Monday, June 18, 2007

Grandma

Earlene "Grandma", age 78, of Farmtown, IL, passed away peacefully at her home, early Sunday morning, June 10, 2007. Recently diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, Earlene fought with great courage. But when it became clear that a cure was not to be, Earlene chose to live her last days at home on the farm. With the help of her family and a loving care team from Hospice, Earlene was able to return home with Pete. There, surrounded by family and friends, and true to her faith, Earlene submitted to her calling with grace and peace, and offered it up. In those precious days, she poured out blessings with every breath and continued to pray for loved one’s and friends, near and far . Earlene and her twin brother, Earl, were born on April 24,1929, the third set of twins, and the youngest of thirteen children.
As Peter recalls, during Earlene’s upperclassman years at Madonna, she needed a date for a special dance. Pete, then attending Marmion MilitaryAcademy, and “coincidentally” boarding with Earlene’s cousin, was the logical escort. “An officer and a gentleman”, Pete agreed to be Earlene’s date for the dance. As he would later recall, “I thought she was really cute and had a personality to match”. Following graduation, the romance continued. Earlene went to work as a dental assistant and remained at home, helping raise her sister,Teresa, a special needs child, after their father passed away. Five years after that first date, Peter secretly asked Earlene’s mother if he could have Earlene’s hand in marriage. Receiving her blessing, Pete proposed to Earlene just before Christmas. They were married in the spring, on June 17, 1950. Surely that day, angels sang on high, for their marriage was truly made in heaven. Earlene, the city girl, left town for life on the farm. Together Earlene and Pete raised six children on his family’s farm near Farmtown and set before them a living example of sacrificial love, genuine joy and true faith. The story of Earlene’s life tells it all.
While caring for her mother, Earlene delivered farm fresh eggs there every week and came to be called the “Egg Lady”. She always had a good sense of humor and more than lived up to her name. After Pete’s sister, Louise Zang, died in 1956,Pete and Earlene brought the Zang family into their home for several years. For this gift of love, Earlene’s Alma Mater named her “Mother of the Year”. That award could have been the title of Earlene’s biography as her “mothering” continued among many other family members and friends. A woman well acquainted with grief, Earlene cared for many people who were dying, among them her own daughter, Donna, who passed away in 1960 at the age of eight. Faithful and loving to the last, Earlene cared for her mother, brother and sister-in-law, and her older sister, Teresa, for whom she cared for twenty-six years. Before Teresa’s death on April 11, 2007, Earlene turned her home into a hospice and was Teresa’s constant caregiver for nine months. Just days after Teresa’s passing, Earlene began her own battle with cancer. Her home continued to be a hospice, something Earlene’s husband, Pete, tenderly referred to as “God’s waiting room”.
Despite everything, Earlene found time to be an active member of S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, served as a CCD teacher, joined many committees at church, sang in the choir, was an active member of the Altar and Rosary Society, participated in the “Walk for Life” and her parish prayer group. Earlene was also a Eucharistic Minister and often took communion to the homebound. Attending daily mass, Earlene served as lector for as long as anyone can remember. She was a member of the Rockford Cursillo, the Ladies Home Extension and a local womens’ “Club” that met monthly for over fifty-five years. In more recent years, she also became part of the care-giving family at Conley Funeral Home. Earlene’s hands and heart were never idle. Her other interests included gardening, canning, sewing, cooking, knitting, corresponding, reading, taking pictures, craft work, religious study, and praying for those on her prayer list. She simply and truly loved people, always showing them hospitality and making them laugh.

1 comment:

derfman said...

Nice tribute, L. And you have my condolences.