Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Mom's birthday is Sunday... I must write of her.

My Mom, Grace, was born in Arlington, Oregon on March 16, 1904. She had two brothers, Edward, four years her junior, and Raymond six years her junior. They were a close knit family, sharing many activities together. Her early years were spent in Roosevelt, WA on her father’s sheep ranch. When she was seven or eight, her family purchased the farm in Springdale where she lived during the school year. The family spent the summers on the sheep ranch in Roosevelt.


Mom graduated from high school in three years. After high school, she attended Nursing School in Portland. and then she did post graduate work at DeLes Lying in Hospital in Chicago where she majored in obstetrics. She delivered babies in the slums of Chicago often using newspapers, out of necessity, as a substitute for sterile sheets and hot water.

When she graduated from her obstetrics studies, she returned to Portland and became the Director of Wilcox Memorial Hospital which was the obstetrics hospital associated with Good Samaritan Hospital at that time. The R.N.

One spring while vacationing at the family ranch in Roosevelt, Mom was sitting in the grape arbor enjoying the grapes when a handsome ranch hand bringing a string of horses from the range, saw her for the first time. He later herded sheep for her father, and they met and eventually fell in love. Our Dad

At the ranch--Mom and me, 1933

Mom's parents with me at the ranch

Mom and brother, Bernie in "rumble seat". I was in front
with my Uncle Ray. Took a 300 mile trip in that coupe!!

She was married in 1931 to our Dad. (Jim Elliot was her ring bearer!) After she had a family, she did occasional private duty nursing while raising us. In 1950 (the year I started college) she went back to nursing on a regular basis, in an alcohol treatment center where she worked until her retirement at age 67.

Always a place of hospitality, hosts of people were guests in our home. She had an open heart, open home policy and was especially famous for her homemade clover leaf rolls! She was a wonderful cook, and a company dinner at her home was a work of art, from the center pieces to the lovely layout of her fine china and all the silverware. Her set tables were outstandingly beautiful!

Our home was always warm and inviting because our Mom was such a great home maker. She prepared a company dinner for every Sunday and we never were without dinner guests on Sundays. We kept many visiting missionaries in our home, as well as traveling preachers who came for special meetings from time to time.

After losing our beloved Dad in 1978, she continued keeping her life busy and involved. She eventually moved into the retirement community, where she lived for the last 21 years of her life. She loved it there!

Mom always felt the need to be on the go virtually every day--to the grocery store where she was always greeted with “Hi Grace” to the Hallmark Pharmacy Post Office to send cards and letters, and to her favorite target of all, Rose’s Restaurant!! 90th birthday party

A very gracious lady, Mom was loved by all. She hated conflict of any kind and avoided it as much as she could. Our Dad’s nickname for her was “Gracious”. He addressed her as that.

Mom loved her grandchildren and so much enjoyed the great grandchildren as they came along. They, in turn, loved her deeply.

When she was ninety three, she had to give up driving which hurt her deeply. The day her car was hauled away was a truly sad day for her.

The last three years she was dependent on us to take her places, and she was always so excited to go when she knew there was to be an outing. My sister and I took turns taking her out for lunch, I picked her up for church, and she continued on quite well for the next three years--still going to her ladies Bible Study and out to lunch with friends.
The great-grandies were intrigued with the walker
Enjoying the sunshine with grandson, Matt and wife Gaye

She loved to play games so I tried to go a couple of afternoons a week to play Skipbo and Rummy Cube with her. She was sharp right up to the end and hard to beat!

Mom loved to shop and she dressed like she had just stepped out of a Nordstrom’s catalog! She would find clothes she loved and then stop back again and again until she found the article on sale and then it was time to buy it. She loved looking nice.

At age ninety three she needed a walker and she just took that in stride, still looking like a fashion plate. Even when she went on oxygen the last two years of her life, it didn’t cause her to miss a beat. She had a portable canister, which she hung on her walker and away we would go!!

A true prayer warrior, Mom prayed for missionaries all over the world and all of her family daily.

As her health began to fail in the last three weeks of her life, Mom was such a good sport in everything! As she struggled for breath, she was eternally optimistic that she would get up and around again. As realization began to sink in, she accepted the obvious with grace and dignity, as was her style.

During her six day hospital stay, her decline was obvious with each day that passed. Her breathing became a struggle and any movement on her part lowered her oxygen levels dramatically.

Despite all of this, her gracious spirit shone through her suffering. She was so grateful to each nurse that ministered to her and to each doctor that treated her. Her ready smile was always there, Ever the nurse, she checked each pill she took, questioned anything that didn’t look familiar and challenged each IV she received, making sure she knew what they were putting into her body!!

Mother loved her family more than anything on earth. On a Saturday in May, surrounded by most of us, we took turns spending time individually and together with her, praying, reading Scriptures, and kissing and hugging her. My son, Jon, played hymns for her on his violin, and a group of gospel singers came to her bedside and sang some lovely songs. She enjoyed the music so much and would respond, “Lovely!” after each number.

Earlier, we read to her, Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you! Be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, yes I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” She raised her head up from her pillow, fastened her eyes on the reader and her face glowed as a sweet smile spread over her face. She loved the promises and comfort that the scriptures brought her, and especially on this last day of her earthly life!

At eight Saturday evening, we could no longer waken her. We gathered around her bedside, had prayers of thanksgiving for her life, and prayed for a peaceful passing (which had been her personal prayer for several years), and sang together, “Amazing Grace”.

Her loving, sweet earthly life ended in the early hours of Sunday morning, and she joined the hosts of Heaven. God was gracious, as she died peacefully. We would not wish her back to struggle for breath, but how we haved missed her beloved devotion to her family.

What an example she was to all of us in her devotion to God, her consistent prayer life, and the sweet spirit she showed to everyone.!

March 16, 1904-May 28, 2000


The Murray Crew said...

It's been a priviledge "leafing through" your blog.
Jen Murray
mama to quads

Anonymous said...

Joan what a lovely tribute to your Mom. I loved her dearly, how absolutely true, she was a wonderful example of what a godly woman should be. What a great gift you have given to us. How infrequently do we tell people how much they mean to us and then also telling new generations of their heritage keeps the impact going.

Laura said...

What a wonderful life she lead. I can see your granddaughter Molly in the first set of pictures of your mother.
Your mother sounds like a lovely woman to be raised by!

Anonymous said...

I have greatly enjoyed your remembrances and all the pictures of Auntie Grace. What a rich heritage we have and how good God is to us. Thanks for taking the time to put it together. There are strong family resemblances between your mother and grandmother and between you and Carol. Love, Jane

Margie said...

Joan what a beautiful tribute to your Mother. We just got home from a weekend celebrating my Mother's 75th birthday and we had a great time. We now have even more special memories. Thanks for sharing your memories with us!


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the email about Grandma. It was a very nice retrospective. I forwarded it along to David and Ben and showed it to Mark. I loved the old pictures.

Bettianne and Al said...

Joan, You are an inspiration to me to get pictures on my blog. What a nice tribute to your mom! Bettianne

The Dairy Wife said...


How lucky you were to have that wonderful Mother, and how blessed and how rich her life must have been.

I too am a nurse, and many times I encouraged families to spend time alone with their loved ones, to pray and talk ... I loved reading that you took turns doing that. It is so important.

I feel honored to have read that tribute to your Mother.