Three Goodbyes in Four Weeks

May 5, 2024 | 3 comments

Yesterday I attended a Celebration of Life for a long-time teaching colleague;  last Sunday, a Memorial service for a one-time neighbor and long-time friend; and two weeks before  that, a funeral  and a Celebration of Life for a friend I’ve known socially since before I even moved full-time to the Peninsula.  All three were gatherings to honor women.  Each of them made lasting contributions to our community and beyond.  I am so glad I knew them.

Carolyn Thompson Cummings Glenn (March 28, 1947 – March 3, 2024)

I’m also pleased that I was able to attend their services.  Each was very different from the others and each reflected the woman being honored and the family she left behind.  Carolyn Thompson Cummings Glenn’s service was first, on Saturday April 13th — a two-hour long formal Episcopal service complete with communion for those who wished it.  St. Peter Episcopal Church was packed — more than 200 people participating in the liturgy with Fr. Loop.  Afterwards, there was a reception at the Cranberry Museum’s Hall during which many folks took their places at the mic and talked of their adventures and experiences with Carolyn.

Lila Lee Meiners Wiegardt (May 28, 1931 – March 28, 2024)

On Sunday April 24th, an equally large crowd gathered in the Chapel at the Dunes Bible Camp to celebrate the life of Lila Lee Meiners Wiegardt.  It was what I’d term a “Family Celebration” — both in terms of denomination — the Dunes Bible Camp is a Baptist affiliate and the officiant was retired Methodist Pastor John Hunsberger with the multi-generational “Wiegardt Family  Band” providing the musical accompaniment to the service.  It was informal, family-oriented, and was a time for story-sharing which continued in the dining hall next door.  I was especially enchanted with all the babies and toddlers present and with their families’ easy way of including them in the activities.

Janet Nott Morrison (December 7, 1937 – March 19, 2024)

And yesterday, in the Reception Hall at the Peninsula Church Center, we said goodbye to Janet Nott Morrison.  The service, led by Presbyterian Pastor Liz Hylton, was informal and there weren’t a great number of us there,  But the impressive part was that there were members of the community who reflected every aspect of Janet’s life — from those who remembered her father’s grocery store in Ilwaco and had gone to school with Janet from grade school on,  to her teaching colleagues here in Ocean Beach School District, and her neighbors in later life — a fabulous cross-section of our community who turned out to wish her family well and to share precious remembrances of Janet’s long life here on the Peninsla.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who attended all three services.  And I’m also sure I’m not the only one wondering how or if people will remember me when my time arrives.  If I could choose, as Nyel did, I’d also go for a party — with lots of music and food and drinks, laughter and tears and sharing of stories — the more outrageous the better.  You only go around once, they say, and you might as well have a memorable exit.  Carolyn, Lila, and Janet certainly did!.

3 Comments

  1. Don McQuarrie

    Janet taught me so much about teaching. In the 4 years we worked together, I learned how to teach art and how to become a reasonably good teacher. I’ll miss her, but she (And Mabel Bell) will always be with me as a teacher.

    Reply
    • Sydney Stevens

      How I wish you’d been there to add those thoughts to the rest of our remembrances!! Very fewpeopple there — 20 0r 25. Teachers were Jon and Pat Krager, Jan Bono, Sue Anderson and me. John Billups was there but I think has dimentia although when I gave him a hug and told him who I was he seemed pleased and responsive. The only family member was Janet and Larry’s son Ken (unless there were cousins). The other son may have been with his dad who has dementia, as well. (That’s what Janet died of.) there were a few of her school mates from ages past, none of whom spoke but I don’t think any of her students were there. It all underscored my resolve to just have a big party here at the house with lots of food, drink and music — like I did for Nyel… Wish you weren’t so far away. Howpe all is well with you and yours! S.

      Reply
  2. Martha Williams

    Loved Janet. Great 3rd grade teacher- subbed for her in 90’s and spent time with Don Mc, and others during our teaching careers. Was in La La Land for this. 🥲

    Reply

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