IN RECENT YEARS, I’VE TAKEN to reading obituaries printed in my local newspaper, the Faribault Daily News, and also online. That includes checking the obit listing on KLGR radio in Redwood Falls, the county seat of my hometown county. Extended family and many other people to whom I’m connected live in southwestern Minnesota.
I am of that age when the generation just ahead of me is passing at a rapid rate. That includes my mom, who died in January, and my father-in-law a year earlier. But young people also die, usually unexpectedly. That includes my cousin Randy, who died suddenly at the age of 50 just two days after my mom. And then a cousin’s 48-year-old stepson shortly thereafter.
It’s a lot, this death. And while death is difficult, it’s part of life and we will all some day face our earthly mortality. That’s reality.
Obituaries not only publicly inform us of deaths and funeral/burial details, but they also reveal information about the deceased. Most are written in a straightforward manner of factual life basics. Birth, marriage, education, occupation, interests, family. That sort of stuff.
But once in awhile I find a stand-out obit unlike any other. That would be the obituary of Martha Ann Schewe, 74, of Danube, who died March 4. “Marcy/Tractor Mimi/Pizza Grandma/Murphy” was, according to the record of her life, welcomed into heaven with a flyswatter and a hot plate of pierogi. And, yes, I had to Google pierogi, which is a Polish staple dumpling—dough wrapped around a savory or sweet filling and cooked in boiling water. That flyswatter and pierogi hook hooked me into reading the story of Marcy’s life.
And what a life it was. Pennsylvania-born, she eventually landed on a Minnesota farm with her native-born husband. Marcy met Jim at a dance in DC and they corresponded daily for 16 months while he was stationed overseas during the Vietnam War. He even mailed an engagement ring to her. That arrived on Friday the 13th. She waited a day to open the package.
I encourage you to click here and read Marcy’s obit in its entirety. It’s worth your time to read about this woman who was determined to leave rural life behind after a childhood of following “a heavily wooded, bear infested road to the bus stop, delivering milk from her parents’ dairy farm to the neighbors along the way.”
Love and life had a way with Marcy, who would grow to embrace farm life in southwestern Minnesota.
Details reveal a woman who loved family and life. But she disliked squirrels, even grumbled about them. There’s a whole lot more packed into her obituary. Please read it. Yes, I’m repeating that because you really need to read Marcy’s story (and the comments in her guestbook).
Marcy’s obit ends with this loving, humorous conclusion: Her fierce and vibrant spirit is carried on by her soulmate, her 5 children, 9 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren, 7 siblings, a handful of hated squirrels, a menagerie of farm animals, and a whole wide world full of longtime friends, some of whom she hadn’t gotten around to meeting yet.
What a way to be remembered.
TELL ME: How would you like to be remembered?
Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
I read them as well,because each person has a story
You are so right. We each have a story, no matter how long or short, known or unknown. Thank you for appreciating the life stories of obituaries.
Sadly I don’t have access to the review of this woman’s remarkable life. No worries, I think you summed up what a truly remarkable and memorable person she was.
I think that I will go with tons of stories. Tough Army Chick who barreled down the most dangerous highway in the world even while a 50 cal was pointed at her. In later years faced the oncoming Russia forces with courage and resistance but always with kindness. Or maybe … I will just be remembered for my baked goodies.
Oh, Paula, I equate you with strength and kindness. You are a remarkable woman. One tough individual with mega compassion.
Marcy’s obituary is a treasure. We should all have such a good friend or family member who could write so well about us when we pass away. I read obituaries too but haven’t decided how I want to be remembered.
I fully agree with your comment that Marcy’s obit is a treasure written by a loved one gifted in writing.
Someday, when the time comes in about 25 or so years, (I hope) – I want the person who wrote Marcy’s obit to write mine. What a marvelous tribute to someone obviously loved and cherished by friends, family, and squirrels.
I love that you added “and squirrels.”
What a fun and interesting obituary.
That it is.
Thanks for the nice write up about my Mom’s obit. She touched many lives during her short time on Earth. May her legacy live on.
Deb, first, my sympathies to you at the loss of your dear, sweet mom. I don’t know if you wrote her obit or someone else in your family, but please know how much I appreciated it. I felt like I really knew her after reading her story. I would have liked her. Thank you for reaching out to me.
What a pistol – ha! She certainly filled some chapters in her lifetime and probably has a good 300-page turner going. Loss is tough and so sorry you are dealing with so much in a short time frame. My spouse and I know how short life can be (when his mom almost died when he was 15 and I almost lost my mom at 19). We really try to get out there and live it each and every day. The work life can get in the way at times, however; have to find that balance or remember what is IMPORTANT & PRIORITY. Happy Living It Up – Enjoy 🙂
That’s scary, to almost lose your mothers at those young ages. We never know…
I love your approach to life and for sharing that approach with us. You are such a positive force. I love that about you, Renee.
My aunt Toni will tell you that she wrote the whole thing, however, all the kids had a hand in it and grandpa went through and did some light editing. My grandma’s death was so unexpected and it’s been tough. We all appreciate the reactions to her obituary. My sister and I read this while we were on the phone with one another and we both cried. Thank you, it truly makes this nightmare a little less painful knowing that her story has such an affect on others.
Danica, first, my deepest sympathies to you and your family on the loss of your beloved grandmother. Your love for her shines in your comment. I am thankful that this blog post and the comments of my readers give you some comfort. Thank you for reaching out here. May peace be yours as you remember your grandma and the light and love she brought into your life.