On Monday, January 9, I was part of the online audience for my Aunt Jean’s funeral. (I now regret that my brother, sister, and I did not get together and fly to California to attend her service in person. It would have been a great time.) Our Aunt Jean was married to my dad’s brother, Uncle Bob. (Uncle Bob and Aunt Jean are pictured above.) With her passing, they are all gone. Aunt Carol, Uncle Bill, Aunt Jean, Uncle Bob and our mom and dad – truly the end of an era. There are no aunts or uncles left on either side of my family.
Aunt Jean was a wife, mom, grandma, and great-grandma – first and foremost. She married Uncle Bob in 1948, and they had three of our cousins, Jim, Dick (named after my dad), and Jeff. She served side by side in the ministry for 53 years with my Uncle Bob – serving Christian Churches in Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and California. The ministry was not always easy for them, and they learned the importance of perseverance in ministry. Jean was also a retired first-grade teacher. (Her first year of teaching she had 40 students in her class.) Uncle Bob and Aunt Jean visited us at Madison several times, and that was always such an honor.
Jean had a strong, gentle presence and was always a strength and support to her family. Her only grandson said that she was a “constant” in his life. She knew her share, maybe more than her share of sorrow. Uncle Bob went to be with the Lord in 2002. She was also preceded in death by her son, Jeff in 2015 as well as her daughter-in-law Gayle and granddaughter, Kimberly. I am not second-guessing God, but no one should have to bury a son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter.
So, I put the service up on the TV in our Conference Room. Watched a whole bunch of unrepeatable family history pass before my eyes. Honestly, cried a bucket of tears. Jean lived a wonderful 97 year life. My brother, Stan, my sister Julie and I all had a special affection for Jean. It felt really good to have such a rich family heritage.
I hope you take the opportunity to appreciate those that have influenced your life and Christian faith. I hope you also strive to be the kind of person that can be remembered when you are gone with such fondness.