Our Loved Ones Lost, Missed Dearly, and Never Forgotten!
The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt. ~ Frederick Buechner
Barbara Delbridge October 15, 1948 – November 3, 2019
By Gretchen Rachel Hammond:
“The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for us to see by.”
Barbara Delbridge now lives in every single person who faces adversity brought about by evil which emerges from the world’s vile shadows to prey upon us. The malignant barbarians, disguised with caring hearts and empowered by venality in a cheap, black robe imprisoned, tortured and took her from the world for nothing more than greed.
But, try as they might, they were always to be denied Barbara’s humanity which never needed to be camouflaged with care because it was as real as the love from which she drew the power with which to fight them. It was that fight which burned with such intensity that there were no more shadows in which evil could hide.
The greatest honor we could give Barbara is to give her the immortality which will always be denied from the thugs who murdered her who will be buried only with the money they lived to pilfer from the most vulnerable. Let her name become a motto with which those who fight to elevate justice and compassion.
Let her become the definition of that fight. Let Barbara’s example provide the power we need to extract Kathryn George, Robert and Cathy Kirk and Michael Taylor from the pockmarks blighting the face of humanity and then eradicate them completely.
Let the name Barbara Delbridge not only become the last innocent to be taken by them but one who strikes fear into those the Macomb, Wayne, Oakland County Probate Courts and across this country who have smeared themselves in our country’s dearest blood with an impunity which must end here and now.
Barbara kindled a sorely needed light and now offers up that mantle to those of us with the courage to take it.
Marise London Mother of Member Julie London Ferguson
October 7, 1928 – June 11, 2018
In life, Marise taught her kids that there was a lot to be said for denial. She lived through all kinds of experiences with an authentic smile on her face.
So, it is with her attitude that I announce on June 11, Marise temporarily ran away from home, still peacefully asleep, to visit her late sisters, Selma, Rena and Jeannette. Also calling for her incessantly were her accomplices, Mother, Ida, husband, Bob, daughter, Lori, and undoubtedly, her dog, Beatrice.
Marise never called herself an artist, but she was an amazing and unique master of her craft. Like in life, her paintings were not only genuine reflections of life’s travails; but also love and hope, as depicted in her Open Door Paintings.
I like to say that Marise taught Sarasota to paint. From her beginnings in the home garage converted studio on Lido Key, she had over 100 students. “No wonder I was so tired!” she had said.
When she wasn’t able to get discount art supplies for her students, she opened a storefront, so she could hold classes there and allow her students to get a discount. She truly lived out another philosophy she espoused frequently: “Go with the flow.” This is how the Marise Art Gallery in Gulf Gate Village was born and stood for 27 years.
(I remember Marise catching a young man stealing items from her store. She stopped him – as he threw money on the counter and begged her not to call the police. She implored him to wait, ringing up his 15% off discount.)
Like many Moms. .one can achieve personal and professional goals, but her everything was her family.
“Every living creature wants to be loved,” Marise would say. She exuded love. Marise saw beauty everywhere and in everyone. A true Artist’s eye.
Marise now takes turns between her loved ones here (daughter, Julie, son-in-law John, Beatrice the cat and Lucky the dog); and her family that lives in the beautiful gentle clouds and beyond. Her companions later in life, were the best of the best – and she knew and appreciated it. She also needs to pay a visit to her son, David (and daughter-in-law, Claire), who live in NC. She remembers with love, relatives Paul Walton, Jonathan and Donna Gross.
In lieu of flowers, I hear Marise saying to give your loved one flowers (metaphorically) now. Be kind to animals and kids. Oh heck, be nice to everyone. She lived her long life in gratitude. No condolences necessary. There will be no service, since she’s not gone. Mom’s love and soul is here forever – as is the smile on her face.
Dorothy Driesen Mother of Legislative Liaison Jay Driesen
September 26, 1919 – December 29, 2017
Rock Valley, Iowa ~ Dorothy Driesen, 98, of Rock Valley, passed away on Friday, December 29, 2017 at the Whispering Heights in Rock Valley.
Funeral Service will be 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at the First Christian Reformed Church in Rock Valley with Rev. Matthew Haan officiating. Burial will follow in the Valley View Cemetery. Visitation with the family will begin at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday at the church. The Porter Funeral Home in Rock Valley is assisting the family. Condolences may be sent to www.porterfuneralhomes.com. The family prefers memorials be directed to the Rock Valley Christian School
Dorothy Driesen was born September 26, 1919 on the family farm 3 miles west of Rock Valley, Iowa, the daughter of John and Hermina (Wissink) Vander Sanden. She married John D. Driesen June 12, 1941 near Rock Valley, Iowa. They farmed west of Rock Valley until retirement and moving into Rock Valley in 1982.
John died September 27, 1999.
Dorothy was an active member of the First Christian Reformed Church in Rock Valley where she attended bible study and was a member of the Mission Guild and Martha Circle. She loved her flowers, enjoyed doing needle point, and traveling.
She is survived by her two sons, Jay of Inwood, Iowa and Merlyn of Fairview, South Dakota; her daughter, Ruth (Ken D.) Kooima of Rock Valley; brother, Clarence Vander Sanden of Rock Valley; two sisters, Esther (John) Van Otterloo of Seal Beach, California and Henrietta Bajema of Hills, Minnesota; also 8 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents; husband, John; infant son Jay; infant grandson, Shannon Jay Driesen; infant great-granddaughter, Lexi Nibbelink; sister, Mabel (Leonard) Ver Mulm; brother-in-law, Leonard Bajema; sister-in-law, Klazina Vander Sanden; and in-laws, Lucy and Elmer Visser and Rolena and Louis Winters.
Ginger Franklin Former conservatorship ward
(Written by Ginger’s good friend, Cece Dubois, July 3, 2017)
I didn’t know Ginger when she took a fall down the stairs in her home. They say she suffered brain trauma. Her elderly aunt – her only relative – couldn’t take care of her, so was advised to “conserve” her.
If you don’t know what it means to be “conserved,” here it is in a nutshell:
The courts take over your home, your possessions, your bank accounts, and your life. You no longer have autonomy, or agency over yourself.
Now, in a perfect world this would all be handled responsibly and with respect for the citizen being conserved; the intention would be to get them back to health and off conservancy. But this world is not perfect.
When Ginger was conserved, the court immediately took over her home, her car, and her bank accounts. She no longer had any rights as we know them. The court put her in what’s called a “group home.” Within the first six months, rather than seek Ginger’s restoration to health, the court sold her condo, raided her money, and her car disappeared. The car was later found parked in front of the Conservator’s office. Some say it was given to the Conservator’s son.
I heard about Ginger when I was advocating for a friend who it seemed had been wrongfully conserved. I learned that not only was she living in a group home, she was also in charge of dispensing medications to the other residents. Ginger was managing the home for the owners. The owners – who did not live there, and rarely showed up – got paid by the state. Ginger was paid nothing.
The day of the rescue we pulled up to a modest brick house. Ginger was waiting for us.
We moved quickly to get the car loaded up with her few possessions, because we were concerned that “someone” might catch us. And she was still “owned” by the state. Before we left, I told her to take pictures of her bedroom. She no longer had the beautiful bedroom suite from her townhome. Now she had a mattress on the floor, and her clothes were kept in a cardboard box and plastic drawers.
I took Ginger home with me and moved her into the blue bedroom. I watched her shoulders drop, heard her laugh, and that helped me know I’d done the right thing.
There was yeoman’s work to get her conservancy stopped, but I took on the job alongside Ginger … researching, making copies of documents, appearing in court on her behalf. In fact, my ass was in the crack now too, because I’d officially “kidnapped” a ward of the state.
Within the next few months, we went to court several times, and finally extradited her from the state’s control. One expert told us he had never seen that happen. “Once the state owns you, they pretty much always will.”
Ginger began the grueling work of building her life back. She no longer had a job, car, a home, or any furniture. That had all been liquidated by the state.
When she moved to a new residence closer to her good friend Mary Ann, I gave her the bed from the blue bedroom and the bedding that went with it. At least, I thought, she’d have that.
That was several years ago. I’ve talked with Ginger on the phone a few times, and she always sounded upbeat , positive and faith filled … her natural state. She began painting beautiful stained glass, and seemed to be fairing well.
When the news of her passing came yesterday, it knocked the wind out of me. My heart and mind are whirling with memories of her, the sound of her laugh, and her willingness to do the hard work necessary to make good things happen.
Some people may think kidnapping Ginger and helping her get out of that mess was a courageous thing to do. Others may call it stupid. But looking back, I’m not sorry.
And looking up, I know Ginger is free and happy … may God bless and keep her.
Rena Moss Former guardianship ward
NASGA mourns the passing of Rena Moss. Rena was a ward of the state of Illinois; but she was able to have her capacity restored. Her account of her journey in her own words is published on our Great Escapes page of this website.
From her obituary: “Rena Moss was born April 3, 1949 in Chicago. She died April 30, 2016 at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Rena loved the “little things” in life. She faced each day with strength we all admired. She loved all things chocolate, good food, gardening and organizing.”
Nancy Vallone NASGA Member
April 16, 1950 ~ January 24, 2016
Nancy Lynn Vallone, 65, of Niles, Ohio passed away at 8:52 a.m, Sunday, January 24 at her residence.
She was born April 16, 1950, in Warren, Ohio, the daughter of Jerry and Nancy Chinelli Vallone.
Nancy was a graduate of Brecksville High School and earned a Masters Degree in Nursing from Northwestern University. She worked at the Cleveland Clinic for 22 years, retiring in 2004.
Nancy is survived by her brother, Peter J. Vallone of Phoenix, Arizona; a sister, Mary Kimberly Romero of Carlsbad, New Mexico; and two nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
As per Nancy’s wishes there are no calling hours or services.
Gerlene Mae Bangs Mother of Member Charlene Bangs Pederson
Touched down in Ryan, Oklahoma…August 5, 1932…Headed home…March 17, 2016
It seems that I’ve had more than my fair share of time in missing Mom…
She always said that I was her “rock”…that I was the “backbone” of the family…But what she didn’t know, was that she was mine…She was always there for me… and if I was her rock and the backbone of the family, that is who and what she taught me to be…that is why her passing will be so difficult for me…because she counted on me… waited for me to come for her…and I couldn’t manage to deliver that promise…
So I asked God for a miracle…I asked Him to let me see her one more time before one of us left this place…I just didn’t know that it was going to be when she had lost hope and tired of waiting for me to come and get her back…
I would like to believe that this God fearing woman decided that she had delayed her homecoming long enough…and glided into the waiting arms of her Father, our Lord…
I would like to believe that she who gave all that she could to everyone who passed her way, was finally relieved of the burden this life had cast upon her, in the form of an egregiously, erroneous and unlawful Conservatorship…
I would like to believe that those who committed and joined in the taking of her freedom…life…liberty and her pursuit of happiness, will come to see the error of their ways, and beg forgiveness of her, and all that were victimized, and continue to be persecuted by their unsavory deeds…
I would like to believe that Mom is smiling down upon all of us who are constant in the battles for our beloved family…friends and neighbors who are caught up in this web of systemic dysfunction, deterioration and business of “harvesting” our elderly and disabled for their earthly goods…and ultimately their lives…
I would like to believe that Mom’s life was a road well-travelled…well spent…well loved…full of content…with content…I would like to believe that this woman who came to visit our planet…who spread and gave joy…who fought for the downtrodden…who stood up for justice…who spoke out against oppression…who opened her heart to those without a home…by always giving refuge in hers…a woman who believed that if she only had one child out of six that she could depend on…that was enough…then…I believe….
Thank you Mom, for being my mother…for teaching me to look beyond the “rose-colored glasses” at life…for allowing me to be your daughter…your friend…your sister…your protector…your student…your teacher…all the things you were…and still are…to me. I believe in you…and that belief will carry me through the darkest and brightest days…knowing and remembering…you’re just a heart away…
Be still with joy and happiness in the presence of God…I miss you terribly, and I’ll always…always love you…and thank you, Mom… for loving me…Heaven is now your home….XXXXOOOO…Your Loving Daughter….
~Charlene Bangs Pedersen
Charlotte Urkiel Mother of Members Richard and Michael Rambadt
Brookfield, CT – Charlotte Lillian Urkiel, 95, a longtime resident of Brookfield, CT died on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 while staying with her long-time friend and care-giver, Nina Fournier, in North Fort Myers, FL. Mrs. Urkiel owned and operated the Brookfield Golf Course in Brookfield, CT.
Born on August 3, 1919 in Hartford, CT she was the daughter of the late Walter R. and Eva Lattner (Bankwitz). Mrs. Urkiel grew up in Laurelton, Queens. She loved the ocean and spent much time at her parents’ beach house in Point Lookout, NY. Mrs. Urkiel received her Bachelor’s Degree from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, after which, she proudly worked for Henry Ford’s son and grandson at the Ford Motor Company in Public Relations until her marriage. In 1953, she married John William Urkiel, who predeceased her on June 25, 1972, and they moved to Brookfield, CT.
A longtime member of the Brookfield Garden Club, Mrs. Urkiel loved flowers and gardening. She was an avid traveler, constantly off to new and interesting destinations with her family and those she loved. She was a lifelong lover of animals, a devoted and loving mother, a dear friend, and a generous philanthropist to those in need and numerous charities.
Mrs. Urkiel is survived by a son, Richard Urkiel and his husband, Michael Rambadt-Urkiel of Amenia, NY, and a daughter, Jean Fraser and her husband, Richard Freeman of Fishersville, VA. She also leaves behind three devoted caregivers: Nina Fournier, Charlene Coons, and Jerilynn Stephens. In addition to her parents and husband, Mrs. Urkiel was predeceased by an infant sister.
Memorial contributions in memory of Charlotte Urkiel may be made to the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse to help in their efforts to protect and defend America’s elderly from financial and physical abuse by those appointed and elected to protect them. To make electronic or mail-in donations, visit: www.stopguardianabuse.org.
Jacqueline Scott Mother of NASGA’s Florida Legislative Liaison Kathleen Dunn
Jacqueline K. Scott, 87, went home to the Lord on August 19, 2015. She was born August 13, 1928 in New Rochelle, New York and moved to Florida is 1958. She was a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, and friend to all. Her smile would light you up with happiness. She was a lifelong devout Catholic. She was an avid reader and very knowledgeable in history and politics. She always put others before herself. She was her husband’s physical therapist when he was accidentally electrocuted as a fireman for Tampa Electric in 1958. She took care of her invalid mother, father and mother-in-law. She also took in three nieces and nephews for a year. Jacqueline retired from Bealls as a manager in the Men’s Department at the age of seventy-five to take care of her aunt until her passing.
Jacqueline was forced into guardianship in 2010 which removed her fundamental rights and took her house, assets, and her beloved dog, Angelica. She was denied the very freedom her husband an others served and fought for. Her request to live with her family was denied and she was forced to live in a facility against her will the rest of her life. Visitation and phone calls with her family were severely restricted. Her family never gave up fighting for her freedom, and she held on as long as she could.
Jacqueline Scott was preceded into eternal life by her lifelong husband, James R. Scott, parents Frank and Kathleen Stanton and brothers Frank and William Stanton. She is survived by her son, James W. Scott, daughter-in-law Maria, daughter Kathleen Dunn, son-in-law Burt, daughter Marie Scott-Howard, son-in-law Gary, grandchildren Tyrone, Randy, Anthony, Michael, Victoria, and Rose Scott, Lauren Dunn and twelve nieces and nephews.
Guadelupe Mena Olvera – “Lupe” Father of Member Becky Schultz
95 year old WW2 veteran, Guadalupe Mena Olvera, known as “Lupe”, passed away peacefully on March 12th, at the home of his daughter, Becky Olvera Schultz, and his son-in-law, Robert Schultz, where he happily spent his last 4.5 years. He was preceded in death by his wife, Carmela, and his son, David. He was the oldest of 9 children, 6 of which preceded him in death. He is also survived by his granddaughter Jessica Norman, grandson-in-law Jimmy Norman, great granddaughter Jada Norman, sister Dolores Santoya, brother Lucas Olvera and dozens of nieces and nephews.
Lupe was born in Carrizo Springs, Texas. He was a handsome young man, popular with the ladies, an excellent dancer, athletic and laughed easily. He served in the Army from 1941-1945 in the 36th Infantry Division, Company A, 111th Engineer Combat Battalion. He endured 400 days of combat in the Battle of Campaigns of Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland/Battle of the Bulge and Central Europe. His decorations were EAME Campaign Medal with 5 Bronze Stars and Bronze Arrowhead, American Defense Medal and Good Conduct Medal. After being discharged from the Army he married Carmela and enlisted in the Air Force and served from 1946-1949 at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
After his discharge from the Air Force they moved to Southern California. Years later they moved to Santa Cruz County to be near their daughter and granddaughter, where with the help of his son, he built a home on their beautiful 5 acre property where he lovingly tended to fruit trees, vegetables and herbs.
After the death of his son, Lupe and Carmela moved to Windsor and then Livermore, but eventually relocated to Nevada, despite objections and warnings from family. After Carmela passed away in 2009, Lupe became the victim of exploitation due to an unnecessary guardianship. Fearing for his life and angry about his life savings being drained by the guardian, he asked his daughter and son-in-law to bring him back to California; they honored his wishes.
Lupe never left home without wearing one of his many WW2 Veteran ball caps. He was extremely proud of his service during WW2 and enjoyed all the attention when acknowledged and thanked for his service. He was a life time member of Aptos VFW Post 10110 where he actively participated in Buddy Poppy Days and fundraisers. He especially enjoyed participating in the Aptos 4th of July Parade, which his Post has lead for many years.
Lupe worked as a carpenter for 58 years, mostly for a Los Angeles County Local and in his later years for Aptos Local 505. His entire life he enjoyed building and fixing things. He also loved fishing and playing the harmonica, but his all-time favorite thing was baseball. While his son was growing up and active in baseball, he often served as coach.
As he aged he knew he was still good looking and enjoyed having a full head of beautiful white hair, thinking it was funny that so many young men had no hair. Women adored him until the end and he loved the attention. He was a hardworking and honest man with a gentle nature and a great sense of humor. He adored his daughter and was very fond of his son-in-law.
Lupe was buried at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery with full Military Honors as he wished. The urn containing the ashes of his wife, Carmela, was placed in his casket.
Olivia Jeffries Mother of Legislative Liaisons Julie Carpenter and Jan Mundt January 25, 1925 – December 13, 2014
On Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, Olivia Jeffries went to be with her husband, Richard (Dick), in heaven.
Olivia was born Jan. 25, 1925, at the home farm in Hebron, N.D. After living with her grandparents for 13 years, she moved to Montana with her parents, Herbert and Anne Lasater. They later moved to Inchelium, Wash., where she met a cowboy, Dick Jeffries. They were married in April 1944 and later moved to Colville, Wash., and then to Hayden Lake, Idaho, in 1947. In the fall of 1979, they moved to the valley, settling in Asotin in March 1980.
Olivia worked with Senior Meals on Wheels for more than 20 years in Asotin, joined The Ladies Sewing Club and attended the Asotin Methodist Church. After being stricken with dementia, her son moved her from friends and family to Spokane in 2007.
Olivia was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and brother LeRoy Denius.
Olivia is survived by her sister, Francis Frazier of Colville; her son, Richard of Spokane; her daughters, Julia (Gary) Carpenter of Asotin and Janet (Mike) Mundt of Lebanon, Maine; seven grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Willie Jo Mills Member Sherry Johnston’s Mother November 27, 1927 to September 27, 2014
Willie Jo Mills, 86, born November 27, 1927 in Waverly, Tennessee entered into eternal rest September 27, 2014.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Morgan Mills Jr and her grandson, James Morgan Pierce. Left to cherish her precious memories: son, Larry Morgan Mills & wife Deborah Kay, daughters: Cindy Pierce & husband Darrell Clark, Sherry Johnston; brother, Gene Arney; sisters: Faye Cooper, Vickey Foster and Pat Cowart; grandchildren: Larry Morgan Mills Jr., Gregory Mills, Darrell Clark Pierce Jr., Roy Scott Johnston, Betty Jo Luckey and Rona Lynn Leal; great grandchildren: Larry Morgan Mills III, Amy Mills, Gia Garza, Xavier Garza, Cameron Luckey, Bradley Luckey, Natalie Luckey, Devin Leal, Kain Leal, Chase Johnston and Zoie Johnston.
Carol Jean Hahn Mother of Linda Kincaid December 12, 1935 – August 17, 2013
Born during the Great Depression and coming of age in the wake of World War II, Carol’s choices throughout life were shaped by the frugality of her early experiences. She spoke of wearing dresses and “bloomers” made of feed sacks. She recalled feeding the chickens and gathering eggs before walking to Round Top, a one-room schoolhouse in rural Missouri. In the early 1950s, Carol drove the family’s Model A Ford to Maysville High School, where she graduated in 1953.
Typical of the era, Carol left the family farm to find a job and marry in Kansas City. Shortly after her marriage, Carol left the Midwest for Southern California. She resided in the Pasadena and Riverside areas.
Throughout her lifetime, Carol retained her Midwest sensibilities. Her cellar was filled with jars of home-canned peaches and tomatoes. She knitted sweaters by hand and crocheted doilies to ornament her home. She cooked meals from scratch and was widely appreciated for her baking skills. She often contributed cookies warm from the oven for social events.
After Carol retired in her fifties, she combed estate sales for unique antique end tables and restored them to their original beauty. Her collection of Pink Miss America Depression Glass was among her prize possessions.
Carol is survived by her sister Clara Gibbs and her daughter Linda Kincaid, with whom she spent many happy hours sharing stories of their gardens and fruit trees. Like many gardeners, they often shared plants and shared the “fruits of their labors.”
Carol’s life was dedicated to helping others. She was always available with a shoulder to lean on, a ride to the doctor, or a willing hand with needed chores. In retirement, she dedicated much of her time to assisting elderly shut-ins.
In death, Carol will continue to help others. She provided the impetus for Assembly Bill 937 to be introduced and carried forward through the legislature. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law just two days after her passing. AB 937 is the perfect memorial to Carol’s life of helping others.
Retta Rickow Member Lynn Sayler’s Mother
June 6, 1929-Dec. 8, 2012
Retta will be missed by her sons Ron, Brian and Tim; and her daughter, Lynn Sayler (Alan) and grandchildren Chap, Brad and Christine Sayler.
Unfortunately she suffered physically, financially, mentally and emotionally under the court system as she was separated from her church, her friends, and her doctors; and family visitation was severely restricted when she was moved over 20 miles from her home.
Fortunately she is now free from this abusive system and has joined her beloved husband, Art, in the presence of her Lord. A memorial service will be held at her church, Lutheran Church of the Cross (LCC) on Shore Acres, Saturday Dec. 29 at 3 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please send donation to NASGA (National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse), PO Box 886, Mt. Prospect, IL 60056; www.stopguardianabuse.org
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Clara Marsh Member Richard Marsh’s Mother 1916 – 2008
Clara Marsh – a loving mother and extraordinary woman. Mom was a victim of Alzheimer’s but also a victim of a wrongful guardianship that turned the last twenty months of her life into her worst nightmare. May Clara Marsh rest in peace. May those who abused Clara’s person, estate and legacy have cause to reflect upon what they did.
Alvahteen Anderson Member Jorge Anderson’s Mother
Dec 17, 1922 – Jan 27, 2012
For me, there was only one Mother who was my rock – or as I lovingly called her the Battleship as a teen to keep her from knowing I was speaking of her in my conversations to my friends . She grew to love her nick name; and I grew to revere my best friend for the wisdom she imparted to me, the love she showered me with all of my life and was always swift to my call for assistance. A stern friend and Benevolent mother and my personal crown jewel who helped me to keep the faith many nights of burning the midnight oils studying.
Thank you Mom for being the guiding force you have been for me. I love you and I know you’re in heaven now, away from a long load of pain and suffering. You have earned your rest in the arms of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Dorothy Wilson NAGSA’s New York Legislative Liaison Diane Wilson’s Mother
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Eulogy by Jim Fargaino
Death is simply the portal to new beginnings and peace for the person who leaves this planet with grace. It is a time to heal; a time for those left behind to be able to review and reflect on their life with the departed. Dorothy has passed into spirit; a place where she will be free of pain, fear, anger, frustration and all of what was troubling her. She has been welcomed by her loving husband and those who have gone before her; greeted with open arms and a love that cannot be understood by most of us here.
I personally met Dorothy a few years ago. She was a very happy woman; always with a smile when she was with Diane. There was never a doubt about how much she loved her. While I cannot speak for the relationships with her other children, there was a true sense of emotion whenever she discussed them.
Dorothy loved going out. Her eyes would beam when Diane would mention going to a movie, dinner, or even getting a manicure. She would speak of her love of the slot machines at the casinos, with the Borgata being her favorite. She was always warm and loving whenever I was in her presence. Those visits usually involved a cup of tea or some sort of chips or munchies. It was the little things in life that pleased her.
Today is a time to reflect on the beauty that Dorothy brought to all of us. She provided a spark of life for most people. Likewise, it would be hard to discard the pain she was feeling, nor the fear that she had that she would end up in a place not of her choosing. Even with all of those concerns, when I last spoke to her, all she discussed were her optimistic views that she would be going home soon. Dorothy’s only wish was to go back to her house that she loved for sixty years, or to live with her daughter. She was excited to see the new bathroom that Diane installed for her and made many remarks to me about how she always felt home there too.
While she may not have been perfect, her demeanor and approach towards handling her advanced age with dignity certainly was. It was important to her that she live with pride; something that she managed to have no matter what. She held onto it while caught up in a legal situation that nobody should ever have to endure; especially in their final time on earth. I was impressed by her resiliency. It was there despite how tired she was of the situations making her ill. Dorothy looked forward to what she saw and hoped would be her newfound freedom. Yes, there was a bit of sarcasm to Dorothy, but she had no problem making her thoughts about what she needed known. Sometimes, it was even punctuated by a little profanity.
Dorothy loved her grandchildren and spoke glowingly of her great grandchildren. To say she was proud that they were part of her family would be an understatement. They were a topic of conversation many of the times I visited with her at Diane’s home. When I spoke with her at the nursing home a couple of weeks ago, she made sure she mentioned them. She lit up when she talked about her beautiful granddaughter, Megan. The love that would well up in her eyes when she would look at pictures of Tara’s little ones cannot be expressed.
Her heart was open to everyone who treated her kindly, including Joann and Lisa whom she looked at as daughters too. Dorothy seemed to have friends everyplace. She loved to shop with anyone who would take her, and for those of you who knew her well, her appreciation of coupons was also evident. Dorothy was well loved, which is obvious by the outpouring here and the dozens of caring comments made by others.
The last time I was with her, I couldn’t help but laugh when she told me she wanted a bottle of wine to celebrate with and have a party when she got out of the nursing home. It was small comfort for her, yet it gave Dorothy a reason to be able to look forward to what was ahead. She only wanted to be happy.
Happiness is what her soul now has. She no longer has to fight a physical body that was breaking down, nor the annoyances of feeling like her requests were being ignored. Dorothy had a vibrancy to her that transcended everything. While she exuded love to most who knew her, she has now taken that love to look down upon us from her place in heaven. It will be given to all who deserve it. She tried to live her life to the fullest and did not want the fact that age should keep her from enjoying herself. May Dorothy bathe in the love that she deserves, and may her wine taste as beautiful as her soul is.
As the sun started to peek over the horizon at 5:12 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23rd at 5:12 am God in HIS mercy looked down and took one of his beloved children home. She took her last breath on this earth ending one year of human suffering. Her spirit kept the lesson and tradition of her life, and continued to press on winning over adversity, fighting unacceptable odds and faithful to the knowledge that “Love Conquers All.” Her generous loving heart continued to beat until 5:25 a.m. as the last goodbye to her children.
Dolores honored the encyclical words of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, whom she met on a number of occasions at the Vatican, “Be Not Afraid.” This has to be an inspiring lesson that remains for us all. We have all asked the question, would Dolores’ destiny be different if she had not been compromised by the unjust mistake of not being informed of her CT Scan results showing a malignant mass taken five months earlier at a leading Chicago hospital. Dolores’ bad experience underlines a dysfunctional issue in our society in being provoked to fight the social ills that plague the elderly and the family members who care for their aging parents. The last year of her existence, she was obliged to fight two battles at the same time, not only her cancer, but the dysfunctional medical system that did not allow her any questioning about the crucial mistake. For that, she was put at risk to be taken away from the loving care and dedication of her daughter.
Sincere thanks to the National Association of Guardian Abuse (NASGA) who gave national focus to her story. Her sacrifice has championed a cause for elder health reform, probate law and guardian abuse reform. Dolores was very grateful to Tina Stein of WIFR-23 who interviewed her about her painful experience. With dignity and class, Dolores spontaneously recited all 44 U.S. presidents as a testament to her memory and intellect. She did not back down and has become a symbol for elder patient discharge rights and a right to question why test results determining she was terminally ill were not given to her. Special thanks to the support of Sen. John Kerry, as well as Sen. Paul Kirk and Sen. Dick Durbin.
Dolores was born Oct. 24, 1924, in Rockford to Minnie and Frank De Grandis at 1223 1/2 Preston St., in the close-knit Italian community of south Rockford. It was here in the Venetian enclave of south Rockford, settled by her grandfather, Alessandro DeGrandis, in 1903, that her personality was formed. Inspired with the values the immigrants from the Veneto region brought to Rockford of hard work, pride in excellence, integrity, dignity, doing right and being helpful to others, genuine values and ethics were taught to Dolores. She attended St. Mary Catholic School and Ellis School. Graduated from West High School in 1942. At 17 years old, Dolores was introduced into the field of medicine at Rockford College, where she worked as a medical researcher for Dr. Crawford. At the outbreak of World War II, Dolores thought her service to community and country could best be used manning the switchboards. She became a telephone operator at Illinois Bell, where she patched calls through for President Roosevelt and President Truman.
On Jan. 15, 1948, Dolores married her first and only love, Emeric Bedin, at St. Anthony Church. Emeric also originated from the Veneto region of Italy and was raised in south Rockford. He was willing to lay down his life for his country, landing in Normandy during WWII. Dolores was a devoted wife, homemaker and loving mother, who transmitted to her children art, history and her love of books. She was devoted to taking care of her only son who has been ill since childhood. This was no doubt her mission, and an example of her character and life commitment to her family. When doctors said it would be overwhelming to take care of her son at home, she proudly replied, “We are Italian; we take care of our own.” That passion and dedication in her heart was how Dolores lived her life.
Dolores and Emeric celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and unfortunately, shortly thereafter, he died after a long courageous battle with lung cancer on April 22, 1998. She was devoted to him and was faithful to his memory, knowing they would be reunited. In the Holy Jubilee Year 2000, Dolores traveled to Rome to walk through the Holy Door, where she had an audience with Pope John Paul II, carrying her husband’s picture to be blessed. Dolores traveled to the Holy Land, following in Christ’s footsteps on “Via Dolorosa,” the path where He carried the cross. Dolores’ last minutes were serene and peaceful, with her children embracing her up to the moment her heart stopped. It was in that moment, the Lord’s light made way for her husband, Emeric, to reach down and greet his bride, escorting her up the stairway to Heaven. Dolores’ legacy lives in the words of St. Paul: “for I am already on the paint of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing. Dolores, gathering along the way her spiritual values, simplicity, cheerfulness, loyalty and peace, went to her new life. After a long year of suffering, she returned to light and happiness up to the Throne of God.
Note: Dolores Bedin’s case is featured in the documentary “The Unforgivable Truth” by The Silver Standard and The Elder Abuse Reform Now Project.
Bertha Longstreet Jackson
Legislative Liaison Brenda Kelley Nelum’s Mother
Peacefully entered rest on Sunday, June 20, 2010. She is survived by her daughter, Brenda Kelley Nelum and her son-in-law, Adolphus L. Nelum, both of Woodbridge, Virginia. She is also survived by a host of other relatives and friends. Visitation Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at the Saint Frances De Sales Catholic Church, 2021 Rhode Island Avenue, Washington, DC, 20018 from 10 a.m. until Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Interment Fort Lincoln Cemetery. Arrangements by McGuire Funeral Home.
My mother was a victim of Alzheimer’s and she was also a victim of the conservator system in Washington, DC.
John T. “Jack” Donovan
Member and Advocate Sherry Moser’s Father
John T. Donovan of Daly City, California passed away peacefully in his daughter’s home in Las Vegas, May 3rd 2009.
He was the former Director of Enforcement of the Bay Area Air Quality Management Board. Previous to that job he was the Auditor in Charge of the history making California “outpost” in Chicago.
Dad had a special twinkle in his eye, and an infectious smile that endeared him to everyone that he met. He was an extraordinary man that was always there for his family and friends.
He was often the first person that people would turn to when they needed some sound advice or just a caring ear to listen.
He enjoyed the unobstructed Pacific Ocean view from his beloved Daly City home of over 40 years. Some of his best times were spent reclining in his easy chair, drinking a cup of hot cocoa, while listening to Johnny Mathis and watching the hang gliders soar over the cliffs and ocean directly behind his home.
He also loved travelling. Thankfully, dad was able to travel with his daughter, son in law, and grandchildren to New York, Tahoe and numerous trips to their cabin in Utah up until just a few months ago.
Sadly, in his final years, dad became a victim of the once well intentioned, but now misguided guardianship system.
Due to a family squabble, the San Mateo Public Guardian became involved in Dad’s life as his temporary guardian. As a result, dad was forced to pay $15,000 per month for care. He would not be able to stay in his home very long at those exorbitant costs. The next step would be the selling of his home, and forcement into a nursing home against his will.
Although the squabble was quickly resolved with all family members agreeing that his daughter should be his guardian, the Public Guardian’s Office stubbornly refused to let go. When asked by dad’s longtime neighbor why they would not release their control of him as there was no longer any need for their involvement, she was informed that they had too much time and money involved in his case to just let him go.
As a result, dad’s beloved home overlooking the ocean was sold against his wishes and his belongings were disposed of.
Dad will be so sadly missed. But he will be lovingly remembered.
My mother, Frieda Eversole, born November 6, 1910, passed away on Saturday, April 25, 2009 at the age of 98-and-a-half. One of six children, mother was also a fourth cousin to Abraham Lincoln, of which she was justly proud. She spent the first fourteen years of her life on a farm in southern Alabama, and then moved to Birmingham, AL, eventually attended and graduated from college during the Great Depression. She married my father, Finley Pratt Eversole, a year later. I was born a year-and-a-half into their marriage and am their only child.
Throughout her life, mother was an astonishingly hard worker, compassionate and generous to all around her, always thinking of others first. After World War II she spent at least a year gathering clothing and bedding and shipping it to victims in war torn countries in Europe. She loved to entertain and was an exceptional cook. She had an infectious smile to the very end. Only after my father’s passing in May 1999 did I discover her quick wit and amazing sense of humor. Just one example: a couple months before her death, as I often did, I said to her, “I love you.” A few seconds later I asked, “Do you love me?” Her reply: “Yes. Aren’t you lucky!” Sometimes she would simply smile and say, “I love me too.”
My parents and I were close despite spending many years of our adult lives spent far apart.
Taking care of my mother the final eleven years of her life has been the greatest privilege of my life. The love she shared taught me more about love than I could have imagined possible. Letting her go is difficult on some levels, but we are spiritual beings in physical bodies, and her body had been too confining for her bright soul for some time. Now she is free. I believe the bonds of love are never broken and that the life and love we shared for this all-too-brief time will continue on. As I had hoped, I got to be alone with her in her final hours, holding her and talking to her, telling her what a good mother she had been and that our love would continue on. Part of loving is letting those we love move on when the soul decides its earthly work for this lifetime is done. I was blessed with wonderful parents.
J.P. Speck Manire
Member Kim Manire’s Father in Law
“We lost Speck (JP) Sunday morning at 9:16. His breathing got more and more shallow, and his breaths farther and farther apart. He only had morphine 4 times since they admitted him, a week ago last Wed. He passed with no pain, although you could tell that he was have a hard time breathing. I hate that we have only gotten to see him 6 times in the last 4 years, but this last week and a half we got to spend night and day with him.
For this I am thankful.”
October 26, 1964 – February 20, 2008
He passed away on February 20, 2008 at the young age of 43. He leaves behind his loving mother of Tucson, his beloved 15 year old son of Atlanta, and his precious 12 year old daughter of Atlanta as well as many other loving friends and family. He is preceded in death by his father and his son. He was born in El Reno, Oklahoma where his proud parents took him to Puerto Rico for the first 2 years of his life. The family then relocated to the Tucson area where he grew up and developed his love of the outdoors and his mother’s love of dogs. He moved to California as a young adult and married. They were blessed with three beautiful children. He spent many years riding horses with his family. He would recall the family trail rides as a time where the best talking occurred. He considered fatherhood to be his greatest achievement. His son remembers him as a Dad who would give someone the shirt off his back or cover the fare for a stranger on the bus who was down on his luck. His daughter remembers her Daddy as a faithful confidante and a masterful storyteller who enjoyed entertaining her.
He will never be forgotten and will live on forever in the beautiful eyes of his children and the warm heart of his mother.
November 30, 1919 – November 6, 2008
Advocate and Member Dee King’s Father
On a visit to daughter in Ct. (2005) became embroiled in the Ct. Probate System where the judge, denied him his constitutional rights, although he begged for them.
In 2006, due to the efforts of some incredible high-minded people, they fought for, and won the freedom of this 86 year old man.
Those we have the utmost gratitude for are Atty. Veronica Halpern (Htfd. Legal Aid), Rick Green of the Hartford Courant, Atty.John Peters, who worked pro-bono to free Dan, Atty. Marilyn Denney (Htfd. Legal Aid), Eric Zager of Fox 61 News, Royal Stark of Quinnipiac Law School and the students who helped, Tom Berrant of CTLegal Project and others, Dan’s friends, and finally the outstanding judge of Superior Court, Judge Gormley, who restored justice and freedom to Dan Gross.
Dan said this was always about the money–he was right.
Note: See Daniel Gross’ case featured in the documentary, “The Unforgivable Truth” by the Silver Standard News and The Elder Abuse Reform Now Project.
May 11, 1912 – October 28, 2006
Member Oksana Hordijuk’s Mother
My Grandparents often traveled from the Ukraine to the United States , and on one visit, my Mother, Stephanie, was born in NYC.
When the war started, my Mother was living in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. The Red Army was coming and was roughly 90 miles away. My parents packed a suitcase and escaped, taking the last cattle car before the bombs fell. (My father was in the Ukrainian army and held a high position in the Ministry and the family would have been sent to Siberia .)
That was the first time my Mother lost all her treasured things. It took one year to travel to Bremenhaven , Germany to get a boat that my Grandfather had arranged for the family to go to the US where my Mother was a US citizen. We had very little to eat and looked like we had come from a camp.
My parents started again in a walk up apartment. My Mom was going to night school and working in a sweat shop making flowers for hats. My father, an engineer, washed dishes until he could get an engineering job.
My Mother was very good with hats and finally worked for Miss Mary. At that time, women wore hats and Miss Mary’s hats ended up in Bergdorf Goodman’s in NYC and many fine stores. One of Miss Mary’s clients was Jackie Kennedy.
My Mother had a hard life, she worked hard for her money and saved what she could. When she got older, my ex-brother wanted her in assisted living in FL and wanted to sell her house. He drugged her and took her to FL without my knowledge. With a “separate agent power of attorney”, he transferred all of Mother’s money under his and Mother’s name.
I snuck my Mother out of FL and back to her home. He told me if I wanted the money for Mother, I’d have to take him to court. “I am Mother’s financial advisor”, he said, so I had to apply for guardianship to get at Mother’s funds for her to live on and also pay her bills.
Mother was afraid he’d take her again.
Instead of appointing me as Mother’s guardian, the court s put a guardian third party guardian (a stranger) in place.
But my big question is, who guards the guardian? So far, I can’t find the answer. The guardian was not a protector but instead was a predator.
June 17, 1921 – October 13, 2006
Advocate and Member Mary Claire Connors’ Mother
Grace Connors graduated from West Pittston High School and was a member of Immaculate Conception Church, West Pittston, PA.
She was beautiful inside and out, devoted to her family and lived an active life, supporting political campaigns, pursuing a strong appreciation for the arts and attending to her civic duties. She was a coordinator for the Red Cross during the flood of 1972. She was an officer of the retired National Association of Federal Employees Union, Pittston Chapter.
Tragically, Mom suffered horribly and needlessly the last five years of her life under unlawful public guardianship through the County Orphans Court, which was in appeal when she died.
For over 2 ½ years, I was not allowed to visit her at the nursing facility holding her captive. During this time, Mom, suffering from dementia, thought I deserted her and didn’t love her anymore. (Under my one on one care with unlimited medical/health resources, her dementia had improved and further improvement was expected until the unlawful guardianship claimed dominion over her completely thereby enforcing a slow but steady decline.) By the time these brief and regulated visits were allowed, my Mom had deteriorated so much, I didn’t recognize her.
Because her family was her first priority, the court’s ordered isolation with only limited contact with her granddaughter and only in the office of the corporate nursing facility under supervision, was so very punitive to her.
The closer we got to appeal date, the quicker she declined as the alleged guardian, kept relating that Mom was dying for several months. In spite of being told, allegedly by the so called guardian, that “your daughter is selling your house out from under you” (totally false), Mom only believed her for a day or so and then be right back to talking positively about me. Near the end, when the alleged public guardian agency was becoming fearful of a wrongful death suit, I was offered the guardianship.
Mom was a strong and determined woman but she couldn’t hold out long enough to regain her freedom and rights — both unlawfully stolen from her. She held on as long as she could but in the end, her only release — her freedom was gained by her death. She was dehydrated and starved to death after all of her teeth were removed; she died skin and bones after we were forbidden to give her water when she asked for it.
She was my best friend. She was a loving wife and mother, a kind person, and followed the law and advice from AARP, attorneys, etc. by making a Durable Power of Atty. and designating me as her atty.-in-fact, which she never revoked. She had Long Term Care Insurance, etc. My father was a WWII veteran; they paid all their taxes and lived honest good lives instilling the same values in their children.
The court used no evidence — only hearsay, to destroy and punish her with the orders that benefited only corporate interests, and some “good ole boys and girls” at the expense of her, her legacy, her family and the taxpayers/citizens.
I am compelled to speak, write and inform citizens of this atrocity in the hope that enough exposure of such heinous predatory hidden practices can be stopped by public outcry and action. I will be forever affected by the long term trauma & loss that was unimaginable as an American citizen.
In addition to her husband, James G. Connors, who died in 1986, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Patricia Connors, who also died in 1986. She is survived by her daughter, Mary Claire, and granddaughter, Keely, who miss her more every day until they meet again in spirit.
It is part of Mom’s legacy to have her and our suffering and losses count for something.
Note: See Mary Connors speaking about her Mother’s case in the documentary, “The Unforgivable Truth” by The Silver Standard and The Elder Abuse Reform Now Project.