Eulogy for Madelon J. Andrews
May 13, 2019
A Memory shared by Mary Neese
When I first met Madelon, I had a feeling that we were going to be good friends. We talked a lot about our families and other things. Then the 10-cent sale came along. When we first started, I worked in the gym and I think she did too. We would kid each other about different things, then one year, Denise asked me if I would work the boutique, and I was so glad when Madelon decided to work with me. It was a lot of work, but we had fun doing it. The last time we worked it, we were both so tired at the end that we both said that we were getting too old for the job, so we retired, but I wouldn’t change my time that we had together for anything. During the time we had together, we learned a lot about each other. She was a special person in my life, and I am glad that we had all that time together.
A Life “Full”
by Pastor John Partridge
I was told quite clearly that this time of remembrance is not a time of mourning but is intended to be a celebration of the life that was Madelon J. Andrews. She was our friend, coworker, family member, grandmother, and mother and it is without dispute or doubt that her life has deeply enriched all of ours and, in fact, for many of us who are gathered here, much of who we are is because of what Madelon was and what she taught us.
I want to confess, up front, the majority of the words that I have prepared for today are not my own. Steve has coordinated and collected stories from Madelon’s family as well as from some of her church friends and that is what most what you are about to hear. All that I have done is to put in a “file tabs” to classify them into a handful of ideas. Madelon’s was a life that was “full” in many ways.
First, Madelon was help-“full.” Her life was all about helping others. Sandy Watkins remembered that you could always count on Madelon. If she told you that she would do something, then you absolutely knew that she would do it. But not only was Madelon helpful, she was also faith-“full.” Madelon was always volunteering. When Park Church first launched the Free Store, Madelon was one of the very first volunteers, and every Thursday she was, faithfully, at work at the Good Neighbors community food bank in Goodyear Heights.
Madelon was all about helping others. Whether she was at the Free Store sorting clothes, or greeting people as they registered at Good Neighbors, Madelon was always in the middle of things. She spent one day each week at the Lawndale Elementary School helping in the Kindergarten class. She would help out doing whatever was needed, but most likely would be found reading to the kids. She was affectionately known as Gramma Madelon. And with that ongoing relationship with the teachers, she became a liaison to Park Church, where a yearly collection of school supplies for the kids was developed, as well as having a luncheon for the teachers before the start of each new school year. And, of course, she was also a part of the 10-cent sale at Park Church for many years. She would be here, sorting clothes with Mary Neese, Johanna Henline, Nancy Reichman, and others. On occasion, Madelon would find a, um, “unique” outfit and model it for everyone. I’m told that there are pictures, but discretion forbids us from showing them to you at this time.
Pastor Linda Somerville remembers that it was Madelon, Johanna, and Mary who were always trying to find the flashiest, cheapest, tackiest, jewelry and show it off at Bible Study. And of course, one of the advantages of sorting things for the ten-cent sale was the opportunity to “pre-shop” the donated items. When Pastor Linda had knee surgery and couldn’t make it to the ten-cent sale one year, it was Madelon who found the tackiest items in the entire room that year, put them in the biggest pill case that you’ve ever seen, and “gifted” them to the pastor, during Sunday worship, in front of everyone. The funny thing is, Pastor Linda is still using that pill case. Pastor Linda also remembers what she refers to as “that spunky nature of hers” that sometimes displayed itself as an incredible courage in the face of really unpleasant things. But, despite her courage, spunkiness, and determination, Linda also noticed the softness that Madelon displayed whenever she was with Matthew and TJ.
In the last year, despite her own problems, Madelon was helping her across-the-street-neighbor, Carol. Carol has had trouble with her vision, and so whenever Carol needed to go shopping, or pick up a prescription, Madelon would pick her up and take here where she needed to go… but that usually meant that they would also have to stop off at Wink’s in Barberton to get a hamburger while they were out.
But Madelon’s life wasn’t just about being “faithful” and “helpful” but it was also simply “full” of love. Madelon was all about family. Family gatherings, family celebrations, family vacations, and supporting her family in all of their activities whether they were band shows, concerts, award ceremonies, dance recitals, basketball, soccer, or baseball games. Our family, even though we were sort of extended in-laws, benefitted from Madelon’s sense of family too. Each year it was as if our kids had an extra set of grandparents because they could expect some kind of Christmas present whenever we met for the annual Thanksgiving feast. Patti and I, as well as my mom, my brother Dean, and pretty much anybody who showed up, always went home with a big box of mixed nuts or something as well.
The story of their family vacations has some history to it that is worth retelling. In the early years, Susie’s family would go on vacation and pull a tent camper. But as the family began to grow, and as siblings got married, camping turned into large family vacations at the beach. First there was Ocean City, then Assateague Island with the wild horses roaming around, then Bethany Beach where it rained so hard that the family all has memories of walking together in the flooded streets. And then, finally, for many years it was Top Sail Island. And, as we remember family vacations, I am supposed to mention to the Madelon’s family these three words: Red. Hot. Dogs. I don’t know what that means. You’ll have to ask if one of them will tell you about it.
As a sidebar to Madelon’s vacation stories, it was obvious that Madelon never met a stranger. When the family started taking trips to Top Sail Island, they would have to make a couple of stops along the way. And they lost count of the times that they came out of the bathrooms to find Madelon talking to the occupants of the car next to them. She would ask them where they were going, what they were going to do there, and on and on. It only took a moment for Madelon to notice a license plate or someone walking their dog, or simply asking, “where are you going?” and she was off making new friends and having a great conversation with someone who, just a moment ago had been a total stranger.
Madelon loved her grandchildren, and she loved it whenever they could cove to visit her. Whether it was just an overnighter, or for a week, it was a special time. Going to the Akron Zoo was always a must, arts and crafts were usually a part of their time together and, on occasion, a cooking class or two. At some point, Madelon had taken some painting classes that had been offered by a former Park Church pianist and so, when the kids came to visit, Madelon would practice her newfound techniques with them. Sometimes those visits included a night or two out at the Acres in the trailer, and with each of the kids there was something special. With each one it was different. There were always special breakfasts and suppers, for Matt, TJ, and Stacey, it was spaghetti and meatballs, and with Madelon, Cameron, and Patrick, it was Galuch’s Pizza.
Madelon’s love of her family was obvious to everyone of us who had eyes. Sandy remembers that Madelon only had praise and love for her family and was always proud of all of them. If Madelon didn’t show up at Bible Study, everyone knew that she was probably enjoying some time with her grandchildren. Whenever Susie would go to Jamaica on another mission trip, Madelon would be anxious, and worry, and ask her friends for special prayer. And it was just as obvious that Madelon never stopped missing Roger because he never hesitated to tell her friends how life without him would never be the same.
But with that, we’ve circled back to “faithful.” In the last couple of months, Madelon longed to be home with her Jesus. However, before she left, she made out a short, and somewhat unusual, bucket list. Rather than list a bunch of things that she wanted to do, Madelon made out a list of foods that she wanted to eat before she met Jesus face to face. I don’t have the whole list, but there were angel wings, taco salad, chili, cherry pie, coleslaw from Whitehouse, a bear claw, and an apricot and cheese Danish.
Madelon had a strong faith. In the midst of fighting cancer for the last year, she worked through it, and she always knew that God was in control. She longed to go home to be with Jesus, and to see Roger again, as well as other old friends. In the last couple of weeks, Madelon would comment to Susie, “I’m so tired, I’m so tired.” There was one day, after Susie had moved into the house to care for her, that Susie looked in on Madelon to check on her and to see how she was sleeping or to watch her breathe, and as she did, Madelon rolled over, looked at Susie, and said, “I’m not dead yet?” To which Susie answered, “No, Mom, you’re not dead yet.” This was, again, another indication of Madelon’s faith and her desire to go home to glory.
It was Madelon’s prayer, and it remains the prayer of her family, that all of us could have the same kind of confidence in our eternal destination that Madelon did. Knowing Jesus, and accepting his invitation to follow him, and to be adopted into his family, can result in exactly that kind of confidence that we will also meet Jesus face to face and share stores of weird outfits, of cheap jewelry, of family, of faith, and of love. If you don’t have that kind of confidence, and you’d like to find out how to have it, Madelon wouldn’t want you to leave here today without asking Steve, or Susie, or one of us pastors about how you can have it too.
Madelon Andrews lived a life that was full. She was helpful, faithful, courageous, dependable, committed, and full of love for her family, and for everyone around her. Madelon’s entire life was a life that was, in every way…
And in her fullness, Madelon Andrews has poured out love, hope, grace, determination, courage, faithfulness, love and many other things into all of us, and into the lives of all the people around her.
May we, through her example, do half as well.
To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me
A poem found among Madelon’s personal notes to her family
When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears.
Be thankful for our beautiful years.
I gave you my love,
You can only guess,
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
But now it’s time I traveled on alone.
So, grieve awhile if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a time that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away, for life goes on,
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see me or touch me, I’ll be near,
And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear,
All my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and say,
(author unknown – possibly Ardis Marletta)
Obituary for Madelon J. Andrews
Madelon J. Andrews, 87, of New Franklin passed away on May 10, 2019. She worked as a nurse for over ten years at Edwin Shaw. She was a member of Park United Methodist Church and volunteered at Good Neighbors Food Pantry and in the kindergarten class at Lawndale Elementary School, where she was known as Grandma Madelon.
Madelon was preceded by her husband of 53 years, Roger Andrews. She is survived by her children, Douglas (Tami) Andrews, Greg (Tammy) Andrews and Susan (Stephen) Partridge; grandchildren, Stacey, Matthew, TJ, Cameron, Madelon and Patrick.
A Celebration Of Life service will be held at Park United Methodist Church, 2308 24th St. S.W. on Monday at 7 p.m. officiated by Rev. John Partridge. The family will receive friends an hour before from 6 to 7. Donations, if desired may be made to Good Neighbors Food Pantry.
(Published in Akron Beacon Journal May 12 to May 13, 2019)