Eulogy and Obituary for Diane L. Thomas

Eulogy for Diane L. Thomas

February 13, 2020

by Pastor John Partridge

 

 

This may seem like an odd place to start, but one of the strangest, and funniest, scenes in the animated movie “The Incredibles” is when Lucius Best, also known as the hero Frozone, is desperately trying to go out in the street to fight the bad guy, and is having an argument with his wife over where she put his super suit.  Why does this matter at a funeral?  Because in that scene that only lasts a few seconds, we see that in the home of a genuine hero, the amazing abilities and even the heroism of Frozone is completely ignored because they have become entirely ordinary to the people that live with him every day.

 

In the years since I became a pastor, I have seen almost that exact same thing happen in the families of people who, although they didn’t have super-human powers, nearly lost sight of the heroes with whom they lived because of the ordinariness of everyday life.  And, as met with Diane’s family, and as I looked over the notes that I took while they shared her story, that is what I what I saw.

 

Diane was born on May 22nd, 1963, went to Alliance High School, and then to Mount Union.  She was in her mid-20’s when she met Brad at a campground where Brad was visiting friends and Diane had arrived with a mutual friend.  After their meeting, they dated for about a year before getting married in the chapel at Christ Church.  I want you to understand that our chapel is not very big.  It only seats about 30 people if you squeeze.  So small was their wedding, that other than the pastor and a few members of their immediate family, the only people in attendance were the kids who came from the daycare center downstairs.

 

For Diane and Brad, church wasn’t just the place that they had a wedding, it was more of a way of life.  Diane loved to sing, and she sang in the choir, played in the bell choir, and became the church’s financial secretary while Brad became the church’s custodian and jack-of-all-trades.  Diane was known by her coworkers to be one of the most organized people at church and she was always on top of anything with which she was involved.  Brad said that the most amazing thing about Diane was that she was able to put up with him.

 

Diane’s favorite color was purple, she was easygoing and hardly ever picky, she loved chocolate silk pie, she loved the holidays, loved watching movies, and she loved animals, especially her dog, Grace.  Diane and Grace were practically inseparable and although she isn’t human, just the same, Grace is struggling with Diane’s loss as much, or more, than many of you.

 

Diane and her family did just about everything together, from trips to Mexico, Niagara Falls, Myrtle Beach, and a bunch of other places with the word “beach” in them, motorcycling, walking, and lots of restaurants.  And Rachel emphasized that everything they did together was always fun.  While the kids were growing up, Diane was regularly reading to them.  She loved books.  She was not just an avid reader, she read constantly.  In this last year alone, Diane read more than one hundred books.

 

I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to all the children yesterday, but I’m going to guess that the experiences of Heather and Scott weren’t a lot different from the things that Rachel told me.  Rachel talked to her mom while she drove home from work every day, and she said that her mom helped her grow up, was always there for her, helped her with everything, and was absolutely her best friend.

 

But the hardest, and the most inspiring, part of Diane’s story started 12 years ago when she first discovered that she had breast cancer.  She fought it, and she won.  But on her ten-year checkup, they discovered that this beast from her past had returned.  And she fought it again.  She fought hard and she fought bravely, and she battled with the beast for three more years.  And in all that time, Diane never complained.  Brad said that Diane always handled her fight, and her situation, better than he did.  And, in the same way that she had always done everything, no matter what happened, Diane always had a positive attitude.

 

So, while those who were closest to her might be tempted to say that Diane Thomas lived an ordinary life, what are the things that she will be remembered for?  Certainly, she was loving.  There were never any doubts about her love for Brad, or for her kids.  She loved her kids partners as if they were her own.  This past Christmas, the family gathered at Rachel’s house and although they didn’t realize it, all her siblings had the chance to be together one last time.  No one will forget Diane’s love for them.

 

But Diane will be remembered for more than love.  If we think back through the stories that I just shared with you we saw fun, faith, faithfulness, dedication, tolerance, an infectious and consistently positive attitude, and an incredible abundance of courage.

 

A little while ago, I said people lose sight of the heroes with whom they live because of the ordinariness of everyday life and I think that’s what’s happened here.  Although in the middle of the everyday, day-in and day-out struggle, it might have seemed ordinary, upon reflection we realize that Diane spent years of her life fighting one of humanity’s greatest super villains.

 

Although they may not wear capes, we are surrounded by heroes

 

And clearly, Diane Thomas was one of them.

 

Obituary for Diane L. Thomas

 

Diane ThomasDiane L. Thomas, age 56, of Salem, passed away at 4:33 p.m. Saturday, February 8, 2020 at Salem Regional Hospital.  She was born May 22, 1963 in Alliance, Ohio to Hugh E. and Helen Marie (Taylor) Kiel.

A graduate of Alliance High School, Diane also graduated from Mount Union College.

She had been Financial Secretary at Christ United Methodist Church and Assistant Director of Public Affairs at Mount Union College, before retiring as Digital Content Specialist for Coastal Pet.

A member of Christ United Methodist Church, Diane was an avid reader; she loved animals, and spending time with her family and friends.

Survivors include husband, Bradley D. Thomas, whom she married January, 22, 1990; children, Heather Thomas, Scott Thomas, and Rachel Thomas; siblings,  Walter Kiel of Gratis, OH, Marilyn (Will) Omodt of Kingsport, TN, Phillip (Juanita) Kiel of Smithsburg, MD, Paul (Debbie) Kiel of N. Canton, OH; and many nieces and nephews.

Diane was preceded in death by her parents.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home. Friends may call from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday.

Interment will be at Alliance City Cemetery.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, 16133 Ventura Blvd., Suite 1000, Encino, CA 91436.

Arrangements are by Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home, 75 S. Union Avenue Alliance, OH 44601.

https://www.ctcfuneralandcremation.com/obituary/DianeL-Thomas

Eulogy and Obituary for Spencer Lake

Eulogy for Spencer Charles Lake

January 05, 2020

by Pastor John Partridge

 

Right from the start, I want to be clear that none of us want to be here.  This is not the place that any of us planned to be today, and if we were truthful, all of us have other places that we would rather be.  We are discouraged, disappointed, and heartsick over what has happened to our friend, relative, brother, and son, Spencer and that tragedy is what has brought us here today.  We cannot get our minds around it.  Our hearts hurt.  None of it makes sense and honestly it just feels wrong.  Something inside of us screams that parents should never have to bury their children.

But it happens.

And it’s happening here.  The only comfort that we can find lies in knowing that this is not the way that the world is supposed to be.  Scripture tells us that in the beginning, the world was perfect… but it didn’t stay that way for long.  With the fall of Adam and Eve, the world fell with them and since then all of humanity has lived in a world that was imperfect, flawed, warped, and broken.  But our hearts still yearn for the perfection that once existed, and we cling to the promise that one day the creator of the universe will return to set things right again.

As we heard a few moments ago, in John’s Revelation, God promises that one day “Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” (Revelation 21) Our broken earth will be repaired and returned to the perfection that our hearts somehow know.  In that day, all those lives that have been stolen from us will be returned.  But until then, we gather together in moments like this to lessen our pain by sharing it with one another and by holding tightly to the memories of the ones that we have lost.

Spencer Lake was born on December 16th, 1997 and almost before he could walk, began talking the ear off anyone that would listen.  He could speak in full sentences before he was a year old and asked questions constantlyHe was an old soul who sometimes seemed out of place in in own generation.  He loved older people, and preferred old things over newer ones.  He could, and did, talk to an elderly neighbor for hours at a time and wanted an “old cowboy gun” rather than something new, flashy, or popular.  As kid he seemed more like an adult and complained that in Kindergarten the other kids didn’t understand him.

It’s quite possible that some of his peers found him to be a little odd because he often preferred the company of his family over that of his friends.  It isn’t that he didn’t have friends, or spend time with them but, at the end of the day, he always found his way home and spent more time there than many people his age.  He loved his family and he told them so… often.  He had long talks with his mom about just about everything, he was fiercely protective of his sisters, he was completely on-board when his parents were thinking about becoming foster parents, and when they did, he would often take foster kids under his wing and have long talks with them when they were struggling with their problems.

At the same time, Spencer was the guy who never met a stranger, and could always make you smile.  No matter what it took.  He was ornery, and he would put that crooked grin of his to work when he was up to something.  He was the guy who was always making funny faces, who made “antlers” by putting his opened hands on his head in front of the trail camera because he knew someone would laugh when they saw it later.  He always has a quick wit and reacted fast to any joke thrown at him.  He and his mom were almost constantly picking on one another.  He pretended that he didn’t want to hold babies, but he did.  He loved to make faces at his nieces, coo at them, or make funny noises to make them laugh.  Occasionally, Spencer would try to act like a tough guy, but he couldn’t keep it up and would inevitably melt into the softy that he really was.

Spencer was a quick learner, but he usually kept his mouth shut because he didn’t like to let people know that he was smart.  He was only a semester away from earning his Associates degree in welding, and had good grades, before he quit just because he didn’t like being told what to do.  When he decided that being a firefighter was what he wanted to do, he asked his mom how he should go about becoming one.  Angel admitted that she didn’t know anything about it and told him that he should just go down to the firehouse and ask.  So, he did.  And there he found people who accepted him, who mentored him, guided him, and taught him so that when he took the tests the he needed to take, he passed with what his family described as “amazing scores.”

Many of us knew Spencer to be the “outdoorsy” guy who loved to hunt, and fish, and go four-wheeling with his friends.  But as much as he genuinely liked doing those things, the activities themselves were primarily important to him because the allowed him to spend time with his friends.   He liked to work, he liked to be busy, and he didn’t like to be out of work.  He was not a morning person, he loved music, and he liked stuff, any kind of stuff, even really dumb stuff, that made him laugh.  He was deeper than most people realized, he loved his dog sometimes more than people, and we knew that he would do whatever he could to help anybody that needed it.  But few people were allowed to see that side of him that he often kept hidden.  He didn’t let people see that he was smart, or that he really liked learning things, or that he liked to cook.  He knew more about the Bible that you might guess and would sometimes surprise people by answering Bible questions that they didn’t expect him to know.  It was Spencer, after all, that got his family to go back to church.  I think he tried out our church one Sunday when our son Jonah invited him, and then just told his family that he’d found one that they would like and that they should all start going together.

In the end, Spencer was a unique and special human being who loved his friends, loved his family, and we all loved him back.  We are infinitely poorer because we have lost him, his wit, his humor, and his compassion for others.  Like all of those that we have lost, we look forward to the day when we will be reunited once again.  But until then we must comfort one another and honor his memory by doing the things that make us remember him:  listen to music, do things that make you, and others, laugh, do whatever you can for someone who needs your help, hold as tightly as you can to all of your friends and family, and let them know, as often as possible that you love them and care about them.  These are the things that Spencer did for us and these are the reasons that we felt loved and valued by him.

So now it’s up to us to pass it on.


Obituary for Spencer Charles Lake

Spencer Lake

Spencer Charles Lake, 22, of Fairview passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 at his home.  Spencer was born in Wheeling, WV on December 16, 1997 to Gregory D. and  Angel (Alwine) Lake.

Spencer attended Barnesville First United Methodist Church and a 2016 graduate of Barnesville High School.  Spencer worked as a welder for Local 798 and was a Lieutenant for the Fairview Fire Department.  In high school, Spencer was a football player and on the track team where he pole-vaulted.  He enjoyed hunting, fishing, riding his RZR and spending time with his family and friends.  Spencer was a loving son, uncle and brother to his family and especially his “foster siblings”.

Spencer is preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Frank Clifford Alwine.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his paternal grandparents, Kenneth D. and Geneva Lake; maternal grandmother, Carolyn “CJ” (Kevin) Benson; siblings: Chandra (Jesse) Galford, Carissa Lake, Caden (Jennifer Farson) Lake and Tyler Lake; nieces and nephews: Chance and Layla Stevens and Madelynn and Carabella Carter; aunts: Chasity (Brian) Arigoni, Heather (Scott) Cameron and Cindy (John) Lynn; uncle, Shawn Lake; cousins: Corey, Bobby, Desi, Annalisa, Nelson, Charlie and Alex; Uncle Fred and Aunt Leota; best friends: Chase Whiteley and James Corbett; and his dog, Buddy.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, January 5, 2020 from1-3 and 5-7pm and on Monday, January 6, 2020 from 10am until the time of the service at 11am with Pastor John Partridge officiating at Campbell-Plumly-Milburn Funeral Home, 319 N. Chestnut St., Barnesville, Ohio.  Burial will follow in Fairview Cemetery in Fairview, Ohio.

From: https://www.campbellplumlymilburnfuneralhome.com/notices/Spencer-Lake

 

Eulogy and Obituary for Tim Barnhouse

Eulogy for Thomas “Tim” E. Barnhouse

September 20, 2019

by Pastor John Partridge

 

I met with Tim’s family yesterday afternoon and, as I often do, I let them tell me stories.  And for an hour or more, the stories, much like the stories that Tim often told, just kept coming.  I’m not sure that I have time to share all their stories with you today, but I’m sure that all of you will be sharing stories of your own over dinner later.  And some of us will be telling, and retelling, stories about Tim for years to come.  But as I was thinking about all that had been said, and after I returned to my office and started looking over my notes, there was one thing that I noticed above everything else.  Usually, when I talk to families and prepare to write a eulogy like this one, what I end up with is a story about that person’s life, when they were born, where they went to school, where they lived, and a few stories that give us snapshots of who they were and what they represented to their families.

 

But Tim’s stories are almost all the same.

 

Almost every one of the stories that I heard yesterday, including the ones that I told, boil down to one consistent theme.  Tim genuinely cared about people.  He was regularly asking the people around him, “Are you alright?”  And he continued asking, even after it was obvious that he wasn’t okay.  The way that his family explained it was that Tim was passionate, and almost obsessive, about making sure that things (meaning the people he cared about, and that was almost everyone) were okay.  It started as soon as you met him.  Tim didn’t just say hello, he had to touch you and make a tangible and personal connection with you, when he said hello.  If you were at all familiar, his “hello” probably also came with a hug, and if you were family, you almost certainly got a kiss too.  With Tim, there were no strangers.  You started off as a friend, and quickly became family.  The way that Tim’s priorities were explained to me yesterday is that Tim always put family first.  After that, there were his friends, then Mount Union, and after that came everything else.  After he lost Doris, he began to refer to all of his female neighbors and friends as his “girlfriends.”  Maybe it was for the humor that he found in saying it, and maybe it was an effort to tell his family that he was doing okay and wasn’t as lonely as they feared he might be.

 

But he was a little lonely.  Tim always missed his mom and he missed Doris enormously.  Adjusting to being single again was hard.  Recently, at church, several folks noticed that Tim was even more isolated and lonely after we lost his friends Elvin and Jack Madison in the span of barely more than two months.  But Tim would never say anything about his own pain.  He did, however, confess that he was happier in Florida than he was here, and everyone knew that it was because he was constantly surrounded by his family while he was there.

 

And the word ‘family’ is a little difficult to define for Tim.  For most of us it’s our parents or our kids, but Tim’s family was, and is, bigger than that.  You all know that Tim was open-hearted and generous and was always there whenever anyone needed anything, but what you might not know is how that generosity, and his sense of what it meant to be a family, played out in his personal life.  Long ago, Tim’s brother took off, just disappeared, and left a wife and several small children behind.  So, Tim, being who he was, just took over as the father figure to his nieces and nephews and functionally became their “Dad” along with his own two girls.  For the younger ones, Tim was the only father that they ever knew.  And there were others that got adopted into Tim’s family circle along the way as well.  For all of these children, nieces, nephews, as well as their children, I’m just going to call them grandkids, all of them, rather than try to explain it all each time, for all of these grandkids, Tim showed up.  He was there for all the basketball games, football games, cheerleader competitions, band concerts, birthdays, and everything else.  If the kids were in it, Tim was there.  And Tim was there so often, that other parents knew who he was, even if they didn’t know his name because he was the guy that was always there.

 

That was sort of a hallmark of the Tim Barnhouse that we all knew.  He was there.  He was there for his family, he was there for his church, he was there for his school, he was there for his community, he was there for everyone.  If Tim saw someone in need, he was there.  If Tim saw something that needed done, he did it.  And no matter what else he was doing, he always had time for you (unless the timer on his dryer ‘dinged’ and then that had to be done before anything else).  Tim liked to talk…, but you probably knew that.  Tim would sit and talk forever.  Many of his stories would begin with “Well…” and then he would tell you the history of all the characters in the story, and all the places in the story, and then he’d finally get around to telling you the story.  He was the kind of a guy that could take an hour to tell a ten-minute story.

 

From the people who knew them both, I heard that Tim had his mother’s heart.  He was always loving, always non-judgmental, and he even adopted his mother’s habit of sending cards to everyone that he knew for birthday’s, anniversaries, and for other significant events.  It was so important to Tim that these cards went out, that in the last couple of weeks, when he wasn’t physically able to do it, he asked others to go out, and buy cards for some of his family that had birthdays coming up, and, although his hands were shaky, he signed them himself, and made sure that there was money inside, so that there would be card to open when those birthday’s arrived.

 

There are so many more things that just made Tim, Tim.  If Tim rode in the car with you, you were free to listen to whatever music you wanted to, but if you rode in the car with Tim, the only things that you would ever hear on the radio were the Indians game, or the news.  Tim wanted, needed, to focus on what he was doing when he was behind the wheel.  He was anxious about getting to where he was going.  Even when he wasn’t driving, he not only wanted to know where you were going, but how you planned on getting there.  Tim always wanted lots of information.  Tim was the guy, no matter where he was, that if the National Anthem was played…, he sang along…, at the top of his lungs…, even if no one else was singing.  He asked everyone if they had checked Consumer Reports, no matter whether the planned purchase was large or small.  He was a guy who loved his Mount Union Raiders but if he couldn’t be in town to see them play, he made sure to give his tickets to someone who could.  Tim was the man who visited everyone that he knew who was in a nursing home.  He was the guy who regularly paid for the altar flowers at church, even when he couldn’t be here to see them.  And whenever he paid for those flowers, he would take them to someone who was in a nursing home or in the hospital, and if he wasn’t here, he left instructions for one of us to take them to someone for him.

 

Tim was a big hugger, and he was a rule follower to the point of occasionally annoying the daylights out of his family, if there was a sign at the side of the road, he insisted that it be followed.  Except speed limits, which Tim often reminded his kids were, “The maximum speed that you can travel, but not the required speed.”  Tim always drove at, or below, the posted speed limit.  The only time that Susan thinks that he didn’t, was the day that she got her drivers’ license and totaled the car while she and Doris were going somewhere.  And, as often and Susan and Tim were at loggerheads with one another, she sat there, at the hospital, fully expecting to be ripped up one side and down the other, as well as hearing story after story about how expensive cars were and how their insurance rates would go up.  But none of that ever happened.  There was never an argument, never a single discussion, and not one mention, ever, of how much it cost.  Tim knew what was really important, and the car, and the money, weren’t it.

 

Tim was the guy who would go to Urgent Care for the sniffles or a sore throat because he wanted to be sure that he wouldn’t miss one of his grandkids’ events and so we know that his health had to be a concern.  Toward the end, it became apparent that although Tim worried about his health, he never shared his worry with anyone else because he didn’t want us to worry.  But, at some point, as he shared with his family, he knew that he wasn’t going to recover and it was at that point that he shared with one of the grandkids that, “The next few months are going to be hard.”

 

In his last days, Tim’s family was engulfed in an overwhelming outpouring of support because of all the lives, from Alliance, to Columbus, to Zanesville, to Florida, that had been touched by Tim Barnhouse.  And at the end, for the man who had lived by the rules, and who always drove at or under the speed limit, and who insisted in always being on time, died exactly on the hour at ten o’clock.  No matter what, no matter how much he was worrying, or suffering, Tim’s ever-present sense of humor endured all the way to the end.  Even at the very end, after everyone thought that Tim was no longer even conscious, as the family talked about Tim’s mom, and her wonderful chocolate chip cookies, cookies that were always available no matter when you visited, suddenly Tim began to struggle, he roused himself and seemed to be in considerable pain, but he did so just so that he could say three important words.  These were simultaneously words of remembrance, words of looking forward, and a reflection of his sense of humor, as Tim struggled with all the strength that he had left to say… “Chocolate chip cookies.”

 

Today, we know that Tim is finally healed.  He is finally at rest.  He has finally rejoined his mom, and God has restored to him a Doris that remembers who he is.  While we grieve, we remember that Tim has finally stopped worrying because the world in which Jesus has invited him, is, at last, perfect.

 

So, you see, in the end, the thing that was consistent and obvious to everyone, was that Tim Barnhouse… cared.  He sent cards because he cared, he visited because he cared, he got involved, he went to games and birthday parties, he told stories, he touched, he hugged, he talked, he was there, he loved… because he cared.  And as I wrote this story about Tim’s life, I was reminded of the words of Jesus from John 14:12.  Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”  Earlier, I mentioned that one of the family said that Tim had his mother’s heart, but I also think, that in a lot of ways, Tim was who he was… because Tim also had the heart of Jesus.  And I have no doubt, that also has much to do with why Tim Barnhouse will be remembered as a man… who cared.

 


 

Obituary for Tim Barnhouse

 

Tim BarnhouseThomas “Tim” E. Barnhouse, age 79, of Alliance, passed away at 10:10 p.m., Thursday, September 12, 2019 with his family by his side.

He was born April 24, 1940 in Alliance, Ohio to Elmer E. and Helen E. (Hurford) Barnhouse.

Tim was a 1958 graduate of Alliance High School and a graduate of Mount Union College with a Bachelor’s Degree in math. He was employed by the former Cunningham and Pickett for ten years and The Hoover Company in finance for 35 years before retiring in 2002.

He was a member of Christ United Methodist Church for more than fifty years, serving as chairman on various committees. Tim was a former member of the Board of Directors of the former Family Services of Stark County, served on the Alumni Council of the University of Mount Union, and was formerly treasurer of the Sheep and Swine Committee for the Stark County 4H Club.

Survivors include two daughters; Susan E. Barnhouse and Katharine A. (Lawrence II) Pack both of Etna, Ohio; four grandchildren, Benjamin, Rebecca, Lydia and Samantha; many nieces and nephews; many grand-nieces and grand-nephews; as well as the many close friends who along the way became family members.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Doris J. Barnhouse whom he married November 5, 1966 and died April 13, 2016; and brother, David Barnhouse.

Services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, September 20, 2019 at Christ United Methodist Church with Pastor John Partridge officiating. Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., Thursday, September 19 at Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home.

Entombment will be at University of Mount Union Victoria’s Garden Columbarium.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Helen E. Barnhouse Trust at Christ United Methodist Church, 470 East Broadway Alliance, Ohio 44601 or to the University of Mount Union Barnhouse Education Scholarship Fund, 1972 Clark Avenue Alliance, Ohio 44601.

Arrangements are by Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home.

 

Jan Stoll – Eulogy and Obituary

Eulogy for Janice L. “Jan” Stoll

June 21, 2019

by Pastor John Partridge

 

In 1937, the world was changing.  The Golden Gate Bridge opened for the first time, “Gone With the Wind” won a Pulitzer prize, Cy Young was elected to the baseball hall of fame, War Admiral won the Kentucky Derby, SPAM was introduced to the world, the Hindenburg exploded in Lakehurst, NY, war was ramping up in both the Pacific and in Europe, and the first commercial airline flight travelled across the Pacific.  And just about the time that Amelia Earhart disappeared while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, Janice L. Stoll made her first appearance in Alliance, Ohio.

 

Jan was born on October 25th, 1937 to Lee and Roberta Freytag.  By the time she graduated from Alliance High School, she was steady with her high school sweetheart Bill Stoll and the two of them were married on March 9th, 1957.  Jan stayed home and kept the home fires burning while Bill spent some time in the Navy, but afterwards they raised Tammy together.

 

Jan was a regular at Eastern Star, but she could almost always be found at Christ United Methodist Church and she and Bill made sure that Tammy was there too.  Almost every year the family would take some time off, spend time together, and make a trip out to Garden Grove, California to visit Bill’s mother.

 

In 1993 Tammy moved to Texas and not wanting to be so far away from their grandson, two years later, Jan and Bill did too.  Tammy and Jan had a difficult relationship at times, but Mitchell was always the apple of Jan’s eye.  She was his biggest supporter and his constant cheerleader.  She was there at just about every sporting event or school program that he was ever in and she loved to take Mitchell to play mini golf.  When they played, Jan always let Mitchell win… until she didn’t.

 

One day, when Mitchell was approaching adulthood, she stopped holding back and skunked him handily.  He didn’t take it well and threw his putter into the water.  But Jan just gently talked him down, explained to him the value of patience, and told him that even though winning is great, everyone should know how to lose well.  These are lessons and memories that remain fresh for Mitchell and will stay with him for the rest of his life.  Mitchell remembers that Jan loved to cook, and that she had a jukebox in her home will with old classics.  She regularly played Elvis songs and taught Mitchell to sing Blueberry Hill with Fats Domino playing on the jukebox.  The two of them often bonded discussing the latest news about the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Mitchell said that while Jan may not have approved of every decision that he made, she never judged him and was always there to give him good advice.  It seems to me, that Jan knew that she had made some mistakes while she was raising Tammy, learned from them, and tried to do better with her relationship with Mitchell.

 

The family lost Bill in 2008 and, in 2011, Tammy decided to move to Florida.  At first, Jan thought that she would follow Tammy as soon as she could sell her house.  But it took a while.  And when the day came that her house finally sold, Jan called Tammy and announced that instead of moving to Florida, she was going to move back home to Ohio… and she did.  Maybe starting over, again, in a new place, had lost its appeal, but whatever the reason, Jan came home to her hometown, to the things that were familiar, to the place where she still had friends, and eventually to her Lakeshore apartment at Copeland Oaks.

 

I think Tammy put her finger on one of the themes of Jan Stoll’s life when she said that Jan always tried to do her best.  Ultimately, that’s immensely important.  Jan knew that life isn’t perfect, that we don’t always make the right choices, that everything doesn’t always go well, and that our relationships aren’t always what we wished they could be.  But in the end, no matter how life twists and turns, we all need to be a little bit like Jan.  Don’t give up.  Just keep swimming, just keep pushing, just keep going, and just…

 

…do the best you can.

 


Footprints

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”


Obituary for Janice L. “Jan” Stoll

Janice-StollJanice L. “Jan” (Freytag) Stoll, 81, of Copeland Oaks, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm at her home in Sebring.
Born on October 25, 1937 in Alliance, to Lee and Roberta Freytag, she lived in Alliance for most of her life.
A graduate of Alliance High School, Janice was a member of Christ United Methodist Church. She was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Janice enjoyed antiquing, traveling, beachcombing and collecting shells, and she supported several Native American organizations.
Survivors include her daughter, Tammy Smith of Kissimmee, FL; a grandson, Mitchell Lee (Brittany) Smith of Winter Park, FL; two nieces, Linda (Regis) Valentine and Diane (Ray) Shallenberger; three nephews, Robert Sims, Michael (Kathleen) Sims and Christopher (Rebecca) Sims; several great nieces and nephews; great-great nieces and nephews; cousins, Doris Lowers, Bob (Debbie) Graham and Shawn (Marsha) Graham.
Preceding her in death was her husband, William L. Stoll, whom she married on March 9, 1957 and who died on September 3, 2008; an infant daughter, Jody Lynn Stoll; a grandson, Andrew Smith; her parents; a sister, Carol Sims; and a nephew, William Sims.
The family wishes to give heartfelt thanks to Visiting Angels, Hospice of the Valley, Nurse Debbie RN, her aides, Anna and Audrie, social worker, Rebecca; the nursing staff of Copeland Oaks, and Annette and Mindy of Lakeshore Apartments.
The family will receive friends on Friday, June 21, 2019 from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm at Sharer-Stirling-Skivolocke Funeral Home. Her Funeral Service will begin at 12:00 pm with Rev. John Partridge, of Christ United Methodist Church, officiating. Burial will take place at Highland Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions are suggested to Shriners Children’s Hospital www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org .
You are invited to view Janice’s tribute wall, offer condolences and share memories at www.sharerfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are by the Sharer-Stirling-Skivolocke Funeral Home.

Shirley Carberry – Eulogy and Obituary

Eulogy for Shirley Carberry

May 16, 2019

by Pastor John Partridge

 

Shirley Carberry was one of those people that, behind the scenes and out of the public eye, made the world go ‘round.  She was one of those people who aren’t out to get the attention and adulation of the world but who saw what needed to be done and just put her head down and got it done.  Shirley was born on May 17th, 1927 to Robert and Muriel Crum.  This being the year that began the Great Depression, it wasn’t an easy time to be born and, in a way, that sort of set the tone for Shirley’s life.  It often wasn’t easy, but every time that life got hard, Shirley just put her head down, and got it done anyway.

Early on, Shirley’s father, without announcement or explanation, just up and left his family.  And so, Shirley, Maxine, and Robert took care of one another and, at the same time, took care of their mom.  Robert went to work early in the morning before school assisting a dairy man in his morning deliveries.  At the end of their morning route, the dairyman would drop Bob off near Mount Union and Shirley would ride her bike there to pick him up and ride them both to school.  At the age of 18, Shirley went to work at the West Ely Street Market and a few years later, when the owner retired, she took it over, eventually bought it, and her husband learned to be a butcher and joined her there.

Shirley married Bob’s best friend Milton, at the age of 22, on September 3rd, 1949 after he had returned to Alliance after the end of his service in World War II.  At the time they were married, Shirley lived with, and cared for, her mom, and upon their marriage, Milton just moved in with the two of them and helped Shirley.  Milton and Shirley lived there together for more than 37 years until Milton died in 1987.  After that, Shirley continued to care for her mother alone.  It was only after her mother’s death, that Shirley finally moved out and got her own place.

But we’ve skipped too far ahead.  Shirley and Milton had 37 years together and during that time they had many adventures.  They worked together at the West Ely Street Market, for a while Shirley worked in the offices of Judge Tangi, they attended church, bowled in a bowling league, played cards (Shirley loved to play cards), volunteered with Boy Scout Troop 50, kept a garden (Shirley was known around town for her beautiful flowers), traveled together, and even took a trip to Europe together.  Shirley kept a scrapbook of their travels in Europe that included something from every place that they had visited.  And they had a cottage at Berlin Lake where there was always a crowd of friends with skiing, and swimming, and card games, fun and laughter.

Shirley was well-known at Christ Church.  She became a member when it was the First Methodist Episcopal Church and stayed as the denomination merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to become the United Methodist Church, and she just faithfully kept coming no matter what.  Although she and Milton never had any of their own, Shirley loved children and you could find her volunteering with the Boy Scouts and the Cub Scouts, and with the church youth and anywhere else that she was needed.  Shirley could often be found helping in the kitchen for church dinners.  She came to church every Sunday with her mom, and after her mom passed away, then she came every Sunday with her sister Maxine and with her niece Sheryl and Sheryl’s husband Jeff.

Shirley not only attended regularly, but everyone knew that she just hated to miss church.  Even after she moved to Danbury Senior Living, and could no longer get out, Shirley still loved to hear all the news about Christ Church, it’s people, it’s missionary outreach and ministries, and she always had questions about the latest church news, as well as the happenings around town, about the Alliance High School Alumni, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, and Christ Church’s Cooking for the Soul classes whenever Susan and Dick Diser would come for a visit.  Many years ago, Shirley belonged to the Protheon Sunday school class, and she kept in tough with many of her friends from that time and many of them were the founding group that regularly attended our church’s 8:30 am worship service until it ended a few years ago.

Shirley was known for the things that she loved.  She loved her garden, she loved riding her bicycle, she loved trips to Las Vegas, she loved a cold beer (even if it often took her most of the day to drink one), and she loved raisin pie.  Boy I wish I had known that.  Nobody else in my family (except me) likes raisin pie, if I had known this sooner, I would have used that as an excuse to go and buy some just so I could share it with her.  And Shirley loved to read.  And boy oh boy did she love to read.  If you had visited her, she had her favorite chair set up with her lamp and bookcases and piles of books and magazines surrounding her so that she could reach everything and just stay there for hours.  And right up until the end, Shirley subscribed to our church newsletter and our weekly Sunday sermons, and she read everything that we sent her.

Shirley spent much of her time helping others and contributing to her family, her church, and her community in any way that she could.  She was the secretary of the North End reunion for 25 years, a life member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, and active in many things as church.  She collected antique clocks, cuckoo clocks, hurricane lamps, most any kind of money that was dated prior to 1918, and, as her brother described it, “anything old.”  In her later years, Shirley became interested in the stock market.  Not surprisingly, she read books about it, she studied it, and then she tried her had at it and, as I understand it, she got pretty good at it.

But Shirley didn’t do things for the money.  Although she kept enough for herself to be comfortable, Shirley was just never motivated by money.  She was always generous with what she had no matter how much, or how little, she had herself.  She was a giving person who was known for her generosity.  When her sister Maxine passed away and left Shirley a fair amount of money from her IRA, Shirley simply said that she didn’t need any more than what she already had, so she gave it all away to worthy causes.  Even now, with her passing, Shirley is blessing her church and several other charitable organizations with what she had.

Shirley was not only a sister to her siblings but the three of them were close, if not the closest of friends.  She was known as a woman who was always willing to share her opinion, on any subject, but she was also known for her gentle spirit, her unselfish attitude, and a good, even wonderful, woman.  It has been said that everyone who knew Shirley, liked her.

And so, before we conclude, I want you to hear some of the adjectives that seemed to repeat themselves in this eulogy, and in all the conversations that I’ve had with people about Shirley Carberry.  They were words like, gentle, persistent, reliable, undemanding, faithful, unselfish, helpful, generous, and giving.  Shirley was not the kind of person that tried to be the center of attention, but she was always there, in the background in the office, or in the kitchen, doing the things that needed to be done.  Her life wasn’t always easy, and maybe that’s why she spent so much of her time trying to make the lives of others easier.  She spent her life trying to help people and, in the process, she made our community, and the world, a better place to live.

Not only do we all owe Shirley Carberry a debt, we need more people like her.

My prayer is that those of us who knew Shirley Carberry would learn from her example and become the kind of giving, faithful, and loving person that she was so that we too can make the world a better place.

 

 

 

Obituary for Shirley Carberry

Shirley Carberry

Shirley A. Carberry, age 91, of Alliance, passed away at 3:20 a.m., Saturday, May 11, 2019 at Danbury Senior Living of Alliance.

She was born May 17, 1927 in Alliance, Ohio to Robert L. and Muriel (Elder) Crum.

Shirley was a 1945 graduate of Alliance High School in the class of 1945 and was co-owner of the former West Ely Market and had worked in Judge Tangi’s office for five years.

A 70 plus year member of Christ United Methodist Church, Shirley was a member of the Protheon Sunday school class and also a life member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary No. 1076.

Survivors include brother, Robert G. Crum, of Alliance: and two nieces, Sheryl (Jeff) Lain of Alliance and Carol Tallman of Boardman.

Preceding her in death were her parents: husband, Milton Carberry whom she married September 3, 1949; sister, Maxine Lastivka and a niece, Joni Mastriacovo.

Services will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, May 17, 2019 at Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home with Pastor John Partridge officiating. Friends may call one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at Highland Memorial Park.

Memorial contributions may be made to Christ United Methodist Church 470 E. Broadway Ave., Alliance, OH 44601.

Arrangements are by Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home 75 S. Union Ave., Alliance, OH 44601.

Madelon J. Andrews – Eulogy and Obituary

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…

…full.

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,

“Welcome Home!”

(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)

Myrtle M. Hanna: Eulogy and Obituary

Eulogy for Myrtle Mae Hanna

Written by her youngest daughter, Jill Rowland

April 6, 2019

 

Maya Angelou said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place we can go as we are and not be questioned.” We all yearn for that kind of home; Myrtle was no exception.   For Myrtle, home was central to her life.  As a child, her cherished home shaped her, and as an adult, she was a home maker. In this world, home was her favorite place to be and the main place from which she served and blessed others.

Myrtle’s love of home began on her family’s farm in Athens, Tennessee, where she was born in 1927. Her parents raised most of their own food and grew cotton and tobacco to sell.  She was the fifth out of ten children, the oldest of whom was a sister, plus eight brothers. Being surrounded by boys influenced her personality; she was spunky, straightforward, resilient, and opinionated. She was no sissy and nobody’s fool.  It was hard for her kids and grandkids to get away with anything because she already knew all the tricks! In fact, they nicknamed her after a flowering vine called “Creeping Myrtle” because of her uncanny knack for silently creeping up behind them just in time to see them doing something they weren’t supposed to do.

Myrtle’s time at home on the farm shaped her lifelong interests.  Working in their garden developed her green thumb, and as an adult she loved to grow both vegetables and flowers. Her lasting preference for country music came from times spent listening to the Grand Ol’ Opry around the radio with her family.

Myrtle also developed her admirable work ethic on the farm.  By the time she was old enough to reach the sink while standing on a chair, she was responsible for washing the dishes.  To alleviate the drudgery, she would make the dishes sing and talk with each other. She also gathered eggs, picked cotton, churned butter, and milked the cows by hand, expertly squirting milk into barn cats’ open mouths when they begged.

Despite daily chores and ornery brothers, Myrtle had a happy childhood. She felt well loved by her parents and was thankful for her dad’s wise money management.  Their debt-free farm provided a secure home and plenty of food to eat during the Great Depression when so many others were going homeless and hungry.  And life wasn’t all chores; she and her siblings roamed the farm together, swam in their creek, and played lots of baseball.

Her teen years, sadly, were darkened by the military service of two older brothers sent to fight in World War II followed by the death of her mother when Myrtle was only seventeen.  When she graduated from high school in 1945 and the war ended, she was ready for a new beginning.

This led to Myrtle’s first, treasured home as an independent adult. Some of Myrtle’s close childhood girlfriends had moved to Washington, D.C. in pursuit of good jobs, and they soon convinced her to join them there.  The six girls lived together in a cute little cape cod, and Myrtle worked as a maintenance dispatcher for the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company. She remembered those carefree days fondly for the rest of her life. She excelled at work, and teammates on her office softball team called her “Old Slugger” due to her talent for hitting that had been honed over countless games with her brothers.  She laughed and had fun with her roommates and jitterbugged on the weekends at dance ballrooms.

During this period, a young Marine from Lisbon, Ohio, named Richard Hanna walked into her life. When he first laid eyes on Myrtle, he thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen (and she thought he was pretty cute, too!).  Six months later, they were married on October 24, 1947, a union that lasted 59 years. Their strengths and weaknesses balanced each other. She had lots of common sense and was more practical, while he was more of a kid at heart.  In later years, she fed the grandchildren healthy, balanced meals, and he sugared them up on outings to get ice cream. He always called her “Myrt, Hon,” and they were dedicated to each other.

The newlyweds created their own loving home together as a couple. After Richard’s active duty in the Marines ended, he joined the Reserve and they moved to the Alliance area to start a trucking company. The next year, they welcomed their daughter, Patty, and he was called up to fight in the Korean War. In his absence, the new mother on her own used her keen business sense to successfully manage the company and eliminate its debt. Upon his return, Myrtle became a full-time stay-at-home mom, and they welcomed their son, Bruce, in 1953, followed by their mid-life surprise, Jill, fifteen years later.

Myrtle truly strove to be a home maker—to make a home for her husband and children that provided stability and comfort in an uncertain world.  She succeeded.   She was a hard worker who expressed her love for others largely through service. She showed her affection not only through hugs and saying, “I love you,” but also through her immaculately clean home that was guest-ready at all times, daily hot breakfasts before school, homemade dinners each evening, and impeccably washed and ironed clothing.  She was a room mother at her children’s school for many years, helping with the class parties, and never missed an open house. When her kids were sick, there could not have been a more attentive nurse. She was a pro at making a cozy bed on the couch and bringing candy treats like Reese’s Cups home from the pharmacy to help make the medicine go down. She was always there for them.

Myrtle’s home was a safe haven for relatives and a welcoming place for friends. She was blessed with lasting friendships from childhood and beyond, such as with Jean Poto, Helen Greiner, Esther Ball Hamlin, Nancy and Dick Morris, Bea Sassaman, and Sheila Williamson. She warmly welcomed her kid’s friends, too, and Lisa Tennis, Jill’s dear childhood friend and next-door neighbor, remembers Myrtle as a second mother to her.

Guests to Myrtle’s home were blessed by her Southern hospitality, especially when it came to food.  If you left her house hungry, you had nobody to blame but yourself! People reminisce about her Italian chicken, meatloaf, biscuits, banana pudding, chocolate cake, homemade jelly, and Sunday roast beef after church served with fluffy mashed potatoes and gravy (made from scratch, of course–canned gravy was a sacrilege to Myrtle!). When her adult kids left her house after a visit, often with a care package of leftovers in hand, she would stand at her door, waving good-bye and blowing them kisses until they were out of her sight.

Myrtle’s church home was here at Christ United Methodist, where she was a member for over six decades. In her younger years, she was active in adult Sunday school and a women’s circle.  She was a believer who attended church regularly with her husband and children, and she made sure that her kids heard about Jesus. Jill remembers her mom carefully writing out the Lord’s Prayer by hand on a piece of notebook paper and helping her to memorize it.  Myrtle took seriously the Bible verse (in Proverbs 22:6) telling parents to “Train up a child in the way he should go.”

Myrtle had a heart for helping other women in times of need.  She cooked for elderly widows in her neighborhood and drove them to doctor’s appointments and to the grocery store. She also had a soft spot for new moms. When her neighbor and friend, Sheila, had her first baby and was feeling overwhelmed, Myrtle characteristically showed up with a tray heaped full of her famous Italian chicken, sides, and dessert, and later brought cheerful bouquets of flowers from her garden. The Bible says that “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”       (1 Peter 4:10) Myrtle used her gifts of her home, her cooking, and her hospitality to bless others.

Myrtle’s older years brought an abundance of blessings, including her daughter-in-law, Joanie, and her son-in-law, Bill, together with her beloved grandkids, Jacob, John, Megan, and Sophie, and two great-granddaughters, Olive and Vivian.  However, Myrtle had her share of sorrows. She survived breast cancer and heart surgeries and outlived all but two of her ten siblings. In 2007, the love of her life, Richard, died; in 2012, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; and in 2016, her dear granddaughter, Megan, passed away.  These were profound losses for the entire family. Despite Myrtle’s dementia, however, she always remembered her loved ones, maintained a sweet demeanor, and could enjoy herself in the moment.

One thing that even grief and Alzheimer’s couldn’t rob from Myrtle was her mischievous love of laughter. One day while in the car with her daughters, Myrtle saw a sight that she had never seen before in her eighty-plus years: a man on a recumbent bicycle wearing a neon cyclist’s outfit with skin-tight shorts.  Myrtle said, “Whaaaat in the world??? Would you just look at that?!” and burst into helpless laughter.

Due to the Alzheimer’s, Myrtle had to move to a care facility, but she missed her previous homes.  She pined for “the old house” on Freedom Street and for her childhood farm in Tennessee, and she struggled constantly to understand where she was in time and space.  No matter where she was, she repeatedly asked “Where is this place located?”  When she was suffering in the hospital with the blood clots in her leg that led to her death, some of her last words, other than “I love you,” were “I can’t wait to go home.”

Now Myrtle’s deep desire to go home has been fulfilled. God plants this yearning for home in our hearts, and only being home with Him can ever fully satisfy it.  Myrtle never again needs to ask where she is.  She is in the arms of Jesus. As Billy Graham said, “My home is in Heaven; I am just traveling through this world.”  Myrtle is truly home at last.

 

Obituary for Myrtle M. (Brock) Hanna

March 7, 1927 ~ March 28, 2019 (age 92)

 

Myrtle HannahMyrtle Mae (Brock) Hanna, age 92, a longtime citizen of Alliance who recently resided at Copeland Oaks in Sebring, passed away at 12:56 p.m., Thursday, March 28, 2019, at the Community Care Center of Alliance after a short illness.

She was born March 7, 1927, in Athens, Tennessee, to Horace A. and Ira A. (Lowry) Brock.

One of ten children, Myrtle was raised during the Great Depression on her family’s tobacco and cotton farm, where she learned the value of thrift and hard work. She graduated as a straight-A student from McMinn High School in 1945 before moving with friends to Washington, D.C. and working as a maintenance dispatcher for the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company.  On the weekends, Myrtle liked to jitterbug and socialize. She soon met the love of her life, Richard, a Marine from Lisbon, Ohio, who was stationed at Camp Lejeune. They were married on October 24, 1947.

The newlyweds moved to the Alliance area, where they established a trucking company and welcomed their daughter, Patty.  When Richard was sent to fight with the Marine Corps Reserve in the Korean War, Myrtle used her talent for business to successfully manage the venture in his absence.  Upon his return, she became a full-time homemaker for their family, which grew to include their son, Bruce, and their daughter, Jill.

A person of faith, Myrtle was a member of Christ United Methodist Church for over six decades and was active there in her younger years.  Her other pursuits included growing vegetables and flowers, picking berries and making jam, cooking, visiting relatives in Tennessee, going for walks, and helping neighbors in need. Most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her family and close friends. Her Southern hospitality, delicious meals, common sense, mischievous laughter, and heartfelt hugs will be sorely missed.

Survivors include Myrtle’s two daughters, Patricia Eckert of Alliance and Jill (Bill) Rowland of Columbus; son, Bruce (Joan) Hanna of Manitowoc, Wisconsin; three grandchildren, Jacob Eckert of Alliance, Jon (Andrea) Hanna of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Sophie Rowland of Columbus; two great-grandchildren, Olive and Vivian Hanna of Oshkosh, Wisconsin; two brothers, Claude Brock of Leesburg, Georgia, and Fred (Melissa) Brock of Ruskin, Florida; dear friends, Jean Poto, Nancy and Dick Morris, and Sheila Williamson; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, Myrtle was preceded in death by her husband of fifty-nine years, Richard C. Hanna; a sister, Daisy Shipley; six brothers, John, Doyle, Howard, Clifford, Henry, and Glen Brock; and a granddaughter, Megan Hanna.

Friends may call at Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 5, and at Christ United Methodist Church from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 6.    A funeral service will immediately follow at the church with Reverend John Partridge and Pastor Rick Sams officiating. Interment will be at Highland Memorial Park.

Memorial contributions may be made to Christ United Methodist Church, 470 East Broadway Street, Alliance, Ohio, 44601.

Arrangements are by Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home, 75 S. Union Avenue, Alliance, Ohio, 44601.