Even at that huge distance of time I could feel what a good man he must have been. I wish I could have met him but I’m grateful that his legacy has come to me to preserve and protect. It’s an honor to be associated with the Hofferber family. Rest in peace Scott, you are fondly remembered and greatly missed. – MDW

Claire Helwege Sidle – May 27, 1922 — January 8, 2012

Claire Helwege Sidle May 27, 1922 -- January 8, 2012
Claire Helwege Sidle May 27, 1922 — January 8, 2012

When you are sorrowful look again in
your heart, and you shall see that in truth
you are weeping for that which has been
your delight.
– Kahlil Gibran

~ Program ~
Music for gathering ~ Carolyn Kuban, George Banks
Opening Words ~ Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry
Meditation from Thaïs (Jules Massenet)
Annamarie Koracson, David Greene
Reflections on Claire ~ Lydia Ferrante-
Roseberry
Oblivion (Astor Piazolla)
Peter Ewing, Margaret Smith, David Greene
Jewel Lake (Bill Douglas)
Bruce Orr, Marcia Pasquer
Andante from Suite #2 (Max Reger)
Adwyn Lim on viola that Claire created
Reflections on Claire ~ Lydia Ferrante-
Roseberry
Sonata for clarinet and piano, op. 167 Mvmt #3
(Camille Saint-Saens)
Mary Jungerman, Marcia Pasquer
Roumanian Folk Dance #4 (Bela Bartok)
Annamarie Karacson, David Greene
Sharing
I’ll Fly Away (Albert E. Brumley)
John Sidle
Closing Words ~ Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry
Music to be announced
Reception

Donations may be made to the Colorado Music Festival,
900 Baseline Rd. Boulder, CO 80302. There is also a box in
the back for this purpose.

I love you Mom

xx ooo


Claire Helwege Sidle Memorial

February 4, 2012

 

Music for gathering  Carolyn Kuban, George

Banks

 

Opening Words

 

We are gathered here this afternoon to honor the life of Claire Helwege Sidle, a friend, mother, grandmother, musician, artist, and lover of life.

We gather because we need to be together in a time like this.

Setting aside this sacred time to be together – to be in the physical company of each other’s love provides a reminder to us all that the journey through grief and recovery from this loss need not happen alone.  It is good to be together.

Though we gather in sadness at this loss, a justified sadness that will linger, let this also be a time for affirming the kind of person Claire was – smart, curious, talented, loving and generous.  And it is those parts of her spirit that drew us to her, and will remain with us now.
Each of you had different relationships with Claire.  Each of you will experience this loss in your own way.  Each of you will grieve this loss, and grieve you must. But you will also, over time, appreciate how memories, stories, perhaps a gesture or word you hear yourself saying, will remind you of Claire’s influence on your life.  This is the gift of immortality.

Today we are called not only to honor death, but also to affirm life – to affirm that your lives will continue, even in the face of the mystery of death.

Let this, then, be a time for sharing sorrow, yes, but also a time of lifting up the beauty of a life well-lived, and celebrating the many gifts that Claire has left, gifts that transcend even death.

And so it is that we have come together.

Because we need each other in empathy and consolation,

And because we need one another in courage and wisdom

To face this loss

To celebrate this life

And to show our love and support for those who knew Claire best, and loved her the most.

I light this chalice in honor of Claire, who found this beautiful vessel in the Southwest and created the base for it on behalf of this Fellowship.

Meditation from Tha’|’s (jules Massenet)  Annamarie Koracson, David Greene

Reflections on Claire  (Claire’s personal life –- via stories from Janet) Lydia Ferrante-

Roseberry

Claire’s life was full of stories, friends and music.  We are breaking up the remembrances of her life into two parts, including a time for sharing, and allowing for the music that she so loved to be interspersed.

Claire’s daughter, Janet, provided me with some of her remembrances, which I’ll be including in my course of my reflections.  I begin with Janet’s sketch of Claire’s life:

Claire Eleanor Helwege was born in Niagra Falls, NY May 27, 1922. She was an only child. Her parents, Walter and Martha Helwege, whom some of you might remember, moved a lot while she was growing up between Lansing, Madison and Milwaukee, WI and St. Louis.

In a letter to Rev. Catharine Harris, Claire wrote that she was inordinately close to her father, from whom her love of music and the arts derives.  In his later years, she wrote, he used to tell her, “Nobody or nothing makes you mad.  If you decide to be mad about something, it’s your choice.” She adopted that attitude, confessing that she didn’t always succeed.

Claire went to 7 different schools in her junior and high school years. She was on the swim team and played violin and viola in the orchestras.
Claire went to college in Los Angeles at UCLA, and ended up in Washington, DC, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from Georgetown University.

Her degree got her a job at the Edison Company, where she was a lighting designer and taught people how to light their kitchens and homes. She later used her knowledge when she designed the house she and Bill and Janet lived in, by using direct and indirect lighting in ways that were functional and also soothing to the eye.
Later, during WWII, she was a draftsman and wrote and illustrated the directions on how to build bombs (!). You can see some examples of her work in the displays and in the photo assembly.

Claire met Bill Sidle in Washington, DC and they were married in September of 1955.  Janet was born two years later. They had been married almost 46 years when Bill passed away in 2001.   Claire remained in the home that they built until she died, on January 8th of this year.

I share with you now some of Janet’s personal reflections about her mom:

I always thought my mother was amazing. She astounded me. She could do anything.
When I was young in the 60’s, she joined the Boulder Potter’s Guild and produced a plethora of pots, from vases to casserole dishes, coffee cups, to platters.
I also have memories of going to the Artists Series Concerts at Macky Auditorium every Tuesday night – EVERY Tuesday night!

I would sit on the floor and color in my coloring book on the seat and ask questions in my little high-pitched voice. I remember my mother smiling down at me from her seat with her finger to her lips, “shhhh”.  I could only talk during clapping.
When I was in high school, my mom was the “cool Mom”. Our house became the place for all my friends to come over and we all “lived” in the basement where we played Rock and Roll music, did our homework, and just relaxed after school. Our house was the place to be and she was so accommodating to all my friends that everybody called her “Mom”.
And when I was 18 and crazy and I wanted to hitchhike and hop trains to CA, she came up with idea that I should go on a REAL adventure, to Israel, and volunteer on a kibbutz. So my boyfriend and I went. And it opened up the world to me – and I thank her so much for that.

It also opened up the world to Mom and Dad. They hadn’t done much traveling before. My dad wasn’t really interested before that. But they went to Israel to visit us and also to visit the Levron’s , their Israeli friends who had spent some time here at the University.
Next thing I know, I’m in Oregon at University and she’s found a radical college for me to go to, where I can travel the world and get college credit. So I went.

I ended up in Kenya and lived there for a year and Mom and Dad again came to visit. I think all her ideas for me were actually to get my dad out of the country and give them an excuse to travel!
Then they really did travel the world: besides Israel and Kenya, they explored Alaska, Canada, Iceland, China, India, New Zealand, South America, Russia, down the Danube, and the fiords of Norway.
Mom’s last trip was in 2005, when she went to Costa Rica with her companion, Rita Cray, to visit me and my son Ian, who were spending the summer there. They saw the volcanoes, and stayed on the beach in tent-huts. Mom really enjoyed the trip.

Claire was proud of Janet’s son Ian for his accomplishments in school and his amazing gymnastic ability, which she saw several times on video.  She was always interested in what he was up to — always asked about him.

Claire was funny and spirited. She lived with a twinkle in her eye.  As an example, Janet recalls how her mom and her dad invented a word:

PRUB: When someone flatulated, instead of using the usual words we all know, we used the word PRUB, which is BURP spelled backwards!

She didn’t do anything “ok” or “half-way” – she was a perfectionist, so if it had her name attached to it, it became “precision art”. She could fix anything in the house, and often did, everything from a leaky toilet to sealing the deck.

Claire spent nights in the basement at her sewing machine until 3am, forgetting to eat or sleep;
She could do anything with her hands.

She even made her own viola, which will be played as the last piece in the following musical selections.

Music

Oblivion (Astor Piazolla)  Peter Ewing, Margaret Smith, David Greene

jewel Lake (Bill Douglas)  Bruce Orr, Marcia Pasquer

Andante from Suite #2 (Max Reger)

Adwyn Lim on viola that Claire created

Reflections on Claire  (public life – music, organizations, Fellowship) Lydia Ferrante-

Roseberry

Claire was very well connected here in Boulder, as is attested to by this turn-out today after the biggest storm of the season.

Janet recalls:
I remember there was hardly ever a time when we were out in Boulder together that we didn’t run into someone Mom knew. Everywhere we went we ran into someone she knew: concerts, the grocery store, the Middle Eastern restaurant….

Mom was a member of the BCIV, Boulder Community for International Visitors. One of her favorite stories was when we hosted a young priest from Spain for several months, Miguel de Lorenta, whose English was not quite perfect. One evening at dinner, after he had cleaned his plate, Mom asked if he would like more, and he said, “No, thank you, I’m all fed up”. (!)

Her connections to Boulder were largely through music: Columbine, Colorado Music Festival, Tacaks.

She was also a member of this Fellowship from its early years, joining in 1981.  She cared passionately about this group and nurtured its growth and development. She was on the search committee that eventually found this building in 2004.  And, as I mentioned before, Claire made this chalice we light every week.

It was Claire who suggested to Rev. Catharine Harris, the Fellowship’s former minister that Marcia Pasquer be considered as music coordinator for the Fellowship.  Marcia did become the music director and, with Claire’s help built a fine music program here at the Fellowship.

Marcia wrote this about Claire’s support:

She was supportive and helpful as I learned the in’s and out’s of the job.  Her vast knowledge of music and the musical tastes of the Fellowship congregants often saved me from getting into hot water!

She was always very interested in the choice of musical selections for each service, making sure that they were appropriate to the service theme and the enhancement of the message. Especially in the beginning years, I often shared my ideas with her and was appreciative of her suggestions.  She introduced me to many fine musicians and loved hearing us play for her in her home.  She was a good listener and often had sound advice.  The musicians, themselves, enjoyed the opportunity to “rehearse” for an appreciative audience!  We still recall fond memories of playing for Claire!

She also helped me struggle to “build” a choir.  For the handful of folks who were willing to give it a try, she offered her home as a “rehearsal room”!  Many years went by before we were finally able to make something “stick”, but Claire was never one to give up and was always there when I needed a slice of her courage.  She made a solid and wonderful dent in my life and will always be sitting on my shoulder.

Marcia was also part of a group formed by Claire that included Peter Ewing, Margaret Smith, Lindsey Calhoun, Greg Merrill. They would get together every Monday night at Claire’s house to play trios, quartets, quintets, depending on how many players they had. It was a standing event, every Monday night, with coffee or wine, dessert and conversation afterwards. Even when Claire could no longer play viola, the friends came to play at her house so she could listen and still be a part of the group.

And so we continue with music in honor of Claire.

MUSIC

Sonata for clarinet and piano, op. 167 Mvmt #3

(Camille Saint-Saens)  Mary Jungerman, Marcia Pasquer

Roumanian Folk Dance #4 (Bela Bartok)  Annamarie Karacson, David Greene

Sharing

It is in the sharing of memories that lives become immortal. I’ve shared some of the stories I’ve heard about Claire over the years, stories from Janet and some Fellowship memories.

Now it is time for you to share your stories as well.  If you would like to speak, please come forward to the microphone here below the pulpit.

(Sharing)

These are the stories of a life well lived, a life woven with joy and sadness, a life committed to both family and the community at large.

It is through these stories that Claire’s legacy lives on.

I’ll Fly Away  (Brumley)

John Sidle

Closing Words   ~ Lydia Ferrante-

Roseberry

Undergirding the loss is a deep sense of gratitude, for the beauty of Claire’s life, and the circle of people who have been connected to her these many years.

Janet has been filled with gratitude amidst the sadness of losing her mother.  She asked me to share some of it with you:

Janet is grateful to her workplace that for the last 2 ⅕ years, graciously allowed her to work every Thursday on her computer from her Mom’s dining room table, so that she was able to spend both Thursdays and Sundays with her mom for many years, watching old movies together while Janet worked, or just enjoying the time together.

Janet offers these other gratitude’s:

THANK YOUS:
All of Claire’s musician friends who came to play for her: Malena Boratgis, Carolyn Kuban, Peter Ewing, David Greene, Gigi Boratgis, Margaret Smith, Virginia  ???, and everyone she may have missed!

Emily & Ross Jacobson, Isabel Echenique,  her neighbors who always kept a good watch on the comings and goings in the house and who stopped by to visit and were always there to help out;

Malena Boratgis, who came and stayed with her many nights, keeping each other company, and who stopped by several times a week, just to say “hi”;

Oshala’s group of caregivers, who were there at the beginning of the caregiving and dealt with Mom firing someone every few weeks; I think she fired about 20 people in all!

Alice Mosdell, who was willing to go out to the garage with Mom and help paint the scratches in the bumper of the car with a Q-Tip;

Vikky Krapu, who spent hours with her looking at slides my dad took from all over the world and reminiscing about their trips;

Brooke Biglow, who helped her stay young and interested with new books and movies and was there ‘til the end;

Pam Aamodt, who really understood what was going on with Mom, could handle her ups and downs, and has helped me maintain my sanity for the past couple of years;

Clay Finch, Pam’s husband (but we call him Mom’s boyfriend) whom she was very fond of and who often kept her company and could always make her laugh;

And Rita Cray. Who stuck it out for 11 years, paid Mom’s bills, got her taxes ready, kept track of everything from medication to doctor’s visits to whatever needed to be done, repaired her house, repotted plants, and treated it like it was her own home and her own mother. One of the most important things I’ll always remember was, when Mom and I were clashing about how things should be done, Rita said, “When that happens to us, I always try to remember that it’s not about me, it’s about her”.  When she said that, I was able to let go of my Ego and let be. That wisdom was one of the things that allowed my Mom and me to enjoy our last few years together.

Also, thanks to Boulder Hospice: Tyyne, Amy, and Peggy for helping keep her comfortable and keep her dignity in the days before she passed on.

Claire had a thing about turtles and collected them from all over the world. Her collection of turtles and her pottery are out in the foyer. Janet invites you to take a turtle or a piece of pottery to help keep her in your heart. This way her memory will be dispersed among those that admired and loved her. So please feel free to take the one that speaks to you.

Amidst the gratitude, is also the sorrow saying good-bye to the person of Claire Helwege Sidle, but not her spirit, nor her accomplishments. Those live on in our lives and are passed on through the generations.

And, now, as we prepare to end our formal time together, let us remember again those for whom this loss is greatest:  for Janet Thomas, Claire’s daughter, her son Ian, and all the close friends and family gathered here today.

May they be granted the strength they need to bear the loss, the wisdom to find deeper meaning and understanding of life through the lens of this death, and thanksgiving for Claire’s life, which touched them each dearly in its own way.

May both forgiveness and acceptance lead them to Peace.

May you all go in peace and be gentle with yourselves, taking from and giving to one another — as you need and are able – the gifts of courage, wisdom, and gratitude for all that is our life.

Blessed be and Amen.

Music to be announced

Faithful Friend

Faithful Friend

In my heart you shall always live
eyes aglow and eager
quivering with excitment
ready to play

My child soul rose up in joy
when we first met
for surely I knew you
from lives before

Now you’ve gone to heaven
and live only in a field
that I keep verdant
– for you alone,
my faithful friend.

One day I’ll greet you again
when life has had enough of me
and we will spend eternity
at play.

For my lost friend Cody,

rest in peace.

MDW June 8, 2011

David C. Hill Eulogy

David Claire Hill
March 26, 1948 – April 18, 2011

Photos from the funeral service and reception can be found here.

My eulogy for David C. Hill:

Somewhere David is walking.

He’s feeling good.

Better than ever.

The sun is shining down – it’s a beautiful day.

There is no pain, only rejoicing.

People gather around –
long-lost family,
comrades and friends,
welcoming him.

He’s filled with joy, not sadness for those left behind –
he knows we’ll be along shortly
and together again
one day.

David gathered all the titles a man accrues from a well-lived life: first he was son and brother, then uncle, then husband and father, then grandfather and great-grandfather. He was a steadfast friend and upright citizen. When his country called he answered and served willingly, bringing honor to himself and his family. As a firefighter he put himself in harms way to save his fellow citizens. He never stepped back. Thank you David. Thank you.

He was a literal pillar of the community, always leaning into the task, always giving more, always lending a hand, supporting the people around him in every way he could.

He was my brother-in-law by marriage to my sister Bonita, whom I know he felt aptly named. He was loving father to Deana Jo, father in law to Philip and proud grandfather to Alicia. I’m proud to say he was part of my family.

His thread is woven through the fabric of all our lives, a distinct and vivid line that shines out clearly, combining with and adding its color to ours. His thread was strong and resilient, strained by adventure, frayed by injury and finally, broken by illness.

I find great peace in the Latin saying:
non omnis moriar (not all of me will die)
for every time we remember him,
his laughter,
his playfulness,
his indomitable will,
his boundless energy
his loving heart,
– in those moments he still lives.

See you soon Dave.


My sister Georgia Leslie “Missy” Wray’s Eulogy for David Claire Hill

Have any of you ever wondered how Dave ended up in Wyoming?

Well, each and every one of you have me to thank for that because had he not drove me out to be with my parents who had moved to Boulder my senior year of high school you would not have had the pleasure and the honor of knowing the man who I will call my brother in law until the day I myself pass.

My parents, Dave’s in-laws, were moving to Boulder and I wanted to stay in Pennsylvania to finish my senior year in high school so I could graduate with my friends.

Dave went to my dad and told him let her stay with us then when she graduates we will drive her Boulder.  Myself, Dave, my sister and Deana Jo who was just a baby drove across country in Dave’s 1973 bright yellow jeep.

What a trip,  but we had a blast.

Deana Jo, you spent most of the time in the tiny back part of that jeep with Aunt Missy.

Dave loved it in Colorado hence the move to Boulder then later to Wyoming. Even though Dave and I had not had contact in a lot of years he always remained close to my heart.

My parents are buried in Apollo, Pennsylvania and to get there when I visit them at the cemetery I pass the road where all those years ago we started out on that long trip so Dave could fulfill his promise to my parents.

Growing up as a teenager and having Dave as my brother in law was like having another brother. He would always let me tag along for 4 wheeling, bow and arrow shooting, shooting the guns, sled riding, bowling all night on Fridays at Lee’s Lanes in Leechburg and he was always there after I got off work so I didnt have to walk home to where we lived.

All these years he has stayed in my heart and I will miss him but I also know that he is in heaven with my parents and when my time comes I’ll meet my brother in law and get to thank him for watching over me when my parents couldnt.

Rest in peace Dave.

Love, Missy – always your sister in law in my heart.

Jolly Copper

Preface

Listening to Randy Newman’s Jolly Coppers. Visualizing the lyrics. Thought of circus clown routines. Thought of clowns. Remembered my father was a Shriner clown in his later years. Remembered he was ‘Sherrif’ of the clowns (quite presitgious among the flappy-shoed).  Remembered this photo:

George Parker Wray 3/9/1928 - 5/21/2008

 

Jolly Copper, indeed.

Miss you dad.

Neighbor Sarah

Sarah A. Medina
August 20, 1942 – October 15, 2010

Sarah A. Medina, 68, of Longmont, died October 15, 2010 at Life Care Center of Longmont.

She was born on August 20, 1942 in Center, Colorado to Paul and Miquilita (Chavez) Maez.

Sarah married Andy Medina in Leadville, Colorado on October 27, 1961. They lived in Leadville until moving to Boulder in 1987, and to Longmont in 1990.

She was a nurse at St. Vincent General Hospital for 20 years. She then worked at Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Boulder and later at Frasier Meadows in Boulder. She retired in 2003.

Sarah was a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, where she was a Stephen Minister. She was also a member of Catholic Daughters and Women of the Moose. Sarah enjoyed crossword puzzles, reading, watching Westerns on TV, sewing, cooking for her family on holidays, dancing and oldies.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her daughter, Monica Rae and her siblings, Tony, Pauline, Leo, Jake, Bernie and Joe.

Sarah is survived by her husband, Andy Medina of Longmont; her son, Tony Medina (Roxann) of Leadville, Colorado; three daughters, Tina Lovato (Harvey) of Northglenn, Maria Medina and Andrea Medina, both of Longmont; four brothers, Robert Maez (Eloyda), Paul Maez (Nancy), Juan Maez (Sharon) and Richard Maez (Rosemary); a sister, Charlotte Padilla (Tony); sisters-in-law Burdell Maez and Sally Maez; five grandchildren, Paul (Jenny), Brandon, Jason, Christopher and Marissa; two great-grandchildren, Alana and Olivia and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation will be 5-8 PM with Vigil Service 7PM on Monday, October 18, 2010 at Ahlberg Funeral Chapel. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 AM Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 323 Collyer Street. Cremation to follow services at Ahlberg Funeral Chapel and Crematory.

A second Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10 AM on Wednesday October 20, 2010 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Leadville, Colorado. Inurnment will be at St. Joseph Cemetery in Leadville.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Liver Foundation, 2100 S. Corona St. Denver, CO 80210.


Sarah Medina has been my neighbor on Bowen St. since I moved to Longmont. She and her husband Andy, as well as their daughters Maria and Andrea are like family to me. They were incredibly supportive when my wife Marilyn died and overjoyed when they met my new fiance Tammi.

Sarah’s struggle with liver issues was a long one – and her family stood with her staunchly. Andy showed me what a real husband was. He and his daughters did everything they could for Sarah to make her way easier.

God Bless them all. I know the pain you’re enduring and I know it’s only somewhat tempered by the realization that she’s walking without pain at our Savior’s side.

Further Away

Long ago, like yesterday
she warned me
“You’ll miss me
when I’m gone”

Now the grief lies frozen
beneath my feet
till something breaks it
and casts me in

All the strength I took from her
washes away in a moment
the icy knowledge crashing in
that I will hear her no more

Small silences loom large
stopping my voice
the silence bursting with absence
of a love that defined my life

The days pass
the sun keeps rising
the ice seems thicker
and safer to walk across

The pain stays the same
fewer cracks in the ice
the truth still beneath my feet
just a little further away.

MDW 11/98
For Marilyn
on the loss of her mother

Unseen Homeland

This is from Marilyn’s friend Kris via her friend Karen and thence her friend Paula to me. I confess I have been remiss in posting this. Each time I looked at the pictures the pain came back – so I filed the message away ‘for another day.’ That day has come, it’s time to say goodbye to my dear wife.

You never got to see Ireland or Scotland as we’d hoped, so I’m hoping your spririt got to see this lovely place. I’m missing you terribly just now hon – and so are your friends.

Here’s the photos and words from her friend Kris:

Across-Dunsappie-web

Loch-Dunsappie-web

This is where I spread Marilyn’s ashes.  Will you pass them along for me?

City-of-Edinburgh-from-Dunsappie-web

Overlooking Edinburgh was taken from the end of Loch Dunsapie where I spread her ashes.  This looks over the city and on to the Firth of Forth.  At the other end, the road circles around to Arthur’s Seat.  Oh, this Loch is in the Queen’s Park, adjacent to Hollyrood Palace.  It’s full of birds and Swans.

Swans-nest-on-Dunsappie-web

The Swan’s nest is again taken from the spot where I spread the ashes but looking across the Loch.

Google map

Rising Trail

Up from the Canyon of Death I climb,
legs weary and burning
I pause at a vantage point
and look back

Only darkness lies below
clouds and fog shroud the trail
my lungs burn from the effort
of such a terrible climb

I sit for a moment
in a quiet place
remembering
shuddering in horror

I feel the clouds part
and the sun pour down
it’s heat welcome on my closed eyes
as the wind tousles my hair like a mother

The wind gusts now, pushing at my back
I open my eyes, shoulder my burden
and resume the climb
rising with the trail.

MDW 6/26/09
To all those who helped me reach this vantage

God Bless You All

Written in Sand

writteninsand1

From our last vacation. Half Moon Bay in California.

Marilyn was as happy as a little girl. She wrote that in the sand with her finger and was literally chortling with glee.

writteninsand2

My homage to my beloved wife, written on the same beach.

06-22-09-mlw3-copy

Taken by my friend DJ as I scattered some of Marilyn’s ashes.

Just as I threw them into the surf a seagull swooped by, inches away.

I watched it sweep, crying into the sky.

Fly high little bird.

Fly high.

Dear Dad

I refer you to this post.

Now that you and my beloved wife have all the time in the universe to get acquainted, I hope the two of you can see how much I cared for you both.

Both of you taught me lessons about courage and honesty – and how they’re inextricably linked. You both taught me about love and honor – and how one can’t flourish without the other… and how they transform your life when both are present in large measure.

I’m a better man for having had you in my life. It wasn’t always easy, but the uphill path never is. The altitude you helped me achieve has given me the persepective to see the arc of my life up to now and informed my choices going forward.

Of all the gifts I’ve received in my life, that is truly the most precious.

I wish you were here Dad… and the wishing tears at me.

I hope you’re happy wherever you are and I’m trying to be happy here without you.

The sun’s shining from a clear blue sky as I sit here in a maelstrom of voices and clattering dishes.

Life goes on, just like a river. It’s paddle or be paddled.

Yet a While

My dear friend Mary Pitt sent me this poem she wrote for her beloved husband. He too, has departed and this poem now has special meaning for me as well.

Thank you Mumzee.

 

 

Ed Pitt

 

 


Yet a While

Walk with me yet a while, dear heart,
The road is dark ahead
I need your light to show the way
Down the path of fear and dread

Our journey started long ago
Skipping gaily hand in hand
Young and eager to face the challenge
Of great adventure and foreign lands

We often stopped to smell the flowers
And pick up burdens along the way
Confident of our strengh to carry
And our ablilties to pay

Later we walked to slower measure
Due to weight we often bore
Tiring from our mainful labor
But willing still to carry more

Uphill and down, through heat or cold
Heedless of the weather
We presevered and carried on
And always clung together

You lent your strength, I added mine
No mountain was too high
You stumbled, I caught you, I fell, you raised me
We let no challenge pass by

And now we near the fearful end
The greatest challenge of all
I fear without you by my side
That I will fail and doubt and fall

So give me once again that wink
And optimistic smile
That tells me you will find the strength
To walk with me yet a while

Mary Pitt 2004

O Wife

marilynwray_2008

O Wife
for my beloved Marilyn Bonita

God did smile
when we met
happiest either
had been yet

Love had blossomed
we both grew
each made the other
whole and new

The wheel has turned
and you’ve departed
now I finish
what we started

I walk alone
pain like a sun
heart like a stone
almost! undone

Now you’ve burned
and ash remains
to Earth return
in sooty grains

Within my heart
there is a flame
that burns forever
just the same

Now I proceed
and you abide
no longer hand-clasped
at my side

To gateway distant
sure and true
and on that day
return to you

Goodbye O Wife!

I Come O Wife!

MDW

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden

Mirror and candle

releasingthespirit

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton, Vesalius in Zante
US novelist (1862 – 1937)


Note – everything in this photo is significant: The chalice holding the candle is one that’s been in Marilyn’s family for generations. The candle itself from the supply she used to heat essential oils to fragrance the house. The red-framed mirror a heart-shaped ‘Safelite Sweetheart’ promo she’d had since teens and carried in her purse. The mirror is resting on a ceramic butter dish – Marilyn adored butter. The silver frame has a grapes motif – echoing the poem on the kitchen wall that I wrote for her the day of our marriage. Everything is resting on the top of a glass-top stove she’d gotten a bargain on – she loved that stove.

Marilyn Wray 1951 – 2009

marilynwray_2008

Marilyn Bonita Wray (née Lawrence)
June 16, 1951 – May 14, 2009

Born to Clyde and Geraldine Lawrence (née England) in Caldwell, ID.

An active equestrienne in her youth, Marilyn was a trained vocalist and enthusiastic guitarist, an active church member and beloved babysitter. She attended Boise State University, graduating with a Masters in Criminal Justice and a second Masters in Social Work. She volunteered in schools as a family services social worker.

She met M. Douglas Wray in 1997, and they married June 28, 1998 at Hoverhome Mansion in Longmont, CO – the first couple to be married in that historic location. They had no children.

Marilyn worked at Lyons Elementary in the after-school ‘Kid Zone’ program and did organizing work for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. She attended Lyons Methodist Church in 2004. Unable to work full-time due to health issues, she was a dedicated wife and helpmate to her husband Douglas, managing his personal affairs and private consulting business with distinction and skill.

She was a gifted seamstress who created innumerable embroidered works including quilts and custom clothing. She loved sewing and her workroom was filled with excellent tools, fantastic material and happy voices. She lived to garden and do yardwork, cook and entertain her numerous friends. Hiking in the mountains was her second passion and she was famous for ‘marshalling the troops’ for a walk.

She was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma in October 2008, underwent chemotherapy and was declared in remission in April 2009. Approximately two weeks later cancer was detected in her spinal column and her condition deteriorated rapidly. She made the decision to spend her remaining time surrounded by loved ones, and departed swiftly and mercifully at 11 PM on May 14th at her home in Longmont, CO under Hospice care. Her ashes will be scattered in places dear to her, her friends and family.

She is survived by her husband Douglas, her sister Tanya Johnson of Carmel, CA, brother Vernon Golden of Boise Idaho, niece Ruth Hendrix of Rockvale, TN, brother Sonny Lawrence of Hope Sound, FL and uncle Leon Robertson of Nova Scotia. She was a proud member of the Robertson clan of Scotland and a living embodiment of their motto: Virtutis gloria merces.

Preceeded in death by her parents.

Contributions can be made in her name to:

Hospice Care of Boulder and Broomfield Counties
2594 Trailridge Drive East
Lafayette, CO 80026

and

Rocky Mountain Cancer Center
7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 300
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

A chronicle of her final days can be found here.

Private services will be held on June 14th in Rocky Mountain National Park where she and her husband dearly loved to walk together.

She was a devout Christian and true believer. Carrier of the Cross – now wearer of the Crown. She is sorely missed by all.

Memorial to Boatswain

Transcription from Ready to go e-Books free online books.

Image of original monument inscription.

Inscription on the monument of a newfoundland dog by Lord Byron at Newstead Abbey, November 30, 1808.

Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG
Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803,
And died at Newstead, Nov 18th, 1808.

When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rest below:
When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been:
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonour’d falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth:
While man, vain insect!  hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.
Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye! who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn:
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one, – and here he lies.

Colonel Alan E. Goldsmith

Alan E. Goldsmith 2008

Colonel Alan E. Goldsmith

Resident of Walnut Creek

Colonel Alan E. Goldsmith, U.S. Air Force, Ret., 85, died December 22nd, 2008 in Walnut Creek, California. Enlisted as an Aviation cadet in 1942, proudly served in combat in the U.S. Air Force (and predecessors) during three wars (WWII, Korea and Vietnam), also battled (honorably and ethically – no honorariums, gratuities, fund raisers or PACs) the Congress during two Pentagon tours, and retired in 1973 after over thirty years active duty in England, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and other parts of the world (with occasional tours in the U.S.). Flew over 5600 hours in open-cockpit trainers, Bombers (B-17 and B-25), Transports (C-46, C-47, C-54, C-118), Fighters (P-61, F-82 and some jets), and other aircraft types, at speeds from Mach 0.2 to Mach 1.2.

After his Air Force career, he worked in management and management consulting, dabbling in computers and professional video photography, after discovering it was impossible to make a decent living sandbagging on various golf courses.

Eternally proud and grateful for the love, devotion, confidence and unwavering support of his wife and best friend, Katsue, who survives him. Also survived by a number of sons and daughters, their various spouses, and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews, a few good friends, some great physicians, attorneys, accountants – and the IRS. He lived a wonderful adventure and left with no regrets and one thought: “we’re all terminal so do some good for others along the way.”


Eulogy for My Father

GeorgeWray_working_on_electron_mic

George Parker Wray 3/9/1928 - 5/21/2008

George Parker Wray

March 9, 1928 – May 21, 2008

He was:

Son
Brother
Cousin
Uncle
Husband
Father
Grandfather
Great-grandfather

and

Craftsman
Technician
Mentor
Friend.

In his life he walked many roads, from the unpaved roads of Spring Church Pennsylvania to the bustling streets of numerous cities; Pittsburgh, San Diego, Denver and more. He lived through the worst of times as well as the best. Down the halls of industry as well as science, always leaving his mark, making friends and doing his very best.

He was a strong man, possessed of an iron will but also a compassionate heart. He was my father, my mentor, my colleague and my friend. I know he loved me and he knew I loved him.

I can no longer call him with my latest news, share a laugh or just commiserate over aging issues. He delighted in hearing how I was passing familiar milestones. Each time we shared a laugh, we grew a bit closer each knowing the other truly *understood*.

I’ll miss that.

But…

Each time I sneeze, or cough, I hear him.

Each time I look in the mirror, I see him.

Each time I do a task well, I hear his praise in my memory.

For those gifts, I give thanks – for it means he will never truly be gone – and one day we will surely meet again.

Till then Dad

For My Father

George Parker Wray 3/9/1928 - 5/21/2008This post is dedicated to the memory of my father, George Parker Wray who died May 21st, 2008.

First, here’s the eulogy I wrote for his memorial service.

It was an amazing service. The Kiskiminetas Mason Lodge 617 turned out as did the Shriner Clowns whom he had been a member of.

The Masonic service was incredibly moving and it was very obvious my father’s fellow lodge members loved him dearly and grieved his death. Being a mason was a big part of my father’s life and when he and my mother returned to the Pennsylvania area, he became active again – eventually joining the Shriner clowns and helping to raise the spirits of sick children. My dad loved children and it’s so obvious in photos and stories told about him – tying balloon animals for hours so that every single child at an event took something away to remind them of the happy time.

Something the Shriner Clowns did was just touching beyond words – they each left a small balloon animal on the altar as they passed. Seeing the Masonic symbols (lambskin apron, evergreen sprigs and scroll) together with these simple icons of childhood were crushingly poignant. Clearly you could see this was a complicated man who touched people on a lot of levels.

There’s so much story to tell that I’m just going to start dropping in photos and describe them. Try and keep up.

Here’s some family photos that came to me after the funeral (click images to enlarge)

George Wray family

My dad was born and grew up on a farm in Spring Church, PA.

This is his family. I think that’s him on the left in the first row of kids.

George Wray family
An earlier shot of my dad’s family.

Parents of George Wray
My father’s parents. Tough-looking people which I suppose comes from farming.

When my father left his family farm (another story!) he went to work in the local steelmill (US Steel) and met my mother (Shirley) and his to-be inlaws. This is such an iconic shot.

Emily and William Rowe
Emily and William Rowe, my mother’s parents. I knew only Emily, William died when I was very little. (here’s my eulogy for my grandmother)

My mother had two sisters, Bobby and Gwenevere and a brother William (my uncle Mickey). Here’s a great shot of all of them after a night on the town:

Eight is too many!

Back row: Mickey Rowe, Les Walsh, Bob Fleissner, George Wray.

Front row: Jean Rowe, Emily’s three daughters, Bobby Rowe (Walsh), Gwen Rowe (Fleissner) and Shirley Rowe (Wray). Note the horns being added by my uncle Bob and my father. I take it from the straws that drinking had been involved. Uncle Bob looks either very sleepy or completely fried. Needless to say, it was a very close-knit group. All of these people were very much a part of my life as I was growing up and I love them all dearly. (High-resolution image available.)

Well, it wasn’t long after (maybe even before) this photo was taken that my parents started building a family.

The children of George and Shirley Wray are, in order:

Bonita Jo (Bunny)

David William (see also this entry)

Georgia Leslie

Mark Douglas

Paula Nadine

Here’s a couple of shots of my mom and I sitting on the front porch of our house in Apollo – we lived in two different places – one in the lower part of town, the other ‘up on the hill’ (Oak Hill) (map).

Shirley and Douglas Wray
Funny shot, eh?

Doug Wray expressing himself at an early age
Take a wild guess who coached me to make that gesture?

Love ya dad.

I start to remember my father’s career starting around the time he got a job at the US Steel Monroeville Research Center. (everybody’s welcome to help me fill in his earlier years in the steel mill, then San Diego in the Navy and then as a door-to-door insurance salesman – all I know is stories passed on) If I remember right, he started out doing welding for vacuum systems, which led him into a position on the new one-million-volt electron microscope US Steel was buying. That was a rough time for him – apparently he’d claimed a high-school diploma and didn’t actually have it! So he had to hurriedly cram for and take the GED, not something you just do in a week. He did. He also learned electronics via correspondence, amazing to me even now. He worked at US Steel for (I think) twelve years, took early retirement and moved to a job at the University of Colorado’s Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.

Here’s some photos from George’s time at US Steel’s Monroeville Research Center:

US Steel Monroeville Research Center - MVEM Building
The MVEM (Million Volt Electron Microscope) building at US Steel’s Monroeville Research Center. Very modern! Coolest building on the whole campus.

1 Million Volt RCA Electron Microscope
The RCA 1-million-volt transmission electron microscope. That’s George at the console – he spent thousands of hours running this sci-fi-lookin thing. I spent a fair bit of time here with him on various occasions. The room was kept darkened when the microscope was in use. That, combined with the huge, hulking supports, the humming of pumps, clicking relays and control switches only made it more exciting. This was the glowing heart of scientific research at the time – and my dad was square in the middle of it!

Cockcroft-Walton accelerator used to create electron beam.

This is the ‘accelerator room’ – I think they called it that because it made your heart race to come up the stairs, turn a corner and see this. It’s a Cockcroft-Walton generator and was a part of early ‘atom smashers.’ This is where the one million volts of energy was generated to accelerate the electrons into the microscope’s ‘column’ downstairs.

The very latest in video technology!
Cutting-edge, state-of-the-art video recording technology! 2″ reel-to-reel VTR (before cassettes and helical scan!) I think they were recording steel samples being heated/stressed mechanically to watch the crystalline structure change in real time. Never-before-seen effects!

In the primary transformer pit during assembly
My father didn’t just -work- on this machine, he helped assemble it. This transformer is below the floor of the accelerator room shown above. There’s my dad, as usual, up to his elbows in the dirtiest job. I think he loved doing the ‘messy’ jobs that no one else wanted to do.

George Wray inspecting top of US Steel MVEM electron accelerator.

Here’s George at the top of the electron-beam column. He’s actually -inside- the part that the guy is polishing in the photo above of the accelerator. This was the ‘electron gun’ assembly where the ‘filament’ was housed that actually created the beam of electrons.

An advertisement featuring the MVEM - and my dad, of course.

Here’s a color advertisement US Steel ran -great shot of the accelerator. That’s my dad applying a grounding rod to it. For what it’s worth, my dad didn’t really wear a lab coat all the time.

Group shot 1

I think this group is the team that assembled the microscope. My dad’s in the back row, second to last on the right.

Group shot 1

Another group shot. I think this was the primary building-installation team. My dad’s in the back row, last one on the right. Note that everone’s wearing dosimeters – this thing generated high-energy x-rays when it was on, so radiation exposure had to be monitored.

US Steel Monroeville Research Center - staff

Group shot of the entire research staff. I think this is everyone that worked at the Monroeville Research Center.

Closeup of George Wray
Here’s my dad, closeup from the photo above. He’s in the fourth row back, third in from the left. Look at his face – I know that look. He was so tickled he was probably trembling. This had to be one of the Big Moments in his life to be counted among these people.

When George left US Steel Research after 12 (?) years his co-workers presented him with a notebook filled with significant photos (several shown above) as well as some fun ‘geek humor’:

The cover to the gift book

I love that it’s all elements from the lab: the Dymo labeller (very new at the time and the labels were ubiquitous throughout the lab. The USS logo patch that was on coats, the part-tag (with my dad’s employee number I suspect, but don’t know for sure). Basically it’s supposed to be an ‘operating log’ similar to the one kept for The Scope.

Operating Record for

This page is just filled with all kinds of silly ‘in’ jokes. The ‘Description of Specimen’ is, however, perfectly accurate. One of the signatures at the bottom right is J.Scott Lally. If I understand the ‘Plate exposure’ line, 39,683 photos were taken by the MVEM during my father’s time there. Not a bad record!

Map to retirement party
Map to ‘Party for George Wray’ – I think the location name is also a gag: ‘Elec. Heights Hous. Assoc.’ very likely means ‘Electron Heights Housing Association’ and was perhaps housing for visiting scientists. It had a ‘hut’ which is Cold War slang for a guard shack. This was probably a meeting hall for the research campus. I love that “Informal” has no less than seven underlines. I think they meant VERY informal.

We moved to Boulder, CO in the 1970s and baby, it was a whole different world. From a high-security corporate research lab to a wide-open biology research lab on a college campus. A whole new microscope to install and operate. Nobel-prize-winning scientist Dr. Keith Porter was in charge at the time, so it was pretty heady stuff.

George Wray and Kyoshi Takasaki from JEOL assemble the JEOL 1000C 1MeV TEM at CU MCDBio
This is my dad and his soon-to-be good friend Kiyoshi Takasaki assembling the microscope. They’re getting ready to add the objective lens/sample stage section.

Dick McIntosh and George Wray pose on the upper deck of the JEOL 1000C TEM

Dick McIntosh and George Wray pose on the upper deck of the JEOL 1000C TEM.

George and Shirley Wray pose on the completed JEOL 1000C 1 Mev TEM
Here’s my dad, my mom and Paul Connally posing on the Hanford, WA scope that they stripped for parts when it was decommissioned.

George and Shirley Wray look as Paul Connally disassembles the Hanford, WA JEOL 1000C
Taking apart the Hanford, WA scope. They worked round-the-clock for days salvaging every single unique component they could. Many parts of the Hanford scope went into keeping the Boulder, CO scope going.

George cracking up at his birthday party at the lab.
The folks in the MCD Biology department treated my dad like family. You can see the joy on his face as he reads his birthday card at this party.

George Wray and Eileen O
George Wray and Kate Luby-Phelps at lab event.

George gets some birthday smoochies from the MCDB staff
Aww. Such a ladies man. They all loved my old man. For good reason!

After my father retired from the University of Colorado, he and my mother moved to Winston-Salem, NC. Wake Forest University friends had him teaching students in no time flat. He kept working for several more years and no doubt contributed immensely to the sciences by teaching yet another generation of microscope users how to get the most out of a TEM.

When he finally decided to stop working, he wanted to return to Pennsylvania to his roots. He and my mother moved back to PA near the town of Indiana where my sister Georgia (Missy) lived at the time. My mother began having TIAs and finally succumbed to a massive stroke shortly after they’d renovated a home and were settling in nicely. It was such a blow. My father went on. He became active in the Masons again and then the Shrine and became a clown. Here’s some photos from that time:

My father My father’s Mason ring. For years it mystified me. I assumed the ‘G’ meant ‘George’ – when I found out it meant ‘God’ I think I said ‘Well… more or less SAME THING TO ME!’
Master Mason Jewel The Master Mason’s jewel. Quite an arcane thing.
Top of the jewel Top of the jewel
Bottom of the Master Mason jewel Bottom of the jewel
Lambskin Mason Apron The lambskin Masons apron that was on the altar during the Masonic funeral ceremony. Lovely symbolism.
Shriner My dad drove a van to shuttle kids back and forth for medical exams. I know he loved doing this, he told me so several times.
My dad and his friend Frannie. After my mother’s death, my father met her friend Frannie and they spent the last years of his life together. They spent a lot of happy times together at Shrine events. Fran’s a lovely sweet woman and I know she loved George dearly. God bless her for standing at his side.
Shriners bolo tie My dad loved bolo ties. Here’s one with all the various organization symbol on it.
Close up of bolo tie fastener Closeup of the tie fastener
Finally! Graduated HS! The high school my dad dropped out of to work the farm finally gave him (and many other vets) honorary diplomas. My sister Missy was at the ceremony and reports ‘he was SO happy’. George was all about ‘closing the loop’ so I know this must have delighted his heart.
Program from my dad Program from the graduation ceremony. Nicely done!

And now, the clown pix:

George Wray as BOO the clown George Wray as ‘BOO’ the clown.
George Wray as BOO the clown Closeup of George Wray as ‘BOO’ the clown.
George Wray as BOO the clown, going on All dressed up and going on!
George Wray as BOO the clown making balloon animals Making balloons for the kids.
George Wray as BOO the clown with happy kid Another happy kid – a clown’s best reward.

There’s SO, SO much more to say, but I’ll leave it up to you readers to find the comment field below and add your own memories of George or correct me where I’ve mis-stepped. All submissions welcome. Send your images to macguiguru@spamcop.net and don’t worry about whether it’s appropriate or not. George would have loved it – anytime one of his friends laughs, I’m sure his spirit hears them.

And in all this, my mother appears only a small satellite due to her reluctance to having her picture taken. Know that she was everywhere my father was. For over forty years they walked together as husband and wife and I am certain they are rejoined now. As much as our world is dimmed by his passage, I am sure somewhere there are angels singing and laughing.

Goodbye My Father. You are in my heart always.

Squimmy

Squimmy on the Porch

Squimmy

1989-2007

Beloved of Rebecca and David, departed this 20th day of January. Adopted as an orphan and cared for as family. I knew this sweet girl and mourn her passing. Bon voyage mon petite.

I offer the following for her owners:

Do not stand at my grave and weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there;
I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there;
I did not die.

Mary Frye

Pillar of Light

My grandmother was the strongest woman I’ve ever met. She lived in Vandergrift, PA – a steeltown that subsequently struggled after WWII. Depression, war, house fire – life was NOT easy with three daughters after her husband collapsed and died on the steps of the steel plant after a sunday shift. She went on. I always admired her humor and her iron will, which I saw clearly in my mother. She was such a survivor. I’m certain her spirit lives on.

Emily Rowe-Snyder


Pillar of Light

Within my heart there is a room
where you shall always live,
a place that I will visit
when thanks I wish to give.

For strength that knew no boundries
for love that had no fear
for arms forever open
to draw her loved ones near.

Faith that was unshaken
by adventures manifold
Fire unmistaken
in stories often told.

Ashlar of our family
keystone of our world
always there to listen
as our lives unfurled.

She built a mighty edifice
against eternal night
within us now, her strength remains
as pillars of pure light.

MDW 1/4/01

For my Grandmother

My cousin Joe, whom I mention in other places, read this at my Grandmother’s funeral. I heard a recording of it and he did it real justice. I could tell he was terrifically moved by it, as was intended – I’m certain the audience was too. I’m deeply indebted to Joe for doing that since I was unable to attend and this was my final elegy to her. Whatever our differences may be, he has my undying thanks for that act. No small task and he did it with great honor. Thanks Joe. I’ll never forget that.

Elegy for my Aunt

Echoes

So close we share blood
your sister my mother
lives intertwined
our families blurring together

In the wheel of faces
yours is brightly lit
always smiling
always kind

Echoes of you stand near
children of your heart
adoring husband – his arm bare
yet you are here

I hear your voice
speaking through your children
and they hear the echo too
your face in their mirrors

Gentle heart I wish you well
I was proud to know you
and more proud
to be family

For my Aunt Bobby
MDW 2006