Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Two funerals in two days

Jackie was married to my wife's cousin, Steve. She died on Sunday, April 26, 2009, and her service was this past Monday.

Jackie was a person who gave to others; everyone who stood up to speak of her told of her selflessness, her devotion to friends and family. Even her boss spoke of her in glowing terms. She had applied to his department at the medical insurance company they worked for, and he said when she turned in her application he felt like going into the hall and doing cartwheels. Isn't how you'd like to be remembered? As someone that someone else would do cartwheels over?

She was married to Steve for 31 years. I knew Steve in high school, I knew Jackie before Steve knew her. She and my then-girlfriend were friends. We double-dated with Jackie and her dates. I don't know when she hooked up with Steve, but both of them had been divorced, and this is the marriage that "took" for both of them.

This past January I went to dinner with members of Sally's family, including Steve and Jackie. On the way into the restaurant I told my sister-in-law, Nancy, that Jackie didn't look much different than she did when I met her at age 14, back in 1964. Nancy told Jackie that and for one of the few times in my life I was happy that someone repeated what I said about them. Jackie had kept herself very youthful.

Jackie died in a cruel way. She was diagnosed with cancer in her colon and liver and despite chemotherapy died in five weeks. It was a tragedy all around because she should have had a lot of years ahead of her. She left behind an extended family and a lot of friends, many of whom made it to the graveside service.

Stan was the dad of my wife's friend, Kris. He died of what is generally known as "incident to old age." Stan had lived to be 96. He'd been active his whole life. He worked for the railroad until retiring in 1977 at age 65, then worked for another 15 years on his farm. He lived a long time and worked hard.

Stan's widow is Josephine. They had a long life together, married just short of 73 years. His daughter, Kris, had a very close relationship with her dad.

After Jackie's Monday service we went to a viewing for Stan at the same funeral home. Sally attended his funeral on Tuesday. She said the funeral was beautiful and that Stan was much loved. His widow chose a final resting spot for him under the beautiful mountains.

Jackie, Stan...we'll miss you both.


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