The Donor Memorial Quilt is dedicated to commemorating the love and lives of those who gave the gift of life through organ, eye and tissue donation.
The Connected by Giving Donor Quilts are displayed at hospitals, health fairs, schools, churches and conferences to increase public and professional awareness about the importance of donation.
In loving memory of
John Reuben Ditterline Sr.
John Reuben Ditterline was born May 24, 1933 in Henderson, Kentucky. At 17, he joined the Air Force, where he spent over 26 years, received rank of Master Sergeant before retiring December 31, 1977. He was a loadmaster on the C-130’s, C-123’s and C-141 Starlifter. He served over 26 years, received many accommodations, fought in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
I met John at Lockbourne AFB, in Columbus, Ohio in 1965. We were married the following July and he was called to serve in Vietnam. After Vietnam came Warner Robins, Georgia where two of our children were born. Then on to McGuire AFB, New Jersey where two more of our children were born. We took up square dancing and took the kids along. Retired from McGuire and moved back to Ohio.
His God and family were very important to him. He was proud to have served his country. He loved country music, Dale Earnhardt, Cleveland Browns, and the Ohio State Buckeyes. John was a friend, husband, father and grandfather, and his legacy will carry on for many years with his grandsons.
John died August 4, 2003 of multiple health complications, but he still lives in others with the donations of life he freely gave.
Dale W. Uerkwitz
God took the strength of
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea.
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the
God combined these qualities,
There was nothing more to add.
His masterpiece was now complete,
He lovingly called it,
Dale W. Uerkwitz
July 19, 1926
July 11, 2002
Angela M. Lutz
Angela Marie Lutz was born in Circleville, Ohio on October 5, 1971. She enjoyed all sports and played basketball and volleyball in high school. Camping and fishing, she couldn’t get enough of. Angie was a divorced, single mom of two, Janee, 8 years and Zachary, 7 years old at the time of her death, who lived and worked for her children. After graduating, she enlisted and served four years in the Air Force, and she was a dedicated worker in any job she was involved in. At the time of Angie’s death, she was a correctional officer in an Ohio prison. Being the rock of the family, she was always ready to help if needed. Angie was the clown of the family, she entertained and made you laugh enjoying life. Our best friend, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt and niece is sadly missed beyond words, but as in life and at the time of her death, she was giving and caring which is why she was a donor. Angie called every day at 2:30 to ask if I needed something on her way home from work. On June 25, 2002, I didn’t’ get that call because a woman under the influence hit her head-on as she was coming home from work. As a mom, I didn’t say goodbye to Angie when I let her go. I chose to say, “see ya later.” Angie was 31 at the time of her death.
John Kenneth Buehl
There is much I could write about my dear husband John K. Buehl, but most appropriate at this time would seem to be a brief explanation of his last moments with us. His life was taken in one of the most senseless acts possible, and his death has left an unimaginable void in the lives of those who knew and loved him.
One of his greatest pleasures was driving our new Gold Wing 1800 motorcycle. He had owned twenty-seven motorcycles in his lifetime and was cautious and experienced driver. In June 2003, while driving our Gold Wing just a few miles from our home an oncoming car crossed the center line and struck him head-on killing him instantly. The driver of that car was drunk and is currently serving a prison sentence as the result of her actions.
John’s legacy is one of fond memories and loving friends. His warmth, the strength of his famous hugs, and the sparkle in his blue eyes could melt your heart like nothing else. He was truly one of those special people you may not meet more than once in your lifetime – but one who will always be remembered for his kindness, thoughtfulness, consideration, selflessness, and his ability to make you feel like the most important person in the world.
Your donor program has allowed John’s legacy to reach beyond the memories cherished by those who loved him. For that, I know he would be extremely pleased. I was blessed by being allowed to share his life….and he will truly live “Forever in My Heart.”
Carol L. Buehl
Tulsa D. Collins
She was born on July 7, 1947, in Makanti, Burma, of Nepalese parents from Theratun. She began her search for God when she was six years old. She was standing beside the right wheel of a bull cart, staring at the sunset. She asked her father, “Who lives up there?” He told her, “The God of the Universe.” From that day, she began to pray to one God.
She developed a ritual. Every morning she would go to the village well, gather water for her flower vase, place the vase on the alter she made and pray. Years later at 15, while still in Burma, she saw a cross at St. Mary’s High School. She didn’t know that the cross represented Jesus. It wasn’t until 1967 when she came to America, this Christian nation that she discovered what the cross meant.
Her testimony was, “When you are alive on this earth, you can’t live without the Lord Jesus Christ. Read your Bible and pray every day and don’t be greedy with money. You need food for your soul. Whatever you do, glorify His name.
One of her great joys in the life was her trip to the Holy Land, where she was baptized in the Jordan River and saw where Moses parted the Red Sea. She witnessed to every one she met.
Tulsa worked day and night to bring her family members to the United States. She was proud of her adopted country and her USA citizenship. She wanted her family to be with her. She achieved her dream, and now living in the United States of America, are her mother, four sisters, two brothers and many nieces and nephews. They are a garden she tended her entire life, and each one has blossomed into a good person.
She was a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister and aunt. She was a devout member of the Monroe First Church of God. She is loved by her family, many friends and her church family. Thank you, Jesus!
My son Casey died May 2, 2003, 25 days before his 17th birthday. He is greatly missed. We made a cake for him this year, put 18 candles on it, and blew them out for him. One of Casey’s favorite things was, he loved to fish. He was my fishing buddy, whenever, wherever. We had a pay lake we’d go to and often stay till 2 or 3 in the morning. Sometimes when it was time to go, he’d say, “Can you come back tomorrow and get me?” Other times I’d watch him from the kitchen window, digging in the side yards for worms, to fish across the street, in the river. Then I’d have to get after him to fill in the holes, because it looked like we had gophers. I still look out my kitchen window and see him. When Casey would see me upset or stressed, he’d say, “I love you Mom”, and a second time, till I’d say, “I love you, too”. Just to make me feel better. I still, in my head, say, “I love you Casey”, and he says, “I love you Mom”. I really miss that. Also, he enjoyed playing games with his brothers and sisters. One of his favorites was chess, which he gave his older brother a run for his money. Even though his body is no longer here, I feel spiritually connected to him. I had a dream I went to heaven and Casey was sitting there, and he was smiling. I tried to pull him back with me and he just smiled, as if to say, “I’m so happy Mom.” I know he is. He’s waiting for us and that’s somewhat of a comfort. See you later, Casey.
I love you 4ever, Mom
Taylor Lee Pope
My third born child who brought a smile and joy to all of those he met. You were a true friend and friendship was very important to you. You were a dare devil who experienced so much in your life. You captured every opportunity for excitement in life as possible., You were able to parasail, mountain climb, rock slide, white water raft, hike the national parks, bungee jump, ride the ocean waves, and much more. Outdoor life was your passion. Taylor, the gourmet cook to professional camper, you brought joy and laughter to us all.
You would be 19 now and we wonder what life would be like for you. The one missed opportunity was the trip to Europe. You had always said when you graduated you wanted to hike across Europe with “Pendy”. I wish you had gotten that opportunity. Life was too short.
Your dad, brothers and I all miss you! We wish we could have spent more time with your smiling face. We will never forget the “peacemaker” of the family. The one who always wanted us to love one another and to SMILE!
You can shed tears because he is gone,
Or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can close your eyes and see all that he has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him,
Or you can be full of the love that you have shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he is gone,
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
A poem by David Harkins (1981)
William Charles Rice
Bill loved life, his family and giving back to the community. He was extremely proud of his sons and their accomplishments. He was active in Boy Scouts of America serving in multiple roles as his children, David and Matthew, went through the different ranks. Very proud moments for him were when each of his sons achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, when David graduated from college and Matthew from high school and when David and Danielle got married.
He was also involved in Tipp City Junior Baseball serving on the Board of Directors, coaching and umpiring for many years. He had a passion for ice hockey and was an avid fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, model railroading, and auto racing. He loved to read and was never without an action novel or book. He was a wonderful husband, father, son, and brother. He was a man full of integrity, respect for others, kindness and thoughtfulness. For these reasons, he was a perfect tissue donor, and his family holds firm to the honor and belief that he continues to live through his gift of life to others.
Bill was a person who enjoyed the quiet, serene moments of life. He loved to watch a gentle waterfall, a quiet walk through the woods, a beautiful sunset on the ocean, time with family and quiet conversation with loved ones.
A heart attack robbed him of his life at the young age of 56. He is so missed by his family and all those who knew him. His sense of humor, his unconditional love and support, and his quiet unassuming mannerisms made him a joy to be around and so very easy to love. His spirit gives us the courage to go on. We are honored to be his family.
Becky, David, Danielle, Matthew, William, Stephen, Caroline, Beverly, Nancy, Curtis, Ellen and Gilbert, and loved ones who preceded/succeeded him in death Ethel, Betty, and Katie.
James A. Curry, Jr.
When I think of Jim, I see a devoted husband, father, and grandfather that had faith in God. I see a gentle man who was very much a gentleman. Jim was an honest businessman with a great deal of integrity. He spent a lot of his time as a community leader. In his early years, he was a dedicated policeman. Jim was a person that people wanted to know and they cherished his friendship. He was a deep thinker with great wisdom. Jim always said, “When you leave this world, if you can count on one hand, five true friends, then you’ve left this world a multi-millionaire.” Jim was generous with his time, talents, and money, and in the end, his body.
Sadly missed and lovingly remembered,
Children, Joel, Cherie, Missi, and Rae Jean
Grandchildren, Kaitlin, Brooks, Dylan, Madison, Jacob, and Rachel
Don was a very good person. He was an excellent husband, and therefore made a fantastic father to our four children. Don’s life was his family. He always wanted to know what, where, and when was going on where his children were concerned. He was asking about them in the hospital. We as a family are delighted to know that Don’s donations are helping so many people. Don was a very low keyed guy, so telling the world about him and his giving would have probably embarrassed him somewhat, but we are proud of him. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to tell the world I loved him and I miss him dearly.
Judi, Don, Jennifer and Donald Macleod,
Jeff and Joyce Jacobson,
Jennifer and Daniel Schaefer,
Cpt. Jim Jacobson and Christina Jacobson
Luke Anthony Robenalt
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your gift of Luke. Thank you for allowing us to have him for 20 years, and that in that short time he touched so many lives. Thank you that while he was with us, he showed us how to enjoy the things of this world as we watched him play his way through life. Thank you for sacrificing your only Son so that today, we have the comfort of knowing that our only son is home, safe within Your arms, because he loved you.
Thank you for our wonderful church family, and for our many friends who have been so willing to share in our sorrow, help us bear such profound sadness, and continues to lift us up in so many ways.
Thank you for putting the Huddleson family and the Evans family close to us to that we have each other for support and so that we, as a team, are able to help educate our community about meningitis.
Thank you for our families…especially for our precious Lindi.
Thank you for giving us the comfort that only You can give to a parent whose heart aches so deeply in such a time when we were sure that there would never be peace in our hearts again.
Thank you for scripture, that gives us hope…
“For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the Lord,’ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. You will call upon me and come to pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13.
Thank you for each and every precious memory of Luke that we will hold in our hearts forever.
Joseph Kane Baneck
Joseph Kane Baneck was born on Veterans Day, November 11, 1975 in South Dakota. He was a very handsome man, standing 6’3” with broad shoulders, strong, capable hands, beautiful eyes and a soft smile.
My first date with him was on Thanksgiving Day of 1996. I knew almost immediately he was the one I wanted to spend my life with. It was so easy to be with him and he soon taught me how to love and feel loved, completely.
Some of my favorite memories of our marriage were the simplest. His ability to always make me laugh, the way he said my name, his teasing, playing scrabble and watching him sleep.
On Valentines Day 2001, we found out we were pregnant with our daughter Katie. The picture I have of Joe crying, holding her right after she was born, will always bring tears to my eyes. She looks so much like her Daddy. I have every confidence she will grow up to be as beautiful as he was handsome.
We unexpectedly lost Joe April 14, 2004. His death has left a huge hole in my heart, but I feel blessed to have had him in my life.
Holidays will never be the same, though.
James C. Curry, Jr.
When I think of Jim, I see a devoted husband, father, and grandfather that had faith in God. I see a gentle man who was very much a gentleman. Jim was an honest businessman with a great deal of integrity. He spent a lot of his time as a community leader. In his early years, he was a dedicated policeman. Jim was a person that people wanted to know and they cherished his friendship. He was a deep thinker with great wisdom. Jim always said, “When you leave this world, if you can count on one hand, five true friends, then you’ve left this world a multi-millionaire.” Jim was generous with his time, talents, and money, and in the end, his body.
Sadly missed and lovingly remembered,
Children, Joel, Cherie, Missi, and Rae Jean
Grandchildren, Kaitlin, Brooks, Dylan, Madison, Jacob, and Rachel
Jane C. Nicholson
My mother, Jane Nicholson, was born March 2, 1936, and died unexpectedly on March 23, 2005. She often told my sister and me that her primary goal in life was to raise her daughters to be self-sufficient and make a positive impact in this world. I became a nurse and my sister, a court reporter. She never failed in telling us how proud she was and how much she loved us.
Mom considered the elephant to be her life symbol. She did possess many of the wonderful traits that the elephant represents including strength, wisdom, solitude, strong sense of loyalty to the family, and intelligence. This is why I chose the elephant design for Mom’s quilt square.
Mom became a licensed massage therapist late in life but she had magical hands long before that. Her hands could heal most aches and pains and she enjoyed providing relief to anyone that needed a gentle touch. Her hands were strong, her voice was soft, and she had a heart of gold.
Mom was a blood donor and a proponent to organ donation. We had regular discussions about our life/death wishes, which made decision-making much easier during our time of grief. When Mom died, her belongings went to Goodwill, The Food Pantry and Community Tissue Services, just as she had requested. And she went Home.
The night before my mother died, she gave me one of her usual farewell hugs. I stooped down and remember her warm, cuddly embrace, and that fresh smell of Dove soap she always had. “I love you so much and I am proud of you and your sister,” she said one last time.
We love you, Mom, and miss you! See you soon…
Sherri Marie Nierman
Our daughter, Sherrie Marie Nierman was born July 17, 1975, in Ft. Collins, CO and was killed by a drunk driver in an auto accident on January 29, 2005, just outside Dayton, OH. Sherri packed a lot of life into her 29 years. She collected Elmos, gargoyles, swords and friends. Sherri loved to dance, sing, go to the beach, play board games (pigs) and did needlework/cross stitch. Sherri was one of the best in her professional career as a Theatre Stage Manager. She would walk into a room and make everyone there uplifted with her smile and her genuine love of people without prejudice! Sherri carried God in her heart and never doubted His leading in her life.
Sherri has left us with a hole in our family unit – she was unique! Just ask her brothers, Bruce and Brian, her sister-in-laws, Leanne and Jennifer, and her fiancé, Jeff Chapin. She was engaged to be married in July, 2005.
It is only fitting to donate some of Sherri’s tissue which will help someone else live a better life. She was always giving – giving of her faith, her love, her friendship.
We will miss you forever, Sherri. May God hold you forever!!!
Ross & Emmalou Nierman, Parents
The greatest of these is Love – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Christopher Kent Saavedra
Sometimes in life God will send down one of his special angels for a short while to live among us. These special Angels teach us to love, laugh, not be selfish, and to love this special life that God has given us. Christopher was one of these angels.
Chris was a natural clown, always trying to make us smile and laugh. He brought joy and love to so many people in his life. From his very first word, we knew he was a unique child. He tottled across the floor right up to his dad and instead of saying “Dada” or “mama”, he looked right at him and blurted out “bug”. From that day forward that was our special name for him.
Chris would always try to champion the underdog even though many days he came home all beaten up from defending a girl he hardly knew, or even walking out of class to report to the principal that one of his teachers was insulting, making inappropriate comments, and degrading a student in front of the entire class.
Chris loved children. In Florida, he worked over one summer with the Salvation Army as a counselor in training doing volunteer work for their day care facility.
Growing up, he hung out with his sister and two cousins, Kelly, Heather and Jamie. They were the four musketeers. Where you found one, the others were close at hand. He loved them all even though they tried to dress him up as a girl one time and feed him mud pies.
Chris was always trying to invent things, come up with great ideas, and lead all his friends into new adventures. One day I received a call from my mom that Chris and his friends had tried to pull their own teeth with a pair of needle-nosed pliers from my dad’s work bench. Chris had decided to cash in on a good thing and make lots of money off the good fairy. Needless to say, Chris picked out the wrong tooth, his molars, and ended up with two crowns that day.
One of Chris’ last requests was to be an organ and tissue donor. He was able to give his last gift of donation. They were able to recover his cornea so that someone without sight would be able to see and his tissue and skin to help burn victims.
Chris’ passion was skateboarding. The last several weeks of his life were some of the happiest for him. Beavercreek has built a new skate park and every moment that he wasn’t at work, he spent there. He would come in daily with a new cut or bruise and we would bandage him up and off he would go again.
God has called Chris back to heaven to be someone’s guardian angel. He is up there right now building a new skate park for all the children to play among the clouds. So when you see a rainbow, just think of Chris board sliding down on his golden skate board.
I want to thank all of you for your love and support. Chris loved you all and wouldn’t want you to be sad but to live life to the fullest.
Chris I love you with all my heart and thank God for allowing me to have one of his special angels for a short time.
Lynn Davis (AKA Mom)
To my brother Chris,
As Children we played in boxes, bushes and trees
And then as we began to grow up, we did as we pleased
To your Love, skateboarding, you were hopelessly devoted
And if you could have pulled Hawks 900, I know you would have
From day one your free spirit soared high
Even in Kindergarten when you kissed a girl
And in turn received a black eye
You bravely spoke out for others desperate and in need
And now by accident your radiant soul has been freed
Never again will you be sick, tortured, tired, lonely or sad
And for this I know we should be grateful and glad
Deep down we realize that you are part of some master plan
Even though at this time it is hard for us to understand
In our hearts we will forever hold you close
Especially during lonely nights, weekends and Holidays
when we will miss you most
You have made us laugh
And you have made us weep
Now we shall wipe our tears
As you are laid to sleep
I will miss you and Love you always,
Your heartbroken sister Kelly
Elmer Stanley (Standing Bear) Howard
A Storyteller’s Tale
Born Elmer Stanley Howard November 17th 1932 in Newark Valley, New York…to Bertha Mae Snell Howard & Erwin Howard.
From family stories and many hours spent with my Dad…I learned that my dad loved life and laughter, and always lived life to the fullest. He always had a word of wisdom or wit to share with anyone, but his greatest love was sharing his stories with anyone who would listen.
He joined the Army in 1950 and went to serve in Korea. While serving in the Korean War, he received a purple heart & bronze star for valor & bravery. It was told that he repaired machine guns while his company was under enemy fire after he was wounded with shrapnel in the back. He returned to Newark Valley NY a hero in 1953. During his Army years he married my mother.
The following years of his life he was involved in many adventures. For 23 years he was a member of the local emergency squad & fire department…He worked for Endicott Johnson Shoes; then for the village of Newark Valley N.Y. as a maintenance man/”jack of all trades”, for about 9 years, restoring the community park that became to be known as the Trout Ponds and tending it until 1966 when he took a job with Smith Corona Typewriters in Corland, NY. By this time he had 4 children.
He was active in his home church as a Sunday school teacher. He also organized & ran the “All Saints Car Club” for the teenage boys of Newark Valley N.Y. He was involved in collecting toys at Christmas time and repairing them and distributing them to the poor. He was involved in Boy Scouts for years as a Scout Master, and also Civil Air Patrol.
He moved to Louisville, KY in 1975. There he remarried and had one daughter Heather Lyn who was born in 1976.
He moved to Florida around 1985 becoming involved with the Ocala Indian Reservation. Thus becoming known as Standing Bear Howard, or Chief Standing Bear.
Dad loved woodworking and made many handcrafted items including many that are on display in the Carrollton, KY Tourism Center.
He also loved Native American History and was proud of his Native American Heritage. He was involved in a drumming group he started, called the Thunder Eagle Drummers. He loved to play the Native American flute and spend many enjoyable hours drumming and playing flute. He had a large collection of drums and Native American artifacts that were donated to the future Native American Culture Center that is in the works at General Butler State Park.
By Terry Root
Donald L. Cloutier
Don Cloutier was born September 7, 1932. We were married in May, 1954 and had three sons and one daughter. Don became a CPA in 1961 and spent most of his career in Public School Administration, from which he retired in 1994. He loved the outdoors, and his favorite activities were those that took him outside. He was an avid golfer, a sport he took up after his retirement. He loved gardening, and was an enthusiastic backyard birder and a volunteer at a nature center. Memories of waking up, as a child, to a wren’s song, made that a favorite bird. He worked very hard to develop wildflower paths in his woods, and had a particular fondness for the pink lady slipper. Don had many interests. In addition to the above, he also enjoyed fishing, hunting, coin collecting, genealogy, and reading, usually having several books in progress at any given time. Don loved his family, and was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. His love of the outdoors was passed on to each of his children and his nine grandchildren. Don died suddenly in August, 2004, shortly after celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, while preparing for a family reunion in Bloomington, Indiana, where we had relocated in May of that year.
W. Shelby Partin
In Honor of: William “Shelby” Partin
Our father was an amazing man. His memory lives on in all who knew him. He touched everyone’s heart in ways that I can’t describe. Even though our hearts are sad, because we miss our dad, the thought of him puts a smile on our faces. He taught us many lessons in life. He molded us to be who we are today. Our father was a simple man. It didn’t take much to please him. He was very laid back in nature. He was quiet…until he would hear the sound of “racing motors” revving up! He loved to go to the drag strip. He even built his very one mini-bike, with a large go-cart motor in it! He was very intelligent when it came to working with his hands. He taught his grandson’s all that he knew about motors. He loved his grandchildren with all of his heart. He spent endless hours with his 2 grandson’s, Meciah & Devon, talking about fast cars, watching car shows, going to the drag strip, all the fun stuff that boys like to do. He had a very special love for his granddaughter Alison. Although he was unable to spend much time with Alison, due to distance, he talked about her and thought of her every day. He was like a child in a candy store when he received pictures of her, or talked to her on the telephone. He has a “new” grandchild on the way! How exciting for our dad. From Heaven, he never has to “miss” any of us again. He will present in the delivery room when his new grandchild is born. He will never miss a ball game or a birthday party. His gentle spirit will always be with us. The most memorable memory that we have of our dad is when he would bow his head to pray. He always thanked God for each and every blessing that he was given every day. Our dad was a legacy in his own special way. His legacy will carry on through the ones he knew and loved. He was truly a proud man, and a man of Honor. We love and miss you dad!
Michelle Partin-Johnson (your daughter)
Todd Partin (your son)
Jerry Lee Watson
If you knew Jerry, you were loved by him. He was the most loving, kind, gentle and caring man I have ever known. He forgave everyone anything they may have done to him. To have been loved by Jerry, was the most wonderful experience in the world, and to have had the privilege and honor to become his wife and share his life was fantastic and a blessing from GOD.
He had many interests. His family, his grandchildren and great grandchildren, his train club, his many friends and last but not least, his love of his computer.
Jerry was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on Friday, the 13th, 1934. I attended Tech High School there with Jerry, but didn’t know him then. (He later told me that he had a crush on me for 2-½ years in school.)
He played football and was all city, all valley and all conference. He left High School in the last semester of his junior year and joined the USN due to his mother’s death. He served aboard the USS Currituck, a sea plane tender and traveled around the world. His first wife, passed away in 1999, and I was fortunate enough to meet him not too long after that. We were married on November 4th, 2000, and we enjoyed a wonderful life together, although a short one. Jerry was a smoker and the week between Christmas of 2004 and New Years Eve, he was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, Emphysema and COPD. The diseases advanced at a rapid pace and he was admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital several times but for the last time on July 12th, 2005. He spent 3 days in Intensive Care, and was moved to the 4th floor on July 15th. I was fortunate enough to have been able to spend all day on the 15th and all that night. At 10:30 on Saturday the 16th, while I was with him and we had our arms around each other, he slipped into a coma, and hung on until 6:05 a.m. Sunday morning July 17th. I will miss this wonderful man for the rest of my life, as will all of our kids and friends. (The last thing he did on this earth that pleased him very much was to have been able, although in a wheelchair, to give our daughter Robin away in marriage on July 3, 2005.)
Jerry had a very close relationship with Christ, so there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that knew him that he went home to his savior. Later, on the day he passed, my son Don and his wife took us all to dinner around six, and it had just started to rain a little bit. We were traveling east on 10th Street, and suddenly there appeared the most beautiful double rainbow arched right across 10th Street in the direction we were headed. I believe with all my heart that GOD and Jerry sent that rainbow to let me know that they were together in heaven and not to worry, he was home at last and safe and was not suffering anymore.
Jerry had always told me that we were truly brought together by GOD so we would be able to spend his last few years together and to get ready to spend eternity together, as we both felt we were true soul mates. I know when my time comes, we will be buried side by side and this wonderful man and I will never be separated again. I miss him terribly, and think about him all the time. He took my heart with him when he passed.
My plea to all who read this is, if you smoke, please stop before it’s too late.
Mrs. Jerry (Patti) Watson
Alberta "Bert" Ebert
Bert was a wonderful lady. She was always very dear and sincere to her family, friends, and neighbors. She loved, helped, and cared for everyone.
Bert could always make you smile because she was always wearing one. She always knew what to do and say to make a person feel better.
One of the things she always did was spend time with her three grandchildren. If it wasn’t going to the movies, it was shopping. Boy, were they spoiled!
Alberta loved to always keep busy. Her favorite things to do were sew and cook. She was the best at both. She made the best food and quilts. She made quilts for everybody, and when you were at her house you ate good.
Gardening was also Bert’s other favorite hobby. She was born with a green thumb. Because she lived in town, she kept a garden out in the country. It probably would have been more convenient in town, but she liked it out in the country. Bert was always out in the hot weather either planting, weeding, watering, or picking.
After her liver problems, she was no longer able to do any of these things due to not feeling well.
The one thing Alberta loved the most (even better than sewing, cooking, or gardening) was her family. Bert always had time for her family. Whether she was busy or involved in another task, she would always stop and listen or talk. She was a good listener.
Alberta is dearly missed by her husband, children, and grandchildren. No one could ever take her place in their hearts. She will always be in their thoughts and prayers forever and ever.
Martha Ellen (Ramey) Hedger was born March 3, 1937. She married Millard Hedger on July 15, 1956. Over a period of eight years, they had five children (two boys, three girls): Danny, Dennis, Sherry, Anita, and Theresa.
Martha was everywhere Millard went, with the exception of work. Together, they loved gardening, fishing, crafts and watching wildlife on their 24 acres. Throughout her life, Martha struggled with heart related problems but remained by Millard’s side. She survived four pacemaker implants, beating the odds with each surgery. She lived her life for her family and struggled through each surgery because her family wanted her to live. Martha’s last pacemaker implant led to open heart surgery. Again, she survived the odds to be with her family.
Martha remained strong until her husband lost his battle due to colon surgery complications on June 24, 2002. Millard was not able to be an organ/tissue donor but given the chance, he would have been there to help someone in need.
Martha depended on Millard a great deal. After two years of trying to survive on her own and to be independent while not becoming a burden on her children, she no longer had the will to live. With many questions unanswered, she left her children, brothers, and sisters on October 15, 2004, to join her husband once again.
Both, Millard and Martha, were always helping someone in need. Whether lending a hand, listening to someone’s feelings, troubles, or heartaches, they were always able to provide help or advice. Martha was given the opportunity to help others in need through her tissue donation.
We miss them every day, as our family is still very close. We were often celebrating together. As we gather now, without our parents, we cherish the very short time that we had with both of them.
Sean Michael O'Rourke
When Sean was a small boy, about 3 years old, he had an imaginary friend he called T.T. Before long, T.T.’s friend, Joe, joined in their play.
Through the years Sean made many friends, some who shared our home for periods of time.
He loved music, fishing, and spending time with friends and family. He spoiled his dog, Dave, and called him his little brother.
He was my only child and is missed more than words can say.
Sean always said he wanted to be a donor. He stated his request and signed his name to it in front of our bible. It made it easier to grant his wishes.
Woody McCallister married Rosemary Niedenthal on October 16, 1954. He is the father of three boys. He has eleven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Woody retired from the Kroger bakery maintenance department, where he worked for 33 years. He also was a retired farmer.
Woody loved to fish, work in his garden, and spend time with his family. He is sadly missed by Rosie, Mike, Anne & family, Mark, Cathy & family, Dave, Jan & family.
Howard J. Friedman
Just a few words about my husband. He was a very good man. We would have been married 55 years on May 15th, 2006. We had a party planned and had to cancel everything. He was a really hard worker and would never ask anybody for help if he was able to do it himself. He was 83 years old. He served four years in the Navy. We had three children together, two boys, Russell and Glenn, and one daughter, Carla. They loved their father very much. We were always together and did everything together. I miss him so much. I shed a lot of tears. It is going to take a long time to come to grips with it, but a lot of prayers help from my family and in time it will get easier at a least I hope so.
In memory of Howard J. Friedman
Happy Anniversary May 15th
God has you in his keeping.
We have you in our hearts and keeping.
Yet we feel your presence is with us.
We love and sadly miss
Lucille, Russell, Glenn, Carla, Grandchildren and Great Granddaughters
L. Anne (Cornett) Keefer
Our mom was a wonderful, generous, and loving person. She died on December 31, 2006 just a few weeks shy of her 72nd birthday. This quilt square helps describe her life. The flannel square in the middle is from a pair of her favorite pajamas. They were given to her by her granddaughter, Darcie Dale. They are her ”Bingo” pajamas. Every Thursday evening for many years, she ran the Bingo Night for St. Peter Catholic Church. She managed to turn it into a family affair because she persuaded my daughter, Darcie, me, and at times, my husband to help her sell tickets. Every “Bingo” Thursday, she made dinner for all of the workers and took it up to the church. She knew many of the workers came straight from their day jobs so she wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to get something to eat. She was the best cook and I always looked forward to the meals she had waiting for us every Thursday. The words around the flannel square represent all the things our mom was to so many people. She was a mom, a grandmother, a MyMa (this is what the youngest two grandchildren called her), a giver, a friend, a wife, a sister, and at the end of her life, a donor. The buttons are made from shells and represent our mom’s love of the beach and the many vacations we took together, taking walks and looking for shells. We were planning a beach trip for this summer when she died.
Our mom’s sudden death was devastating to all of us. When they asked us if we would consider donating any of her organs, at first we didn’t know what to say. Two hours earlier, we were talking on the phone so it didn’t seem possible that she was gone. But our mom was a giver and she would do anything to help anybody. It seemed only right that we should honor her in death by donating any of her usable organs to someone that needed them. Several days later when I looked on her driver’s license, I saw that she wanted to be a donor. Because of her, I am now a donor on my driver’s license too. Our mom will always live in our hearts and we think about her and miss her every day. We hope she is proud of the decisions we are making and how we are choosing to live our lives and honor her memory. We want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to memorialize our mother through this quilt square. She will always be loved and always be in our hearts.
Donnie Loper (Donald)
Daughter of Donnie Loper
I remember a lot of special times that I had with my dad. One time is when we would go to the creek. When we went to the creek, he would stand on the side of the creek and Tori, my sister, and I would be in the creek catching tadpoles and crawdads. Another time is when we would go to the farm and dad, Tori, and I would ride the horses and also he would let us go on the hay and catch the cats. The last one is when we were little every Sunday we would go to Chuckie Cheese. We would always have fun.
Also, whenever we wanted to show him something, he would stop what he was doing to watch us.
My dad was very special…
I miss his smile.
Daughter of Donnie Loper
I remember many things about my dad, but the list would be so long, I just should tell you a couple of things. One is that he taught me to fish. So we went fishing together all the time. The second one is that he listened to every thing I had to say. The third thing is that he was a kind hearted person that loved every living thing. I loved it when we went to the farm and rode horses. We always went to the creek and caught crawdads. I could tell you more, but those are some of the most special things about him and what we did together.
I miss him very, very much and the special times we had together.
Brett was my best friend, my companion, my love, sometimes; my nemesis. We did everything together for the past almost 16 years, being married just shy of 15. When we were not working we were together. Our belief is that you do for others as you would like others to do for you. Yea, I know that “everyone believes this” the difference, we lived the belief.
Brent spent most of his adult life being a paver installer. Not just any installer, he took pride in what he did. Some of his work can be seen at the Children’s Garden in Lima, Ohio. He loved adding beauty to our Mother Earth.
He hated when others were treated different because they did not conform to the ways of others. The Gods made us all different for a reason. He never gave in to peer pressure. We never drank and drove, if we went out and one of us had anything to drink, the other drove. Unfortunately, his life was taken by a man who stated that he only had three beers. The man ran a stop sign at a state route, running over our son’s car while Brett and Michael were on their way home from work. Brett, being a passenger that night, took the brunt of the crash and was taken. Michael was cut out of the car, spent 15 days in the trauma center with a laundry list of internal injuries (every organ being lacerated or bruised, including his brain), 10 of those days he would not wake.
Our belief is that we do all we can to help our fellow man, this being said, when the call came to me the night of the accident (in Michael’s hospital room) there was no thought of “should I donate or not” of course I would. We are here to protect and help our fellow persons, animal friends, Mother Earth and Sky. It warms my heart every time I get a list of how many people Brett helped. For me, it means that parts of him are still out there, living and giving.
Part of me died with Brett that night. It is good to know that others are healing due to his kindness
Charlotte Miller – Coldwater, Ohio
Juanita Marie Wills
“Our Circle of Life”
Juanita Marie Wills was a Loving Mother, Grandmother, Sisters, and Friend. Juanita was born on April 25, 1930 in Richmond, Indiana. She came from a family of 10 brothers and sisters. Grandma was placed in the Darke County Children’s Home, where she met Kenneth Foster Wills, our beloved Father and Grandfather. They were married on June 12, 1950. Grandpa lost his life to the battle of cancer on June 16, 1985. They had 2 Daughters, 2 Granddaughters, 2 Grandsons, 4 Great-Grandsons, and 1 Great-Granddaughter.
Grandma was a school bus driver for 29 years. She drove for Greenville City Schools and for Anthony Wayne Schools. Her favorite color was purple. She loved Butterflies. Her hobbies included playing Bingo, Baking/Cooking, Gardening, and spending as much time as she could with her family, especially her Great-Grandchildren. They range from the ages of 3-6 years old. It was amazing to see her with them. Their little faces would light up as soon as they would see her from across the room, as well as her own. Family was her life, and she was proud of hers. Grandma was always there when you needed her. She was the most loving, caring, kind-hearted woman that we have ever known. It was an honor to call her our Mother, our Grandmother. She taught us to follow our Dreams and our Hearts.
At the young age of 74 years old, her life was taken suddenly due to a tragic motor vehicle accident on February 25, 2005. It has been a long year and a half now, but seems like it was yesterday that we lost you. She is sadly missed every moment of every day, but forever in our thoughts and in our hearts.
In Loving Memory of Our Mother, and Grandmother,
Juanita Marie Wills
She was “Our Circle of Life”
Our son Jimmy was born Feb. 15, 1977; his life here ended May 21, 2005. He was a son, brother, father, grandson, uncle and a friend. He was an avid fan of the Bengals, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jr. He also loved riding his Harley. He had a great way of acting silly, one of the many things we miss about him. You could ask anyone who knew him what they remember most about him and they would say, “the way he made me laugh.” He was a loving father of twins; a daughter, Madison, and a son, Jimmy. They look and act so much like their dad. They had their first birthday one week after his passing.
I know in my heart that he is in a better place and he will be there waiting for me when I see him again. I think of him and miss him every second.
“Forever in our hearts”
Mom, Dad, Diana, Chris, Michael, Matthew, Madison, Jimmy, Grammas, Bud, Family
Our Scott was born under special circumstances. He was always told he was here for a special reason. He was a typical little boy – loved trucks, fishing, trains, etc. As a young boy he loved football. He was always a Bengals fan. His big dream was to play for his school team. He wrote once, “Playing football at Minster was a great experience; playing for your town. The greatest feeling I ever got was when some 3rd graders were playing football and they were saying what player they were and I overheard one say he was me.” Scott was also a huge Ohio State fan. He loved Buckeye Saturday and Who-Dey Sunday. As a teen, Scott was proud to be a “Wildcat”. As a young man, Scott’s proudest accomplishment was being in the Army National Guard. He was more than prepared to protect his country. He called it, “Doing it for the team.”
Always giving to others. Always for the team. Always for his family. If you wanted to have fun, you wanted to be with Scott. If you needed a friend, you needed Scott. The special reason Scott was put on this earth? Besides being a son, brother, grandson, nephew, uncle, Godfather, friend…Why are we here today but to celebrate the gift of life. Thank you Scottie for touching so many lives even in death. As his epitaph states, “I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.”
Scott Wyen Family
Whatever else it was, life with Susan was NEVER boring.
First, because she had a terrific sense of humor, probably one of the most essential ingredients to a successful marriage – and a successful life. She could see the humor in just about any situation, no matter how dire, and she showed me, the quintessential worry-wart how to chill out when things got rough.
Her humor was never mean. As often as not, she was the butt of her own jokes. And her laugh was infectious. When they were teenagers, and even later when they were grown men and women with careers and families of their own, our son’s friends would take turns trying to crack her up just to hear her laugh.
Sue was very bright. Not just bubbly bright, although she could be that too, but intellectually bright. She took great pride in ferreting out obscure bits and pieces of information as a reference librarian. And she loved puzzles. Oh, how she loved puzzles. That’s how we met. I first saw her in the faculty room at the high school where we both taught. She was working on a NY Times Sunday crossword. I asked if I could sit in, and we worked on Times puzzles together for the next four decades. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish another one. Not just because I miss her so much, but because she always knew most of the answers.
Sue was a people person. As the old saying goes, she never met a stranger. Not in all the years she taught, not in the days we were moving around the country, and not in all the years she spent helping library patrons. Even though some people occasionally got under her skin (me included), she could always find something to value in just about everyone.
Sue was a terrific mother. The proof of that are the two fine men she raised. As they were growing up, she seemed to have an innate sense of when to draw the line and when not to sweat the small stuff. I think they appreciated that and so did their friends. She became a surrogate mother to a whole gaggle of adolescents who always seemed to be hanging out in our family room. And she was still doing it for neighborhood kids until her last days.
Most important, from my perspective, she was a wonderful wife. She was strong, supportive, and always there when I needed her. And I needed her every hour of every day. Although she had a fiercely independent spirit, she could always make me feel that I was the captain of our little ship, even though we both knew getting through each day was a team effort.
All I know is, I miss her terribly, and I expect I will continue to miss her until I’m with her once again.
H. John McCoy
Zachary David Cox was born April 13, 1972, at Miami Valley Hospital during a record hail storm to Jeff & Deborah Cox. He attended Valley View Elementary, graduated from Valley View High School, graduated from the Sinclair Police Academy and worked as a patrolman for the Germantown Police Department. He loved police work and all the people he worked with.
Zachary could be funny, loving, caring and was loved by his family notwithstanding his frailties. He wrote the following poem to his family on 3/5/00. We print it here in the hope it might mirror the thoughts of others that are having problems.
TO MY FAMILY by Zachary Cox 3/5/00
Lend me your hope for awhile,
I seem to have misplaced mine.
Lost, empty & lonely feelings accompany me daily,
Pain, hurt & confusion are my only friends.
I do not know where to turn,
Looking ahead to my future does not bring
Forth images of hope or triumph.
I see troubled times & more pain filled days
and tragedy ahead.
Lend me your hope for awhile,
I seem to have misplaced mine.
Hold my hand & hug me, & tell me you love me.
Listen to my problems & voices & tell me
everything will be alright.
The road to happiness & recovery seems a
long & lonely one, my personal demons ever present.
Lend me your hope for awhile,
I seem to have misplaced mine.
Acknowledge my pain & regrets are real &
ever with me. I am so very sorry.
Stand by me & love me & never let me go,
I can only cry & feel like dying.
Lend me your hope for awhile,
I seem to have misplaced mine.
Someday I will heal & will share my
life with others.
Lend me your hope for awhile,
I will always love you, and
I will never let you go.
And if something should happen to me,
Don’t be sad because I will be with
my father & Virgil & others and I
will always be watching over you forever.
Lend me your hope for awhile,
Because I have nothing but hope left.
May Zachary rest in peace until we see him again.
Diana Van De Grift
Diana Van De Grift was born in Piqua, Ohio on Sept. 13, 1946. She is the daughter of the late Herschel and Dorothy Brown. She was raised in Covington, Ohio. After Graduation from Covington High School in 1964, she became a candy striper at Dettmer Hospital in Troy, Ohio. While she was volunteering at the hospital, she decided that nursing was her desire. She attended Dayton School of Practical Nursing were she Graduated as an L.P.N. She then returned to Dettmer as a full time Nurse. After several years in the maternity ward, she decided that she wanted to go farther and went to Edison State College to receive her degree as a R.N. She then graduated from Edison and three area hospitals merged to become Upper Valley Medical Center. She became a full time nurse at Piqua Hospital, the same place she was born. She took care of everyone from the first born to the elderly whatever their sickness was.
Diana knew from the first day she stepped foot in a hospital that nursing is what she desired. She was a very caring nurse and would go the extra mile to make sure the patient was cared for. She also cared for people outside of the hospital. She was always there when someone needed her, from family to friends, and sometimes her patients. When not in the hospital, she would run into some of her patients at stores or malls and other public places. They would stop and thank her for all that she had done. When asked who was that, she would say that was (call them by name) and you knew she had taken care of them by the conversation they had. To us they were complete strangers but to her they were like family.
While attending her funeral, a lot of people had showed up that we were not familiar with. They would introduce themselves and the last thing they said was Diana took care of me in the hospital. You can not realize the impact she had on helping people until a complete stranger tells you that their relationship with her was their stay at the hospital. That tells a lot about how well she did her job. People would tell us she would sit with them while tending to them. She would laugh with them, she would cry with them, or just listen to them tell their problems. Before they knew it, she had already given them their shot or whatever else they needed. She was more than a nurse to them, she was their friend. At a place where a person needs a friend the most. Diana spent more than 40 years helping the sick get better. She never complained about helping someone.
After she had left us to go on to a better place, we had gotten a phone call saying she was registered as organ and tissue donor. Even after her death, she did not forget about who she was and continued on to helping patients by giving them what they needed to continue their life. Now you know the type of person Diana was, she did not think about herself but about how she could help others even after she would be gone. You can say she did her nursing duty to the fullest. They say God only takes the best. He took more than the best. This nurse was our mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt and she will be dearly missed.
Christopher Patrick McIntyre
Christopher Patrick McIntyre was kind, loving, funny, generous, serious, helpful and thoughtful. As a boy, Chris enjoyed spending time with family and friends, playing baseball and football, wrestling, drawing, listening to music, water skiing, snow skiing and learning about history. At the age of 16, a few days before his junior year in high school, Chris and a friend were traveling on a moped bike and had a head on collision with a pick-up truck. Both boys were injured, but since Chris was driving without a helmet, he suffered the most serious injuries. In addition to numerous broken bones, Chris had a serious head injury and lay in a coma for approximately six months. As he gradually came out of the coma it was discovered that he was blind and the he had to relearn EVERYTHING all over again. After several years, Chris was able to return to school and earn his high school diploma.
Chris enjoyed being productive and worked 4 days a week for 8 years at a center for the blind. He was s a healthy, happy young man of 38 when he died in his sleep at home of a seizure which was related to his accident 22 years ago. Those who have received Chris’s donations of himself are indeed fortunate!
Stephen Michael Long was a wonderful husband, father and friend. He could make you laugh by the silly things he would say and the nick names he had given certain people. He was a hard worker and loved his family dearly. Steve had a church family that he loved dearly. He devoted his life to Christ at an early age and was faithful to his church and pastor.
Steve, we thought of you with love today but that is nothing new, we thought about you yesterday and the day before too. We think of you in silence, we often speak your name, now all we have are memories and pictures in a frame. No farewell words ever spoken, no time to say goodbye, you were gone before we knew it and only God knows why. Your memory is our keepsake with which we will never part, how can we ever forget you, we have you in our hearts!!!
Kim, Bryan, Kesha, Alma, Stephen 2 and Cameron
The night that my husband passed away suddenly from a brain aneurysm, I was in a state of total shock – I think I was just numb. But another shock came a few hours later when I received a call from Community Tissue Services. Scott had been an organ and tissue donor, and I had no idea.
Scott never wanted to talk about death or dying, and especially never wanted to discuss organ and tissue donation. So, I was very surprised when I was contacted, and informed that Scott had organ donation on his driver’s license. Because of the nature of his death, he was unable to donate organs. However, after discussing it with the family, we all agreed that tissue donation would be something positive for us to do.
Now that I have had months to take it all in, I am not surprised that Scott made the decision to be a donor. Although it was very hard for him to discuss donation, it goes along with his personality. Scott always put everyone else’s needs in front of his own, and never wanted any fuss made about his generosity. He made sure that this would continue even after he left this earth. His giving nature overcame his fears.
My children are too young to understand the wonderful gift that their Daddy gave to numerous strangers. But someday, I will share it with them. It will give them yet another reason to be proud of their father; product of the life that he lived, and proud of the gifts that he left behind.
MY BROTHERS’ GIFTS
In the spring of 2004, we were watching a TV show where they were discussing the need for organ donors. The MC of the presentation told of the need for donors and Ron said to me, “You know I am a donor.” I offhandedly said, “I am too.” Those words really didn’t mean much to me until three months later when they became a reality.
On a September morning, my hubby went biking with our son-in-law. This was the third time they had planned this ride and this time it was going to come off as scheduled. Our son-in-law was drafting behind Ron and he doesn’t really know what happened. All of a sudden Ron’s bicycle did something like a wheelie and Ron crashed on the pavement, on his back, with the bicycle on top of him. Ron was wearing a helmet, was on the bikeway, with no apparent obstructions on the blacktop, but he fell and crushed his head and broke his neck. Ken knew immediately it was a bad crash. He is a Montgomery County Sheriff and used his police radio to call for help. Ron was breathing on his own but was unconscious. Care Flight quickly came, administered to him, and he was transported to Miami Valley Hospital. He remained in a coma for eight days with the doctors telling us there was no hope. I remembered Ron’s urgency about being a donor. I was quickly put in touch with Life Connection of Ohio. When I first met Ellen, an organ procurer, I remember thinking this really is the end. How am I going to discuss this conclusion of Ron’s life? She graciously explained exactly what being a donor meant. Ellen was compassionate and told my daughters and me we could donate any part of Ron that we chose to give. Before this, my only knowledge was maybe donating the heart, kidneys or liver. Because he was so healthy, our decision was to donate anything they needed that could be useful to someone else. Ellen patiently presented the checklist and graciously went through the list with us. You can even decide if you loved one’s organs should be transported to donors outside the United States. After meeting with Ellen, I felt such a peace settle over me.
Now, this is the beginning of Ron’s story and I say this because the recipients now have a new life beginning – to this date, I have been notified that Ron’s donations touched 50 people. I didn’t know before---that tissue, bone, corneas, skin were also useful. I say this is the beginning because I know he saved several lives with his kidneys, and liver. Heart valves can replace damaged ones, bones can prevent amputations, veins can restore blood circulation, tissue can repair tendons and ligaments, and skin can help burn victims heal. Hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from organ and tissue transplants. Success rates for heart, liver, lung, kidney and pancreas transplants continue to improve each year. Bone grafting is performed to replace bones destroyed by tumors, trauma and infection. A girl from California the same age as our daughters received Ron’s cornea and regained her sight. I have had contact with the family of the person who received his liver and know their appreciation. I was at a presentation recently and spoke with a recipient of a liver and pancreas transplant as well as another gentleman that was a heart recipient and know first hand their appreciation.
Children can be a surprising comfort. As I said, Ron was 6’4” tall and when I told my family of all of Ron’s donations including his leg bones my grandson said, “Grandma, whoever gets grandpa’s legs bones is going to be awfully tall!” Organ donation goes beyond being the donor. My family knows what a blessing it has been for them. They have a better knowledge of what donation can do for others. There is this sense of “on-going”!
Organ and tissue donation is literally a “gift of life.” If I were to put a title on Ron’s donation it would be “My Brothers’ Gifts”. John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” We are all brothers in this world and the kindest thing you can do is be a “Ron” and donate whatever you can – your blessings will be multiplied and God’s love will be great.
David received a head injury in an auto accident in January 1971 when he was a senior in high school.
He was unable to move or speak until June 1971. He had been at Toledo Hospital until April, when he could move his index finger. Then he was transferred to Green Springs Rehab Facility and was there over year. He learned to speak there, enough so you could understand him.
David was in a wheelchair, when we brought him home. He did get so he could walk with a walker, and eventually two canes.
He passed his driver’s test and got a car. He lived in Bryan, Ohio, in an apartment, by himself, from 1978 to 2006. Then he went to extended care, for a year.
The doctors told us, at first, that he would probably never be able to walk again. But he was determined.
Rafael Angel Tebar
As crazy as this sounds, I met Rafael Angel Tebar on an online chat room. He talked to me whenever I was on and he made me happy when I was down. He had his own band in Puerto Rico. Rafael created his own music and he had the most amazing voice ever. We met in person on March 31, 2006. It was love at first sight. He took care of my children as if they were his own. He loved to cook, joke around, and spend time with me and my children Stormy, Christian, Jade, and Jasmine. My three year old grandson, Clayton took him in as his own grandfather and always wanted to be with him. He still says Papa is sitting in the chair and that he is on his lap.
It is very hard to hear that. Clayton loved him so much. We all did. We were married on March 16, 2007. He later passed in April.
Not too long ago I was at work and my thirteen year old daughter Jade was mowing our yard and she started crying because she misses him terribly. They had their arguments but, they got brought closer together. He was such a great man.
Rafael, my love, I miss you! So does everyone else. My son Tony took it hard when he passed, he couldn’t believe it. My son Christian and my daughter Stormy were torn. The last thing he said to them was “love you, see you next week.” But that didn’t happen. My mom, Dorothy was upset also because there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for her. He called my youngest Jasmine, his princess. She was really close to him. She missed a week of school after his death. My daughter Casey just started getting close to him. I wish he was here now.
“I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH” that’s what I have to say about my husband “RAFAEL ANGEL TABOR”
By: Dawn Marie Tebar
When Jim was born, God truly did break the mold. He was a kind and compassionate man who loved his family and God more than anything in the world. Jim’s life ended far too soon for those of us who loved him, but just ten days before he unexpectedly left us he renewed his driver’s license and chose to be an organ tissue donor. Because of his compassion for others, his legacy will live on. Jim left behind his parents, Robert and Shirley, his brother Scott, his wife Judy, his sisters Lauree and her husband Dave, Linda, and her husband Jim, along with numerous nieces and nephews. He also left a son, David, and daughter-in-law, Theresa: and his best friend and wife for 25 years Sharon.
Jim was actively involved with his church and sang in the choir for many years. He coaches girl’s basketball at a Christian school that his son attended and was involved with the Awana program. One of his favorite activities was golfing with his wife and their closest friends, Rick and Tanna.
Jim did not get to see his son’s wedding and will never see grandchildren, but we know that God has a purpose for everything and that this was part of his plan. His love for Christ will always be the one characteristic that each person who knew him will remember.
Robert P. (Bob) Urbanowicz
3-1-42 – 11-28-07
For 43 years I have been known as Bob’s wife, “Worthy”, a nickname given to me many years ago by this man who never forgot anyone’s name, remembered what was important to them in their lives, and never hesitated to show his love and concern for everyone.
We had three wonderful sons together, Rob, Rick, and Randy, of whom he was very proud. His dream was to see what all of his grandchildren would do with their lives, he was very anxious to watch them grow and flower. A die hard Cleveland Indians and Ohio State fan, Bob is watching from another bleacher now, and we miss him more than words can express.
Bob was known and remembered wherever he traveled by his questions to everyone so that he might know them a little better, his opinions always given, his advice on how to do things easier, his hugs and thanks to everyone for just “showing up”, his daily reminder to all of us: “don’t worry, thing will get better”, and the tune whistled every day, everywhere…..The Sound of Silence. Our world as we knew it has indeed been silenced.
It should be no surprise that Bob’s last wish was that he be an organ donor, giving that final gift of love to someone who may never know his name, but he will never forget him.
We are blessed to have so many happy, silly memories that will fill our hearts forever! We love and miss you, Bob, Dad Grandpa, Papa and friend.
Philip Michael Zuchowski was born in Toledo Ohio on August 21, 1990 and grew up in Bedford, Michigan. To know Phil was to know a unique individual whose enthusiasm and love of life made him a natural center of activity in events which included both adults and his friends.
Philip seemed to be perpetually in motion, and he was happiest when he was active. Phil loved sports—both those he followed and those in which he played and excelled. He was a diehard Michigan State Spartans fan, and he rooted for the Cleveland Indians and Browns. His own sports include baseball, basketball, golf and bowling. He played on the Mt. Carmel softball and basketball teams, and he played and umpired 3B baseball in the Temperance area where his teammates affectionately called him “Philly”. He enjoyed playing golf, especially at his home course, Bedford Hills, where he worked the summer he was 15. He was also an avid outdoorsman. Camping, walleye and perch fishing with his dad, whom he jokingly referred to as “Mr. Lake Erie,” were favorite summer activities. Phil excelled at bowling. He qualified for a spot on the Greater Toledo Bowling Association Junior All Stars, a traveling bowling team in the greater Toledo area. His doubles team won the Division A City Doubles Tournament with Phil bowling a 745 series. He finished third in the Junior City Tournament, and he qualified for and was looking forward to bowling in the 2007 Ohio State Pepsi United States Bowling Congress Youth Bowling Championship in Columbus, April 29. Proud of his 287 high-game, he was chasing after his first 300. He enjoyed competing, and he continually challenged himself to excel. When he faced temporary setbacks, rather than complain about outside forces, he focused all the more on what he could do to achieve his goals. Phil had a true sense of sportsmanship.
Phil had a rare ability for making people feel accepted and bringing them into his circle. He seemed to key into other people’s emotions, and stories of how he befriended young people new in his neighborhood and school showed an empathy and maturity not often found in teenagers, From saying hello and saving a newcomer a seat next to him on the bus, the new kid became “ one of Phil’s friends” in the wider group. This quiet kindness speaks to the essence of Phil.
No matter how active he was with his friends, Phil always found time for his family. As the fiftieth grandchild on his father’s side, he was affectionately dubbed” 5-0”, where he enjoyed competing in horseshoe tournaments at the annual Zuchowski summer reunion. Phil was the youngest of three grandchildren on his mother’s side where “Lad” enjoyed the traditions of holiday get-togethers and could be found at the center of family gatherings.
Phil’s presence was a gift; his family and friends miss him in ways we never could have imagined. When Phil was rushed to the hospital after his accident, family members didn’t fully grasp the severity of his closed head injury. Then we realized we were praying for a miracle. Although our prayers weren’t answered with the outcome we would have chosen, knowing that other people’s prayers for life were answered in the gift of Philip’s corneas and skin tissue lets us know that Philip lives on, not only in our hearts and memories.
Michael was a husband, brother, uncle, father, grandfather, cousin and friend to many. He was a man with a warm heart who would do anything for anyone, even if it meant giving up his own belongings or time. After high school, Mike went on to college, only to be drafted to the Vietnam War where he served as a Medic. Upon his return home, he met his wife at a local softball game. Together the couple had four children and raised them in Northwest Ohio. Mike served on local fire departments as a volunteer firefighter and as an EMT until he started having cardiac issues. At this point, Mike became very involved with his church as well as his children’s hobbies such as boy scouts, sporting events, school activities and many others. After Mike’s wife passed away, he retired from his job due to other health issues and to raise his two children that were still in high school. During this time he also became a social butterfly in the community and would have coffee at the local restaurant to keep up with current events. He especially enjoyed spending time with local farmers. One of Mike’s personal hobbies was Antique tractor pulling. Mike had an Allis Chalmers tractor that he would take to local fairs and festivals to compete, in hopes to get a full pull. Mike’s sons and his son-in-law also participated in these events with him, which made it extra special. Although Mike had a weak heart, he proved to many that it was full of love for all who knew him.
Gregory Paul Recker
Greg was very special to his Mom and Dad, his brothers and sisters, as well his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and many friends.
Greg loved being in the outdoors and around water. He would go camping, fishing, air-chairing, and riding his wave runner whenever he could. He built a beautiful sailboat, which was his latest achievement. Greg loved taking photographs at family events, and would share them with everyone. He was an experienced electrician and handyman. He had a kind and generous heart, using his talents and time to help many of his family and friends with their projects on their houses or cars. Greg loved cookouts and bonfires. He had a contagious and memorable laugh, and enjoyed reminiscing about the good old days. Greg’s untimely death came in his last hours of work at the Budd Company, where they expressed the loss of a great electrician and a good friend.
God Bless you Greg. You’ll always be in our hearts and prayers.
Irene Baker Kuhn was born November 7, 1930 in Defiance County, Defiance, Ohio to Charles and Ida Baker. Her grade school education was at St. John’s Catholic in Defiance and high school years spent at Ayersville High School, where she was a cheerleader and majorette. She was a fulltime church organist at the age of 11. She also played piano, violin and clarinet. To her, music was a beautiful art and was always a part of her life.
On June 9, 1949 she married Bernard Kuhn. She lived on a dairy farm of 180 acres near Sherwood, Ohio. God blessed their marriage and within nine years, they had four daughters: Linda, Diane, Barb and Deb and one son: Ron. After 16 years, her wonderful husband was killed on October 21, 1965 by a semi truck, killing him instantly at the age of thirty-six. She was left alone with a family of five to raise and a farm to run. She did with the grace of God and her Catholic faith and strong perseverance, dedication, will and determination.
Her five children have all married and she was a proud grandma to 21 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. A ‘special friend and companion’ came into her life, Paul Cowle on June 25, 1972. They were together for 22 years until he passed away on June 26, 1994. The last four years of her life her cat Diamond became her special friend and ran the house.
Mom was humble and simple. She did not live by superficial standards. She was never concerned with achieving personal fame and fortune. Instead she found joy and meaning in life by doing thoughtful things for others without much notice.
Mom loved to go shopping, talking on the phone, visits, piano and organ playing, singing, her choir, family, Catholic faith, playing cards, roller skating, teaching music lessons, cows, flowers, yard, gardening, home, people, listening…life itself.
Mom passed away on October 15, 2006. We decided to have her skin tissue donated to help somebody else. She could help save a life in this way. Mom was able to donate 5 skin grafts to protect patients form infection during the healing process. We know 4 of those grafts were used to treat a 40 year old male burn victim at Wishard Health Services in Indiana and 1 graft sent to Sherman Oaks Hospital in California.
We’ll never forget her face, the sound of her voice, her gentle touch, the stories she told, the traditions she handed down, the lessons she taught, the things she stood for. We’ll always know that we honor her everyday in how we live and who we are.
She is happy now and safe in the arms of Jesus—Home in Heaven as He promised.
She has reached life’s ultimate goal!!!
Roger Moore was born August 9, 1947 in Toledo. He graduated from Waite High School in 1965. We were married October 7, 1967 and were married almost 41 years when he passed away. We have two wonderful children, a daughter and son, son-in-law and grandson, and we are very proud of all of them.
On April 24, 1991 Roger was injured on his job, and as a result, had been a quadriplegic the last 17 years. His injury drastically changed our lives. We did our very best to keep his life as normal as possible.
On our quilt square we put a picture of Roger holding our grandson. He loved to watch him play his sports. We included the Superman symbol for the Christopher Reeve Foundation-Go Forward -Roger always wanted a cure for paralysis. He was a James Bond fan and had all his movies. He also followed NASCAR and was a Kasey Kahne fan. He drives the #9 car. We put the card symbols in each corner because Roger liked to play poker on the computer.
Roger was a good, honest person, devoted to his family. He was a very brave man to endure his life the last 17 years-we are certainly glad we had this extra time with him. He always wanted to be an organ and tissue donor, and we were glad to honor his wishes.
The Moore and Drake Families
WHEN I AM GONE
When I come to the end of my journey;
and I travel my last weary mile: just forget;
if you can, that I ever frowned; and
remember only the smile.
Forget unkind words I have spoken,
remember some good I have done.
Forget that I ever had heartache; and remember
I’ve had loads of fun.
Forget that I’ve stumbled and blundered,
and sometimes fell by the way.
Remember I’ve fought some hard battles;
and won, at the close of the day.
Then forget to grieve over my going.
I would not have you sad for a day.
But in the summer just gather some flowers;
and remember the place where I lay:
and come in the shade of evening,
when the sun paints the sky in the West.
Stand for a few moments beside me,
and remember, only the best.
My son Keith was 19 when he was killed in an auto accident in December, 2004. He was very giving, loving, forgiving and understanding. He loved to help people. Keith never really said he wanted to be a donor, but I think, if given a chance to have answered for himself, he would have said “yes.” We love and miss him, and I still wait for him to come walking through the door.
Love Always, MOM
William "Bill" Wortman
William “Bill” Wortman was born March 27, 1950 to Bob and Mary Lou Wortman. He would become the oldest of seven children. Ill joined the Marine Corps after High School graduation and was sent to Vietnam. He married Karen Leddy in 1971 and together they had five children, Scott Anthony, Drew Alexander, Karen Nicole, Erin Leigh and Joshua Michael. The couple’s first son was born prematurely and died shortly after birth. The couple later fostered and adopted Jim, who was ten when he joined the family. Bill loved sports, umpiring youth baseball, refereeing high school basketball and playing golf. He was known for the omni-present toothpick, either in his mouth, tucked behind an ear, or nearby in a pocket. Toothpicks would also turn up on bedposts, nightstands, tables and shelves with great frequency. Bill was a “people-person”—no matter where he went he seemed to run into someone he knew, which required a conversation and reconnection! Although he had a quick temper, he had an easy laugh and was passionate about life. In the last years of his life he began a faith walk that resulted in teaching an adult Sunday school class, reading Scriptures and sharing faith experiences with other believers. But to really know Bill, let me briefly share a summary of our lives together.
“I’m going to spoil your socks off!” His brown eyes smiled warmly at me the night before he died, crinkling at the corners. I wrapped my arms around him, hugging his back and telling him how much I loved him. It hadn’t always been this idyllic. Oh sure, when Bill and I were married 33 years earlier he had called me his Princess and he was my Prince Charming. But over the years our sharply divergent personality styles and attitudes took their toll. Bill, my irrepressible, impulsive, somewhat reckless husband challenged every fiber of my neatly organized, quiet and orderly lifestyle. Although Bill was the outgoing, people-lover and I the extremely shy introvert, I became a bantam rooster with him, battling over folding towels, putting socks away and doing chores before play. Scrabble? Always a battle over who was right. Still, there was a great magnetism in the sparks of our friction. As the children came, more challenges over parenting, beliefs and values, expectations and discipline.
Although my know-it-all attitude often grated on him, Bill was always the romantic; I might come home from work late to find the kids in bed, love notes on the door leading me from clue to clue by candlelight to a romantic rendezvous. Bill loved to shop for greeting cards. They seemed to best express the feelings he could not put into words on his own. So holidays often meant three or four cards for me, mostly sentimental, leading up to the big day or sprinkled where I might find them throughout the day.
When Bill finally surrendered to the Lord about five years ago, the real work began in his life. The edges of temper began to soften. He began trying to find the lesson in the day’s challenges, to learn from people of faith, to study the Bible and to develop a positive attitude. As we learned about personality styles and love languages, Bill was eager to implement his new knowledge to enrich our relationship. It was not unusual for him to ask, “How’s your love tank today?” and if I answered anything less than “full”, he was quick to ask how he might “fill it up.”
In the last months of his life, Bill was on a mission to make sure his kids knew he loved them and was proud of each and every one of them. He loved playing with his granddaughter, creating excuses to visit or babysit for her. He made peace with his brothers and visited his parents, to let them know he loved them. I watched as his countenance continually softened, the glow of love shining brighter and brighter on his face. And I was so often awed by the miracle of his love for me. At night, I would give thanks for the feel of his body curled up against mine, of the comfort of his arm around me. During the day, I rejoiced over his daily “check-in” phone calls, mostly just to say, “I love you.”
When Bill and I remarried ( yes, the relationship was quite rocky for awhile!) we chose a scripture reading form the Song of Solomon 8:6, “Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, as jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its’ flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.” The gift of love, the memories we cherish, the blessings of a life shared can never be taken away, can never die. Love never fails.
May 5, 1944-June 3, 2007
Marilyn “ Mame” Gillig, forever 63, was a registered nurse clinician at Mercy Hospital of Tiffin, where she was a supervisor of outpatient services, cancer-risk assessment and pain management. Marilyn spent a nursing career that spanned nearly five decades at Mercy. For more than 25 years, she worked in obstetrics and later divided her time in the Emergency Room.
Marilyn was a compassionate and giving person. Marilyn’s home was an open door. Over the years Marilyn had taken in a number of foster children. She nurtured each one of them as if her own. And till this day they are grateful for her impact.
Marilyn’s true passion revolved around her family. Marilyn and her husband Jim of 42 years devoted their life to raising three children: Brian Brad and Jami. During these great years, Marilyn spent most evenings at a sporting event, dance or cheerleading event. As her children are now grown and have children of their own, her joy and passion extended to her grandchildren; Tyler, Taylor, Katie, Samantha, Allison and Audrey.
Family was her true love. She always put family first. She lived by the saying that “your children will never remember the dirty dishes in the sink, but they will remember every ballgame you were at.”
Marilyn loved her brothers and sisters, Gary, Paula, Tom, Mark and Mary Beth dearly. Family gathering were always her favorite. She and her sisters traveled monthly for their lunch date, antique shopping and finding quaint little diners or tea houses. Marilyn’s other hobbies were love on her grandchildren, chatting over coffee with her son-in-law Craig, sitting by the pool with her daughter-in-law Bonnie, gardening, and tending to the birds.
Marilyn dedicated over 20 years of her life coaching and mentoring hundreds of young cheerleaders and dancers. Her coaching style instilled into each athlete the positive attributes to be a winner in life. So in memory of her strong will, contagious smile, and love for children, a scholarship has been created to offer financial assistance to young dancers at In Motion Dance Studio, Tiffin, Ohio. This was created for those who otherwise could not afford the opportunity to dance. It is our hope the scholarship program will provide the building blocks to assist young dancers achieving the necessary poise, build self-esteem and develop the confidence to succeed on stage and ultimately win in life. These defined qualities were held very dear to Marilyn’s heart for young people. We are pleased to offer this assistance to young dancers, as our mother donated years of her life doing the same. This is another way to continue to give to others in her name.
May 22, 1950 – May 4, 2004
Larry graduated from Michigan State. He acquired a position with the J.I. Case Company, now known as the Case International Company.
He learned and loved the case product including the history which the “Ole Abe” was the logo. The pictures of Larry on the quilt square were taken at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC which we were visiting in February, 2004, celebrating our 30th Anniversary.
We had three children, Travis Patrick, and Jill. Larry had two sisters and his parents whom we all are survivors.
Larry was a wonderful man with a big heart who provided for his family who he loved dearly.
We praise God for his life and for being a wonderful son, brother, uncle, husband and father. He lived his life with love and devotion to all of us and the Lord.
The Family of Larry Cordes
I’ve heard it said time and time again, “Only the good die young” and “God only takes the best.” Gordon Shepard saw God at the young age of 43 and he was truly one of the best. God must have needed his caring ways and sense of humor. He always had a way to make you laugh, no matter what the mood or situation was. He was always there to help, no matter what was needed. If you needed your car worked on, a roof done on your house or simply needed a ride somewhere, Gordon wouldn’t think twice. The man had a heart of Gold. Gordon was always giving, whether it was to charities, or helping friends and family with bills, rent, loaning a little extra cash for a car or buying toys for Christmas so that someone’s children would have a Christmas. Gordon wasn’t a rich man and he worked very hard for what he had. He simply hated seeing people go without, or struggling to get what they needed.
When Life Connection called me and asked about donation, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be to tell them, “yes.” Gordon was always donating and giving, so I only found it fitting to donate. I asked his bike club family, “The Wings of Change,” and they totally supported my decision. There’s not a day that goes by that he’s not on my mind. He’s forever in my Heart. The other day I noticed how beautiful the sky was and then I realized it’s because he’s up there. WE LOVE and MISS YOU, GORDON. YOU’RE SIMPLY, THE BEST!
Robin & Vanessa
Christina & Bill
The Arizona Family
The Wings of Change Family
Cagan, Taz, Chance, Sophie, Spice & Diesel
God made Denny’s Love Strong for Many
A son to Vernie & Dorothy Faunce
A loving husband to his wife Grace
A Father to his six children, Jodie Cheryl, Lisa, Amy, Todd and Stacy
A grandfather to 19 grandchildren
A great-grandfather to 13 great grandchildren
A friend to Many
A special love for Belle, our dog
A love for all sports
A United States Marine
God came and took Denny’s hand October 30, 2007, come on son, we have a party to celebrate, your new Birthday in Heaven.
The love he gave will never leave us. Have I told you today I love you!
Denny found strength through God to help once again someone else.
I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST BECAUSE HE GIVES ME STRENGTH
Our families all thank you for giving him and others this special service, memory quilt to carry on, what has been given to others. God loves us all.
Thank you for all blessings.
Denny loves to tease, tell lots of jokes and play magic tricks on the kids.
Always “I love you’s”
Forever, we carry on your love, we shared.
My dearest love, my special angel
I know now you are a special diamond in the sky as I look up to you watching over me. The special way God’s night lights sparkle giving me those ray’s of love.
Your love is always close to me, and one day our diamond will shine even brighter when we‘re holding hands walking together again. I love you!
Death is nothing at all
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you…
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used to.
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed,
At the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that
It always was. Let it be spoken without effort,
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was;
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
Somewhere very near, just around the corner.
__ by Henry Scott Holland
Todd David Zielinski
Funny…Very loveable…Big heart…Loved to joke around- A joy to be with – as he puts it, “The Golden Child” (to tease his sisters). The words and phrases could fill pages to describe him. Todd was so excited to graduate from high school and move on to college, as he put it, “to finally be doing what I want; taking classes that go towards my career.” He was so excited to start in the Criminal Justice Program at U.T. in the fall of 2006.
Just 5 days after his high school graduation from Maumee High School, he died in a motorcycle accident. Within seconds, a vibrant, healthy 18-year-old dies…his whole future ahead of him; gone. Alive one side of the road – gone on the other side. Within seconds, everything changed for him and everyone who loves him.
Pain…devastation…such an incredible deep loss. Todd’s choice at 16 years old when obtaining his drivers license was to be an organ donor. He said when he is gone why not let someone else use any part of him that he can’t use anymore. That choice was very important to him; to be able to help others. His father was with him at the BMV and was bursting with pride. I, as his mother, had a difficult time with the thought of my son not leaving this world “whole.” On the other hand, I was very proud of Todd that just continued to show his character and who he is.
When approached by Life Connection, we honored Todd’s wishes, never realizing just two short years after he made that decision, we would be faced with the final say so soon. We are very proud of him.
I waited with apprehension every day for news of what parts of Todd were used. He had 39 grafts removed: 28 sent to hospitals and 17 used to date. As I read the letter with tears streaming down my face, I had mixed emotions, but the overall, strongest emotion was PRIDE. My son, Todd, continues to live through others…help others…strangers, who never met him. His goal in life was to help people and make a Difference. Well Son I say, “you still are.”
February 5, 1992 – January 22, 2008
Kelsey Ruth Magee was born February 5, 1992 in Bluffton, Ohio. Kelsey was 15 years old when she passed away from Addison’s disease, just two weeks shy of her 16th birthday. She was a sophomore at Liberty-Benton High School, where she enjoyed playing volleyball, fast pitch softball, indoor track and summer softball. She also enjoyed working at the concession stand at the school and at Benton Ridge Park. Kelsey also played Gray Y basketball and Gus Macker basketball. Kelsey played Jr. High basketball, track, volleyball, and was on the All Star softball team for two years and was active in Campus Life. Kelsey was a member of Calvary United Methodist Church in Benton Ridge, Ohio where she was involved in the nursery, Vacation Bible School and sound controller for the choir. Kelsey loved baking cookies and learning to sew with her Mom, and being in the barn with her Dad, as well as spending time with her three older brothers, Jeremiah, Christopher, Ryan and her younger sister, Kaitlyn. She loved spending time with her friends, babysitting, and snowmobiling with her family in Michigan. Kelsey is sadly missed by her Mom, Dad, brothers and sister, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins and many, many friends. Kelsey’s smile and bubbly personality is sadly missed by all. WE LOVE AND MISS YOU VERY MUCH!
To his son, Kenneth, his daughters, Christa and Rebecca, he was their hero.
To me, his wife, he was my “Happily Ever After.”
He was a proud man, a “Screaming Eagle” of the 101st Airborne. The medals didn’t mean much to him; it was the fact that he served his country and did it well.
Though he didn’t often show it, he loved his children. His children didn’t go without. He was a good provider.
He had a keen sense of humor. I still remember his laugh.
He could also cook! He made one mean omelette, then served me breakfast in bed.
He never sent me candy, but he made fantastic fudge.
He never sent me roses, but planted me sunflowers.
He was good at trouble-shooting and fixing things. Often, his sons and daughters and I would start a project, but are unable to complete it. We miss his guidance.
Did I mention he was quiet? That’s what amazes me, how can one man of such quiet demeanor leave such a deafening Silence?
-Sue Rohdy, Author
Marissa Anne Rose
Marissa Anne Rose was born on May 25, 1991. She was a sweet and beautiful baby who grew into a lovely, mature young woman. Marissa was very talented and truly made the most of all God’s gifts bestowed upon her.
She was an excellent student with a 4.3 GPA and was inducted into the National Honor Society. Marissa was planning to attend either Northwestern or Ohio State majoring in architecture or pre-law.
Marissa studied ballet and eventually turned to ice skating. She competed at various levels and had a box full of medals, but her favorite part of skating were her “skating friends.” She was a recipient of a Scott Hamilton scholarship awarded by the BGSU Ice Arena. A scholarship has been created in her honor, and the first scholarship was awarded in March, 2008. Some of the pictures on the quilt display favorite skating memories.
As a very talented musician, Marissa played the flute. She performed with her school band as well as with the Toledo Youth Orchestra and Ottawa Hills Flute Choir. She was selected to several honor bands at Kent State, Ohio State and BGSU. She won two Toledo Symphony League scholarships. A scholarship has been created in her honor, and the first scholarship was awarded in May, 2008.
Marissa had many friends and family members who loved her dearly. Our memories of her include her dazzling smile, her positive attitude and determination, and her loving and caring ways. She will always be with us.
She was only 16 ½ years old when she died as the result of a tragic automobile accident. She truly made the most of every moment and accomplished more in that short time period than most of us will accomplish in a lifetime. We are so proud of her and will always wonder what other amazing feats she would have achieved. We are especially proud of her mature decision to be an organ donor and we take some comfort in knowing that parts of her live on in others.
David Schoch Sr.
David, known by his friends as, “Killer,” lived everyday to the fullest. The first to play a joke…we miss his laugh, smile and also his hugs. We used his hunting jacket to make his square and tried to give those who saw it a sense of who he was. Always a hard worker, he had also been enjoying his retirement. Hunting, fishing, and helping friends on their farm were how he liked to spend his time. He was a true friend, willing to help when others were hard to find.
Dave was not one to wear his faith on his sleeve, but those who knew him best, knew he had an eternal home waiting. He knew when God called him and his need for an earthly body had ended, he could be an answer to another family’s prayers through donating.
We know he would be happy we honored his wishes when he died suddenly on April 6, 2007, at age 65. Even though this day will always be remembered as the day we lost our loving husband, dad, grandpa, brother, and friend, it is a healing assurance to know he was able to help others through his donations.
Written by his wife, Febe, and daughter, Sonya
This poem I wrote for my husband, Roy, on our 13th wedding anniversary.
We ended up celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary on October 13, 2006, in his hospital room at University of Michigan Hospital. By then, he could not speak or swallow. The nursing staff decorated his room. Our children were there and toasted us with champagne. I put a drop of wine from my hand on his tongue. He smiled and then reached under his pillow and had a gift for me. It was beautiful keepsake diamond ring that he had our son get for him. Even though we celebrated at the hospital, it was a special day. We had made it to our last wedding vow.
It was Indian Summer when we were wed,
The church was full and those important words were said.
Time has past, our family has grown, and yet,
So much to remember, so much to forget,
Since that wonderful day we first met!
It’s now the 13th day, the 13th year,
A number many would fear.
But I don’t feel that this is true
Because I know I still love you!
On to many more anniversaries to come,
So, Happy Anniversary, Hon!
Donald Carl Hirt
Donald C. Hirt was born on May 3, 1947. He passed away on July 23, 2007, due to an aortic dissection. Our family was shocked when we were told of his death. None of us could believe he was gone. He was the link that held us all together. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, foster parent, and friend. He served in the Army National Guard, was on the Sheriff Deputy’s Reserve Unit, and was an E.M.T. as well as a volunteer fireman, all in addition to working a full-time job. He spent the majority of his life protecting the ones that he loved and even those that he did not know. Our father was the type of man that every girl wants to grow up and marry. His life’s dream was to make the difference in at least one person’s life. In his passing, as an organ and tissue donor, he did just that. We were told that his donations were able to help many persons. So, Dad, you accomplished your dream and then some. Thanks for always giving of yourself and going above and beyond the call of duty. You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten, because you touched so many lives. We are proud of you! We Love You!!
Darnell Williams II
Darnell Williams II attended the Marvell School district from Kindergarten through the 12th grade. Darnell had hopes & dreams as all young people do. However, he died tragically as a result of an automobile accident the afternoon of January 22, 2007.
He was attending Marvell High School at the time of his death. Darnell took nothing for granted. He studied diligently in his classes trying to make sure he had enough credits for graduation with a 3.25 GPA to enter college. He had achieved enough credits to graduate at the end of his 1st semester, which ended December 2006. Our family was honored with his High School Diploma May 19, 2007. Darnell planned to pursue a degree in Business Management, further his education & pursue a degree in Pharmacy. He was lively, energetic, focused on his future & was looking forward to starting his own business.
Darnell never hesitated to give to others and did so even in his passing, by being an organ donor. In life 17 year-old Darnell Williams II was known was a giver. Darnell was a young man of integrity: high moral standards; a faithful commitment to God, family and friends and a love of life with respect and compassion for all people.
Darnell’s family is initiated a scholarship in his memory. Darnell would be proud to know this scholarship started by his family will enable a deserving person an opportunity to pursue one of their dreams. Our family is honored to have his memory preserved forever through the hopes and dreams of well deserving scholarship recipients. We are grateful to his true friends & the generosity of others, who through their efforts have made his scholarship possible.
We are also grateful to the Mid-South Tissue Bank for their continued support & encouragement. It means so much to us when we receive mail on different updates from your organization. The inspiration of hope, Christmas ornaments & encouraging pamphlets/letters you send in order to help us cope with the death of our son sometimes arrive just at the moment we need it the most. Right now as tears flow I must say “I thank God for you.”
Kenyon B. Sneed
March 5, 1973 – December 14, 2007
Kenyon left us in a sudden death. His life was taken from him in a home invasion; we never got to say goodbye or to tell him how much he is loved and will be missed. Kenyon was a loving and devoted son, brother, husband, father, nephew, cousin and friend to many.
He could make you laugh at any little silly thing he said or did. That was the kind of person he was, you just had to love him. His children were his life and he would tell you that all the time. He said “I live for my kids, and my kids are my life.” Kenyon loved football and basketball; and during sports season that is where you would find him, at home in front of the T.V.
Kenyon has so much love for everyone and he’d let you know that at the end of all his conversations good or bad, face-to-face or on the telephone. “I love you” never goodbye, because it was to final.
No farewell words ever spoken, no time to say goodbye. You were gone before we knew it and only God knows why. Your memories and picture is our keepsake. The love we shared will be carried in our hearts!!! We love and miss you Kenyon.
Juanita M. Wills
Juanita Marie Wills was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. Juanita was born on April 25, 1930 in Richmond Indiana. She came from a family of 10 brother and sisters. Grandma was placed in the Darke County Children’s Home, where she met Kenneth Foster Wills, our beloved Father and Grandfather. They were married on June 12, 1950. Grandpa lost his life to the battle of Cancer on June 16, 1985. They had 2 daughters, 2 granddaughters, 2 grandsons, 4 great-grandsons, and 1 great-granddaughter. Grandma was a schools bus driver for 29 years. She drove for Greenville City Schools and for Anthony Wayne Schools. Her favorite color was purple. She loved butterflies. Her hobbies included playing bingo, baking/cooking, gardening, and spending as much times as she could with her family, especially her great-grandchildren. They range from the ages of 3-6 years old. It was amazing to see her with them. Their little faces would light up as soon as they would see her from across the room, as well as her own. Family was her life and she was proud of hers. Grandma was always there when you needed her. She was the most loving, caring, kind-hearted woman that we have ever known. It was an honor to call her out mother and grandmother. She taught us to follow our dreams and our hearts. At the young age of 75 her life was taken suddenly due to a tragic motor vehicle accident on February 25, 2005. It has been a long year and a half now, but seems like it was yesterday that we lost you. She is sadly missed every moment of every day, but forever in our thoughts and in our hearts. In loving memory of our Mother and Grandmother, Mrs. Juanita Marie Wills, she was “Our Circle of Life”
Wesley D. Maxwell
Wesley D. “Darty” Maxwell was a very kind and loving son, brother and father who loved the Reds, OSU tennis, football and bowling; but above all he loved his family.
He died unexpectedly at the early age of 48, leaving three children: Grant, 12; Mackenzie, 11; and Spencer, 9. His father died only a month later, leaving the family to plan a double burial.
The day was hot and bright as family and friends gathered by the graves. Near the two urns stood two easels, one holding a photo of the son, the other his father. From the rear came the strains of “Amazing Grace” as the bagpiper walked slowly to the grave, stood beside it for a moment, and then trailed away. The minister said a few words in remembrance
The children took markers in hand and wrote messages to their father and grandfather on colorful helium balloons. As favorite songs hung in the humid air the children released their balloons. The brightly colored orbs blew toward the trees surrounding the cemetery and everyone smiles as the balloons lifted above the trees and into the heavens. We like to think dart and his father received the messages.
Now, when the children visit the graves they each take a balloon so they can say hi to their father and grandfather.
James Michael Kodros
How do you surmise a man’s life in one paragraph? Jim was strong yet tender. He loved college football and praising God with his beautiful voice. Jim was prudent and faithful. Courageous and compassionate. Optimistic. Attentive. He served his country with grateful loyalty and worshipped his God with unswerving fidelity. Jim was honorable and devoted. Enthusiastic. Reliable and dedicated. Jim was a quiet example of a peacemaker as he built bridges of understanding. “Koach K” lightened the days of his students, their parents and his fellow workers with words of hope and inspiration, as well as a whacky sense of humor! He was a man through whom others found hope, faith and hugs. Lots of big bear hugs! Jim was a friend to be trusted; a passionate husband. He brought respect to the words “father”, “coach” and “counselor”. Because of Jim, many continue to discover the peace, love, compassion and forgiveness of Our God. Jim’s zest for life, together with the gifts he shared so freely with us, will continue to live on as we emulate his many attributes in our own lives.
We love you Jim,
Lakmé, Gabe & Kim, Jenny & Peter, Ryan, Rose, Jack & Dominic, Tyler and Breanna
Spencer Dean Snyder
Witty, talented, creative and extremely intelligent are words that come to mind when describing our son, Spencer. He loved music, he was an insightful writer, and combined those two interests to produce original CDs. He was a most worthy opponent playing “Jeopardy”, and a true “Simpson’s” expert. No one could make me laugh the way he did. Most certainly, he was a person with cosmopolitan tastes, interests and abilities.
He had many friends, so many that his memorial service became a standing room only event. Tragically, in spite of all his talents and the love of so many, he could never escape the feelings of sadness and hopelessness that engulfed him.
He loved philosophy and debate, and we often had long conversations late at night when he could not sleep. One reoccurring note in all those talks was his deep desire to help others, particularly those who truly, at this moment, needed help. He became an organ/tissue donor knowing that his gifts would make a very real difference in the lives of others. It gives us great comfort to know that he has given people from the ages of 15 to 77 a better life. Two people can see the beauty of the world because Spencer’s corneas were transplanted; someone’s heart is again fully functional because Spencer donated valves; an injured athlete has a chance for that scholarship, or a grandparent can run with his grandchildren because their knees have been rebuilt thanks to Spencer.
The list goes on and on. The important lesson though is that Spencer’s death and the pain that all those who love him continue to feel, can be mitigated by knowing that some very real and tangible good has resulted from that tragedy. Spencer lives on through his gifts to others.
Mary Sue Snyder (Mother)
James M. Snyder (Father)
Jeremy J. Snyder (Brother)
Quinn Vittorio Wilde
I stand outside in early June, squinting up into the sun. I look out at the gardens that surround the Hospice facility, watch the signs of life around the ponds, listen to the birds singing and other "beginnings" of the day and think I cannot possibly stand another minute. A voice inside me says, "Be strong Mama. You can do this." It is my son, Quinn, telling me I am strong enough to let him go. I wonder how in the world did we end up here, with so much beauty and so much sorrow? I realize a butterfly led us here.
Sometimes these memories play out from beginning to end and sometimes the memories come in random waves. I will start from the start. I will never forget the immediate feeling of being "under water". It was 2:30 a.m. and my husband, sleeping on one section of the living room couch, had just discovered our two-month old son, not breathing and unresponsive, on a different section of the couch. I stayed where I stood, not going closer and said, "Put your mouth over both his nose and mouth, but be careful not to blow too hard or you will blow his lungs" as my husband started CPR. I was "under water" and this was a bad movie of some sort. I stupidly asked, "Do you want me to call 911?" The police arrived in minutes, scooped Quinn up and rushed out of the house to the hospital blocks away. Quinn was revived at the hospital then life-flighted to another hospital 50 miles away. After the helicopter took off, numb and dazed, we returned home. My in-laws, whom when called had rushed over to help, were there with our other children, Sofia age 4 and Griffin age 2. We got in our van and began the drive to the hospital where Quinn was taken, still "under water".
The next 6 days were spent at the hospital coming to terms with what had happened and trying to understand why it happened. Quinn was put on life-support although he continued to breathe on his own. Tests confirmed that he had sustained severe brain damage from the lack of oxygen and only his brainstem was still functioning. The pediatric neurologist asked us if we had noticed anything odd about Quinn. It was then that we learned the subtle things we had started noticing only a week before were signs of seizures; increased difficulty eating, glazed, unfocused eyes at times and increased grunting while he slept. His well checks at the doctor's office had been fine.
The pediatric neurologist told us if we had taken Quinn to the doctor they would have simply told us he had gastric reflux. The pediatric neurologist theorized Quinn had a seizure disorder. He had possibly had a seizure which caused him to stop breathing. We had to decide what was best for Quinn as he was not going to recover from the brain damage. His life would consist of laying in a bed, existing, with a breathing tube and feeding tube. We made the heartbreaking decision to take Quinn off life support and let nature take its course. We also decided to donate his heart valves. Quinn's hospital room was on the 6th floor of the hospital. The view outside his window was of another section of the hospital. Shortly after life support was removed, we noticed a beautiful yellow and black butterfly hovering outside Quinn's window. This butterfly hovered outside his window for some time. It was a sign of grace.
The day after life support was removed, Quinn was transferred to a Hospice facility. After arriving there, the Hospice staff began to show us around the facility. To my astonishment when I looked out the window into one of the many gardens, I saw a big, metal sculpture of Quinn's butterfly. There was a plaque on the wall that explained the artist had been commissioned by a generous couple who had donated the sculpture. It also described the butterfly; a tiger swallowtail butterfly which is seen in gardens, but is also known to soar to tree-top heights. After seeing the butterfly sculpture, I knew we were in the "right place". We spent 10 days at the Hospice facility with Quinn, holding him, talking to him and singing to him. We gave him as much love as we possibly could. There was nothing more we could do as our son slowly slipped away. He passed away in the hush of the early morning. I believe he was at peace.
Quinn was our beautiful surprise. We did not plan on having a third child. I am convinced he was given to us and to the world for a specific purpose. He accomplished so much in the 9 weeks he was on this Earth. He touched many, many lives and became a hero to two infants and their families. Quinn gave those families and perhaps all of us the gift of hope. Whenever I see a yellow butterfly, it reaffirms God's grace carried Quinn home. He is whole again and cradled in love.
"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark" – Anonymous
Denien Vittorio Wilde
Julia “Jewel” Bedford was a unique person, much different than you and me. She was so many things to so many people. A mother, daughter, best friend, a cousin, an aunt, and one hell of a football player back in her day. Jewel was as tough as nails on the outside but a big softy at heart.
She was the type of person who could impact your life in so many different ways that nobody else would dare try. Jewel could make you laugh till you cried or if you were crying she would make you smile. She always did know what to say in any situation and could make the glass look half full instead of half empty.
She was a caring, down-to-earth person who would not give it a second thought if you asked her for help. It didn’t matter if you were hungry, lonely, or just needed a place to stay. She could fix you up with whatever you needed without hesitation or asking for anything in return. Jewel was a selfless and giving person and that’s a characteristic a lot of people do not really possess.
A lot of people say that one person cannot change the world or make a difference, but try to tell that to anyone who knew Jewel, because she did. Her family and friends are stronger and better people for knowing her and that made all the difference in the world to her.
Even though she is gone she will never be far from our thoughts. Jewel is not the type of person who would let you forget her and her strong will and fighting spirit will live on in the hearts of all those who knew and loved her.
Eric E. Rohrbach
Eric Rohrbach was born March 23, 1961 and we lost him on January 14, 2009…very unexpectedly…he was not sick…he was in great health and full of life. He woke up with a headache, felt nauseous all day, said he was feeling better at 2:30 in the afternoon and at 5:00 pm, he went home to God. We always hear the old cliché, “life is short”. Well, it is not a cliché, it is a reality.
Eric was my wonderful husband for 25 years. He was an exceptional loving father to our children, Lexi and Michael. We did everything together as husband and wife and as a loving family. My children and I were blessed to have Eric in our lives. He was my true soul mate and our children’s best friend, confidant, mentor, and father. What a special man he was to so many. He coached little league baseball, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade girls and boys basketball teams, his son’s traveling basketball team, all while he worked and maintained his own businesses. He became self-employed so he could control his schedule to be home for as many of his children’s functions as possible. Many of his business associates across the United States told me at the time of his untimely death, “Eric was my friend first, then my business associate.” I cannot tell you how many times I heard that statement from so many of his peers. Eric was a man of true integrity, character, and high morals and regard for his family, faith, and friends.
Father Eric, our priest at St. Mary’s in Tiffin, Ohio, made a true statement at Eric’s funeral Mass… “Eric accomplished so much in his 47 years here on Earth that many men never accomplish in a lifetime…His work here on Earth is done.” My children and I are so grateful for the tremendous support and love from our family and friends during this most difficult time in our lives. I truly believe that without our strong faith in God, our family and friends, we would not be as strong as we are today. Eric would want us to be happy and to continue to live our lives, build friendships, and loving memories. We have learned so much since we lost Eric. Life is short…Ride hard. We love and miss you Dear…So very much.
Melanie Leigh Worster Pocock
To anyone who knew Melanie she was quite different! She loved with all her heart, got mad, held a grudge with the best of them, and could make you laugh without much effort, especially when she belched because it sounded like a barking dog.
It was always Mel and I growing up. Being sisters 3 years apart we fought over everything from clothes, makeup and music to me hanging around her and her friends and driving mom and dad crazy. We would also conspire with our Grandma Arthur to have water fights in the kitchen and catch mom in the cross fire. But when it counted the most, we were there for each other when one needed a shoulder to cry on or when we just needed to talk.
Melanie wasn’t always the easiest person to get along with. She could be stubborn, hard headed, very opinionated, but she was ours. She loved to kind of cock her head to one side and say “For real”, when she questioned a comment you made or do an impression of a mosquito about to bite. Who could forget her famous Mr. Ed impersonation that could make anyone smile! She could bake like it was nobody’s business and loved to cook, which Lord knows she got from our grandmothers, because mom’s way of timing dinner was when the smoke alarm went off it was done.
Mel leaves behind four young, beautiful children. Her man of the house Steven, Eric (her little rock), and her two princesses Lexi and Emma. Also myself (Danie), Timmy (Brother-in-Law), her niece Bre’anna (who is her amazing grace) and her two nephews Bryan and Tyler. Our parents Bonnie and Dave, Uncle John and Aunt Lori, Nina and our Grandma Worster, along with countless other family and friends.
We all have crazy stories that could bring a smile to our face or laughter to a crowd just by mentioning a “Melanie story” and that is what she would want us to hang on to.
Help us remember Melanie as the crazy, loving person she was. She was many things to many people- wife, mother, daughter, niece, granddaughter and friend. To me she was Mel, she was my sister.
Janet was a daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt and friend to us for many years. Janet was such a good person to everyone.
Janet enjoyed many hobbies such as embroidery, her Chessie Cat train, snowmen, Peppy (her stuffed snowman), flowers, OSU sports, Nascar driver Kevin Harvick, and the Detroit Tigers. Janet always teased her nephew when Detroit beat the Cleveland Indians.
Peppy was a stuffed snowman that went everywhere Janet went. Peppy has many clothes and accessories like a hat, shoes, booties and even a purse with a dollar in it. He went places some people have never been.
Janet left us with many memories to get us through these trying times.
Family of Janet Cludy
Bette Cludy, Rick & Deb Millner, and Tony & Veronica Callahan
Marianne Theresa Gremling
Marianne Gremling was a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, aunt, niece, godmother, and friend.
Marianne enjoyed her family and friends, playing bingo and cards, enjoying ice cream on occasion, and watching the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings.
Marianne had an engaging smile and easy going personality that immediately made you feel welcome.
Though Marianne’s health issues multiplied in the years before her death, it was comforting to know Marianne went to bingo (her favorite leisure activity) the night before she broke her hip. Marianne’s thoughtfulness extended to having in place her living will, medical power of attorney and final arrangements made. Though it was painful, her daughters were happy to know they were following Marianne’s wishes. Marianne will be forever loved and remembered.
Daniel Charles Greer
Let me tell you about our wonderful son, whom we miss so much. Daniel was a wonderful person; caring, thoughtful, and so talented. He could do anything. Welding, like his father had never seen before, skateboarding, and asked by professionals to be sponsored, which his reply was, “Why would I take something I love to do and be made to perform.” Love of composing techno music and dancing dub step. Mechanically inclined that lead to work on all kinds of electronics like sega, Xbox 360 repair, any automotive and working in his dad’s workshop with him on anything.
Daniel could go anywhere not knowing anyone and leave with new friends. He had the gift of making people feel important, special and having his attention.
Being the youngest of our children he leaves to grieve for him his brother and best friend.
An animal lover, he rescued a neighbor who was horrified of snakes from one in their yard. When asked if he would kill the snake he looked at them and said, “No I’ll take it and release it in the woods.”
For whatever reason Daniel took his own life, we will never know why.
He leaves many to miss him, but as always still leaves a gift of thought and self for other persons and this we are proud of, again, for a young man who could see beyond himself.
We all love you, Daniel, and think of you each and every day- wait for us.
Mom, Dad, J.D., all your family and friends and MORE.
Kurt Eric Hofmeister
Kurt Hofmeister was an awesome husband and father. He was a very intelligent and talented man who had several careers within his lifetime. He was a mechanical engineer, a builder and a professor in the college of construction technology. Kurt gave his talents back to the community by donating his time and expertise to Habitat for Humanity. Kurt was a model railroad enthusiast and built a huge train layout in the basement. He spent hours perfecting it and making it appear realistic with minute details such as flashing lights, signals, scenery, etc. Kurt was a dedicated dad who took his oldest son Karl on AmTrak trips out West to help Karl with his skateboarding career. He built a military train layout for his youngest son Henry and taught Henry how to shoot bb guns and build targets. Kurt and his wife of 25 years, Dawn, spent the first 7 years of their marriage building a house together. They enjoyed the challenge of taking something ugly and making it beautiful and unique. In June of 2012, a few days before Kurt and his family were about to embark on a road trip out West, Kurt suffered a massive “widow-maker” heart attack and died instantly. Dawn, Karl and Henry were amazed by the tremendous outpouring of love and respect for Kurt. In the year since his death he has been honored in countless ways ranging from a permanent memorial on the campus of BGSU, to service learning awards given in his name as well as Habitat for Humanity homes built in his honor. Kurt is dearly missed by all who knew him.
Dawn L. Hofmeister
Dakota Lane Johnston was born on October 20, 1999 in Grapevine, Texas to Steve and Kelly Johnston. He was a beautiful baby with a head full of dark hair. Dakota was the first boy born into a family of girls. He was our “little man”. Dakota attended Nance Elementary School and was in the 2nd grade. He made friends easily and was a charmer to all of the teachers. Dakota was a strong Christian and attended The Met Church in Keller, Texas. He accepted the Lord into his life and demonstrated this by being baptized at The Met in November, 2007.
Dakota was a very animated little boy who was fun loving, happy, outgoing, and friendly. Above all else, he was very loving. His mom and dad were his world. His mom doted on him and he loved it. He thought she was beautiful and often told her so. Dakota and his dad had a very special bond that will never be forgotten. Dakota enjoyed the simple things in life from watching cartoons and “One Life to Live” with his mom, to playing video games with his dad. Dakota enjoyed playing with his four cousins- Haley, Chandler, Sierra, and Shelby- and his bear friend, Aubrey Crockett. He loved to eat at Panda Express and at breakfast he always had to put chocolate chips in every square on the waffle. He would spend countless hours in Mimi and JoJo’s pool regardless of the temperature. Many times we would have to force him out because his teeth were chattering and his lips were blue. He enjoyed spending the night with Grandma and playing with her dog, Harley.
Dakota started hunting and fishing with his dad and his dad’s friends as soon as he was old enough to. He was a true outdoorsman and preferred going to the deer lease instead of shopping with mom. Dakota spent countless hours in a deer stand with his dad watching movies on an IPod using headphones while his dad hunted. He enjoyed riding his motorcycle and his four-wheeler. On a trip to the deer lease with his dad when he was about 5 years old, Dakota ended up going off a 20 foot cliff backwards on his four-wheeler. It scared his daddy so much that Steve just jumped off the cliff to help him. What Steve didn’t know was that Dakota was perfectly fine hanging upside down in a tree.
Dakota had a teddy bear that he dressed in camouflage hunting gear and named Ted Nugent. He simply called him Ted for short. He slept with Ted every night. He also enjoyed sleeping on his Buzz Lightyear pillow. Along with Ted Nugent and Buzz Lightyear, Dakota was a fan of Texas A&M and anything related to it. His dream was to go to school there and get a big class ring like his dad’s friend, Mark.
Dakota loved his family and wanted nothing more than a brother or sister. Unfortunately, that never happened while he was here to share in the joy of it. His mommy later became pregnant with twins and Dakota has a brother and sister to watch over as of August 2009.
On May 8, 2008 after an afternoon of fishing with his dad, Dakota collapsed unexpectedly. He was taken by care-flight to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth and diagnosed with an Arterio Venous Malformation. He put up a hard fight, but lost his battle and joined his Savior on May 10, 2008. His family and friends were devastated. He was 8 years, 6 months, and 20 days old.
Steve and Kelly made the decision to donate Dakota’s organs so that other families would not have to suffer the loss that our family did. Dakota improved life for 5 people from Washington, DC to Houston, Texas.
It is our family’s hope that Dakota’s liveliness and loving nature is apparent in those who have received his organs. The recipients and their families are in our family’s hearts and prayer’s daily. We know that Dakota’s organs are improving life for them and Dakota would have been thrilled for that. There is no doubt that Dakota is watching over them daily.
From Dakota’s mom, Kelly
At heart, my dad was a small town boy who had the attitude of a superstar. Given the fact that he never forgot a face, he always knew someone everywhere that he went. Going places with him was like traveling with a celebrity, there was always someone eager to shake his hand and say hello. He was always happy to oblige and always willing to make a new friend.
My dad dreamt big and lived by the belief “the bigger, the better”. He was a true Texan through and though. He didn’t know how to do things small so we were never surprised to see him walked through the door with the largest television he could afford or the loudest stereo system his money could buy.
He was in what seemed to be a constant search of a way to make more money to provide a better life for his family and to make his mark on the world. If he came up with an idea of how to “get rich quick” he would always follow up in detail how he planned to spend the money- and it was never on himself.
My father never made a million, he never owned a mansion, and he never took any of the vacations he talked about but he did so much with the time he had in this world in ways that really count. He raised and provided for a family through good and bad times. He taught his children the meaning of hard work, love of family, and perseverance and did all of the above selflessly. Who I am now is greatly attributed to my father, and for that I am grateful.
In the end, my father did indeed make his mark on the world in a big way- the only way he knew how. My father became a hero by giving himself to save other’s lives. He had never and will never meet the people who benefited from his organs and to make that level of sacrifice for people you will never know is the absolute definition of a hero. I thank God for my dad, for the time we shared and for the things he taught me. I pray that the people he saved will always value their lives and appreciate the gift they were given from the man I am proud to say was my father, George M. Casillas.
From George's daughter
Kyle was born in Misawa, Japan December 31, 1989 to Trevor and Leanne Simpson. By the age of 2, his family happily returned to central Oregon, to be much closer to family and friends again.
In 1994, Kyle became the “Big Brother” to twin brother, Brent and Chad. Kyle was proud of them, proud to the point where he had their names tattooed on the side of his biceps, one on each arm. This was quite an honor for his brothers.
Kyle graduated from Redmond High School in 2008. During his high school years, he had worked at Newhouse as a welder and later at Les Schwab Tire Center.
2009 brought a move to Colorado for Kyle and his girlfriend. There he attended school to earn a degree in Gunsmithing. Kyle seemed to enjoy this type of work, using his hands; it also opened the door for job opportunities. His first job as a Gunsmith took him to the Fort Worth area in Texas.
Kyle was quite the “social butterfly”. Making friends everywhere he went, Texas was no different. He became fast friends with a group of wonderful people that enjoy riding motorcycles- The Outlaw Ryders. The time that Kyle spent in Texas was no doubt his happiest. Although we lost Kyle to a motorcycle accident, on July 31, 2011 at the age of 21, I know he was so very happy riding.
Kyle himself had made the decision to be an organ and tissue donor which was noted on his Driver’s License. We miss him so much, his laugh, and his good heart. Until we meet again!
“I’ll love you forever; I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”
My Father-in-Law was born February 20, 1940 and died unexpectedly on April 12, 2011.
My father had just passed away four months earlier. When Richard’s death came so fast and unexpected, we were left not completely knowing what to do. It left us spinning out of control with uncertainties and a lot of questions.
We soon began to realize that God does in fact know best and that all things do happen for reason we will never be able to understand or even comprehend.
I know that on April 12, 2011 Richard was met at heaven’s gate by my beloved dad James Fletcher, my father Jesse Hernandez, brother-in-law Lawrence Albright, and our dog of 16 years Repo Manicchia. They all together welcomed Gramps.
It gives us great comfort to know that Gramps, PawPaw Fletcher, Grandpa Jesse, and dogs Repo, Cindi and Falcon, are in heaven watching over and protecting us all. I know that in 2011 Heaven welcomed home a near perfect angel.
Sadly missed and lovingly remembered,
The family of Richard Flint
I have always adored my father, so much so that I have sometimes denied his faults- though he had as many as the rest of us. However, about a year ago, I found a Father’s Day poster I had made him in school with fill-in-the-blank sentences that started with “I love my dad because…”. Twenty or twenty-five years later, those statements still ring true: “I love my dad because he has messy hair.” And, “I love my dad because he loves me.” When not lost in thought, Dad was an electric current whizzing through rooms, sending off sparks of love, sarcasm, irreverence, and occasionally, taskmaster.
The fact that someone who worked so hard, without complaint, to take care of his body in order to live has died is unfair. But, Dad wouldn’t have wanted anyone to be melancholy on his behalf. Shortly before my grandfather died, Dad and I sat in a room as he told me about the preparations he had made for the looming funeral. With tears in his eyes, he told me “Life is so profound. We are all only one breath away from death.”
Dad talked often about the fact that life is unfair. He, however, was blessed with more than his fair share of luck. His luck began when my grandmother, Emma, married Herman Jacobs. Poppy, as I called him, was a grown-up kid, and my dad loved him dearly. At Poppy’s funeral a few years ago, Dad talked about the fact that Poppy reminded him it was worthwhile to make friends.
Dad didn’t take being alive for granted. He didn’t moan and groan about aches and pains. Simply put, he got up each day and lived – and asked questions. My dad had an insatiable curiosity. He always wanted to know more, whether the topic be brewing beer, the Civil War, or playing the Ukulele, which he started to do two days before dying.
My dad was also passionate. His hobbies changed regularly, but he was 100 percent focused on whatever had caught his interest. At home, this meant he might answer a question incompletely or that he was leaving track marks on the floor as he paced back and forth talking to himself. Sometimes, when I called and asked “What are you doing?” all I heard was silence on his end of the phone line. Once re-engaged with the rest of the world, someone- Mom, one of the kids, a neighbor, a friend- was going to learn something new.
The most brazen of kids, my dad loved to make jokes and laugh. Some neighbors stopped by to pay their condolences shortly after the funeral, and they laughed as they recalled Dad rolling down the window of his car to yell “Get off the street” as he drove by. He was not one to say “I love you”; instead, he gave the people he cared about a great deal of heck. This includes having answered the telephone in hundreds of different voices, and when I was away at camp in high school, telling a friend I couldn’t come to the phone because I was dead. He reveled in taking photos of strangers walking in parks while on vacation in San Francisco with my mother, standing on the table to sing opera, and during one of many impulsive moments, putting shoe polish on his head to mask the spot where he had shaved off too much hair.
When asked, after a number of life-changing events had occurred, what Dad missed most from the past, Dad said that he missed family dinners. For decades, Mom had cooked meals from scratch, and the five of us would sit down to eat dinner, sometimes in near silence, sometimes in a noise-filled room. Sitting around the dining room table is the image that comes to mind when I think of Home.
I am so grateful that we had many family dinners in the weeks preceding my father’s death. I am grateful that the day before he died, I told Dad a story about Cheese Whiz that made him laugh. I am grateful he and my sister last talked to one another in one of their many made-up dialects, and I am grateful that Dad approved of the Christmas decorations Mom had put up the last day he was alive. More than anything, I am grateful that Dad died doing what he loved- bicycling. He and I rode together for a period of time, and he frequently told me that he felt best physically when he was on the bike. Dad died knowing we loved him, and I, for one, know that he loved me, even though he refused to give me a hug upon request.
In remembrance of my father, I will find moments today and every day thereafter to be conscious of life- to feel, to laugh, to acknowledge what I have. Doing that is the best Bob Ford tribute there is.
From Robert’s daughter, Natalie
Robert P. Wollaston was born on June 27, 1939, in Kellogg, Idaho to Fenton and Marcella Wollaston. He had one sister, Loretta, and one brother, John. He was a star tackle in high school.
While serving honorably in the army, he was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas. He met his wife, Rhoda, while she was attending Texas Women’s University. When he was discharged, he moved to Ft. Worth. He and Rhoda married on April 4, 1964, and he worked for the Ft. Worth Police Department for the next 44 years. He also announced sporting events for Fort Worth ISD for many years.
Bob and Rhoda had one daughter, Dana Liane, in 1970. She was the apple of her daddy’s eye. He was a wonderful father, and when she grew up, married Jeff Ward and had two children, he was very happy and proud of his grandchildren, Austin and Ellie. The family went on many trips together and had fun adventures.
He will be remembered as a gentle, family-loving man who cared deeply for the policemen he worked with and for a host of family and friends. His booming voice, his sage advice and his ready smile will live on in our memories.
From Robert’s wife, Rhoda
Lt. Shannon Stone was born September 24, 1971 in Cleburne, Texas to Al and SuZann Stone. He passed away Thursday, July 7, 2011, in Arlington, Texas, at the age of 39. He married Jenny Pack on December 19, 1998, in Stephenville, Texas. Shannon was a devoted man, to his community, to his country, and especially to his family. He loved to watch his son, Cooper, play sports, and they were inseperable. He, Jenny, and Cooper enjoyed going to baseball games together. Shannon served his community as a firefighter for 18 years and was a member of the Brownwood Professional Firefighter’s Association Local 2863, and the Brownwood Fireman’s Relief and Retirement Fund, where he served as the Vice Chairman for the past five years. He also worked as an EMT, certified peace officer, and a Rescue Technician of Turn 2 Rescue Truck at the Texas Motor Speedway for 12 years. He served his country working natural disaster relief after hurricanes Ike and Katrina and fighting wildfires. He traveled to New York City to honor his fellow firefighters during the 1st year anniversary of September 11. Shannon was an organ and tissue donor who helped over 40 lives and gave the gift of sight.