Thank you everyone for coming out on this hot Saturday morning to remember my mom. I know that she would not have liked standing out here in heat for any length of time, so I promise to keep this service relatively brief.
As I wrote in her obituary she grew up in the United Methodist Church before becoming a member of the First Presbyterian Church as a teen where she served as a deacon. During her summers at the shore, she was active at the St. Simon by-the-Sea in Mantoloking. Although she was officially a Presbyterian, I specifically asked for the Katherine R, an Episcopalian priest, to oversee the service. Katherine is good enough to oversee a prayer shawl knitting ministry and one of their prayer blankets was given to my father, but ended up being used quite frequently by my mother. It brought her warmth and comfort. For that I will always be grateful.
Everyone here knew my mother in a different way; saw her in a unique perspective, so I thought I’d share a few things about my mom. You may know some, but I doubt as if anyone will know all.
She loved the fact that she was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and National Society New England Women. She was amused with the reason she was able to get in was because her relative was probably a traitor and bigamist as he originally fought for the British and only switched the American side after being captured. After the war was over he settled in the Americas, married and had several children, conveniently forgetting he had a family back in Great Britain.
She also loved the fact that her paternal grandmother supposedly played with Tad Lincoln while Lincoln was the president. Her great grandfather was a member of the guard that would now be considered the secret service to President Lincoln.
Originally, she went to private school, but switched over to public school in Verona in second grade where she met lifelong friends Nancy and Richard friends she kept until she died. The reason she switched from private school to public was because that was where her friends went; kids that she played with on the block. The street she lived on for most of her life. And where I now reside. She lived 21 from 1938 to 1964; and then at 19 from 1972 to 2019.
She became best friends with renowned cardiologist Ellen Killebrew in college because their last names were so similar.
She met my dad at a Young Republicans party held in someone’s basement. I think they were less political and more party.
She was on the town Shade Tree commission in the 1970s. She was a big proponent of lining the streets of town of with trees.
She crewed with a friend on the Barnegat Bay, racing in a Lightening and when that became passé a Sanderling. It was quite competitive (as it still is) and I don’t think they won often, but she was dedicated to doing it every Saturday, even during the times when we weren’t renting a house at the shore.
When I played Alice in Alice in Wonderland in high school, she made the dress that I wore. The dress still fits and hangs in the closet of my office in my home. My home office is what used to be my her mother’s sewing room
She went with my husband to pick out my engagement ring at a local jewelers. They both liked and picked out the same ring. That’s the ring that I am wearing today. The diamond actually comes from a man’s ring that was bequeathed to me by my Great Uncle Ed who I don’t really remember, but who used to come over to visit my mom and myself while my dad was at work and when invited for dinner, if he didn’t like what my mom was serving would hand her some money to go out and buy steaks. While she got the groceries, he babysat me.
The reason why my father is still alive today is because she noticed that he was having difficulty breathing while moving a Sunfish (that’s a small sailboat) and insisted that he go to a doctor and get a stress test. He flunked and ended up having bypass surgery which saved his life
There is a common theme in all of the above fun facts; they all echo my mom’s three passions in life: the Jersey Shore, her friends and her family. I’d like to touch on the latter two.
When it came to friends and family, my mom was dedicated and loyal. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for a friend; like sitting and caring for one whose cancer treatments had vomiting non-stop. Or when learning that another friend had been diagnosed with breast cancer, getting that friend to the doctor she considered the best for a second opinion and treatment and staying overnight with her when needed. When she worked part time in an administrative capacity at a local real estate agency, it wasn’t for the money, it was because she wanted to help a friend.
Over the past couple of years when she was not as mobile as she once was (and she was focused on taking care of my dad), she was on the phone with friends all the time. Checking in and catching up. Friends were important; which is why last Friday I helped her call as many friends as she could; sadly not all. Even though it was difficult, she wanted to say goodbye. She wanted them to know what they meant to her and that she loved them. We had hoped that there would be more time for more calls. Know that if you are here today, whether you spoke to her recently or not, you were important to her and you were loved…because she would NOT have had anyone here today who did not feel that way themselves; whether you know it or not
I’d say family was the most important thing in her life, but there was one member of the family that was THE most important. You can probably guess who that is. It’s not me, it wasn’t my brother, it was my son. My son who would not be here if it weren’t for my parents. Steve and I broached them as well as my in-laws and asked the question: how would you like to finance a grandchild? Without hesitation, but I’m sure with reservation, they said yes. As a result, here is our incredible son.
I think she was a little apprehensive about being a grandmother. She wasn’t one for carrying photos in her wallet; at least before James came along. When she heard we were coming home, she rushed up from the shore to meet her grandson. It was love at first sight. It was beyond love…He was her everything. She became that grandmother who carried tons of photos and could only talk about her grandson. She couldn’t help it; he was her reason for everything. She loved having him stay with her at the shore, taking him to marine science camp during the day and showing him off at the Yacht Club over dinner. She loved his artwork and hearing him sing. She wanted to know everything that was going on in his world. Her plans revolved around him and her thoughts were almost always on him. One of the joys during her last days was finding out how well he had done on this AP US History exam. She was so proud of you James and as difficult as it might have been for you to talk to her last Friday, she wanted you to know how much she loved you.
She wanted us all to know how much she loved each of us. I hope that’s something we can all carry with us.