I want to begin by thanking all of you for coming to honor my mother. We are so grateful you took the time and effort to be with us today. I also want to thank my husband and my dad for the wonderful slide shows they created. What a beautiful tribute to my mom.

Whether you know her from her involvement at the Yacht Club, the Bridge Group, the YMCA at Maplewood, the RPO, The Lipson Cancer Center, or you are here because you are a neighbor or family, I am sure you will agree with me. My mother was a remarkable lady. In the 77 years of her life, she had a tremendous impact on a lot of people. If you met my mother you did not forget her easily. I would like to take a moment and share with you how she has affected my life.

Although my mother had a 4 year all expenses paid scholarship to college, she chose to give it up to follow my Dad when he was called back into the Navy in 1950. When they returned to Iowa State, she was pregnant with my older brother, Hal. She decided to be a stay at home mom and wife. As each of their three children arrived, my mother approached her calling as wife and homemaker as if she was an executive in a prestigious company. How she brought us up was not random but carefully planned out to prepare us for life. She taught me how to cook, sew, do laundry, knit, swim, play tennis, sail, garden, can fruits and vegetables, balance a checkbook, how to stay frugally in a budget, and eventually how to drive. I learned how to set a table and host people graciously in my home. She shared with me her love of music and encouraged me in the pursuit of it. She taught me how to give generously of goods, funds, food and oneself to family, friends and the community. She really did exemplify the Proverbs 31 wife. I was never able to out give her. Whenever she dropped in for a visit when I was raising our four children her arms were full of fruit or veggies from the market to share or clothing for one of the growing children. Just this past summer, my husband and I and some neighbors hosted a block party in our inner city neighborhood. My mom and dad bought hot dogs for 400 people and brought them to me for the day.

My mom truly had the gift of encouragement. She always saw the best in me and each of our children. She was our greatest fan. Whether their interest was music, art or insects, she was 100% behind them, clipping articles, asking questions, showing her support. When they dove off that diving board and swam the length of the pool for the first time, she was swimming beside them, cheering them on. Usually they were wearing a bathing suit she had made. When I picked up the harp as an adult, she had nothing but positive things to say and made a lot of my performance clothes for harp engagements when I began playing professionally. She and my dad helped purchase my pedal harp. I have been known to say to our children and to our grandchild when they would struggle with the decision their mother made, “Be nice to your mommy! You only get one mommy, you know”. I am so grateful to the Lord for the one mommy He chose for me and the years we had together. I see so much of the heritage she has left behind in her grandchildren and great grandchild. What a tremendous investment she made in each of us.

In the past 3 years, my mom entered on a new journey. When she discovered she had ovarian cancer and began chemotherapy and radiation, we as a family chose to battle this enemy together. Because my time was flexible, I attended the daylong sessions with her-13 of them. I wanted to try to pay back the years of generosity to my mom. That was foolish! She only continued to give of herself to me and others even in her discomfort. The Tuesday before she died, we went to a chemo treatment together and she brought all the staff cherry tomatoes from her garden. She amazed me! I will miss my mom’s friendship sorely in the days ahead. As we sat together through those treatments, our adult friendship deepened and we learned to greatly value the good that can come out of something difficult.

Because my mom taught me so well, I can now function without her. She worked herself out of a job. But the tremendous gap she leaves behind as my friend and supporter will be tough to fill. I know my mom is now happily without pain and discovering what that wonderful hope of heaven is truly about. I imagine her brother, Will, who passed away in July, was on the shore greeting her with a warm hug and a kiss. But we will miss her here.

My mom was indeed a remarkable, gracious and generous lady.

Readings ] Hal, Jr. ] [ Susan ] Tom ]