Mom 1931-2023

My mom died last week and we celebrated her life today. Below is a tribute I delivered at the funeral in her honor:

When we met with the funeral home to start planning today, the representative we met with asked each of us in the family to tell her something about mom.  We all kind of just looked at her when she asked this and didn’t really know how to respond.  For one thing, we weren’t really expecting the question, but the other was that it’s a question that’s really hard to answer with just a quick comment.  How do you sum up a woman who brought you into the world, who was part of every important event and day of your life, who was your biggest fan, who was there whenever you needed her, and who was so proud of you that she was completely unrealistic in her assessment of what a wonderful person you are?

Mom was the quintessential mom.  She fiercely and proudly loved and supported all of us.  She saw us through mom-colored glasses.  I taught a Sunday School class here at College Park for 15 or so years and mom attended the class for a lot of that time.  I know for a fact that in her eyes there has never been, nor will there ever be, a greater Bible teacher than her son.  And that’s how she saw all her kids, all her grandkids, and her great grandkids.

When I think about her, that pride in her family is what really sticks out.  If her kids or grandkids were involved, it was the greatest thing in the world, and they were the most special people participating.  I’m convinced that if any of us had grown up to be international terrorists, mom probably would’ve said that while she didn’t love our choice of profession, she was sure that it was just our way of trying to make the world a better place.  And then she would’ve pointed out how well we were doing in the terrorist organization.

Her pride in her kids and grandkids sometimes showed a different side of her.  I played basketball growing up – and mom attended pretty much every game I ever played – but since I played, I didn’t get to experience mom as a fan.  Once my kids started playing, I got to see her in action.  Mom was one of the most ruthless sports fans I’ve ever seen.  If her grandkid’s team was up 20, mom was rooting for the difference to hit 30 and was groaning every time the other team scored.  If the margin was 30, mom wanted 40.  And there was NO compassion for the other side (and this was true even if the competition was among 2nd graders).  Her grandkid was out there, and this was war.  Mom took no prisoners as a fan.

Something about mom that I think may not have been obvious because she was so gentle and kind was her determination.  Mom grew up in a home where a healthy marriage wasn’t modeled for her, yet she determined to take a different route and was happily married to dad for over 68 years.  She was determined that her home would be different and made sure her five kids were securely loved and valued.  She fought hard for those things and there are now three generations who thrive as a result.

When mom’s health started to fail and her mind began to betray her, the one thing she held on to was the ability to recognize her family.  It’s like God blessed her even in her illness with the one thing He knew meant the most to her.  We all spent time visiting mom at the different facilities where she spent the last months of her life and even when conversation was hard to come by, she still knew it was us and was thrilled to see us.  There were three things that were always true when you visited mom.  One – she was going to thank you profusely for coming.  Two – she’d tell you she loved you.  And three, she’d very proudly introduce you to every nurse and aide who came into the room (sometimes more than once).  Someone would come in, and before they were able to say much mom would say, “This is my husband, Art” – “This is my daughter, Susan” – “This is my daughter, Debbie” – “This is my son, Rob.”  And it said something about mom that even when lots of other things escaped her, she was still determined that everyone knew that these – in her mind – wonderful people sitting next to her bed were her family.

In Proverbs 31 – the passage describing the ideal godly woman – it summarizes the description in verse 28 by saying, “Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also praises her.”  I would say that’s about a perfect summary statement on mom’s life.  The only thing I might add to it is to say – in mom’s case – that her children and grandchildren and husband rise up and call themselves blessed for having had her in their lives.

8 thoughts on “Mom 1931-2023

  1. A heartfelt tribute to your Mom, Rob. A dry eye in the house? I don’t believe so, at least not in our row. I admired your Mom. In her latter days at CPC if I saw her sitting in the “reserved” seats at the back of the sanctuary, I would take a seat next to her. I pray she saves me a seat in her new Home.


  2. A heartfelt tribute to your Mom, Rob. I don’t believe there was a dry eye in the house. At least there wasn’t in our row. In your Mom’s latter days at CPC she would sit in the “reserved” seats at the back of the sanctuary. If I saw her, I would take a seat next to her. I pray she saves me a seat in her new Home, perhaps through Door 5.


  3. A heartfelt tribute to your Mom, Rob. I don’t believe there was a dry eye in the house. At least there wasn’t in our row. In your Mom’s latter days at CPC she would take a seat in the “reserved” seats at the back of the sanctuary. If I saw her I would sit with her. I hope she saves me a seat in her new Home, preferably through Door 5.


  4. Hey good friend:

    BEAUTIFUL!!!! She surely was smiling down at the superior job she had come to expect from any one of her favored kids! I lifted you up to our great God about 12:15 in luncheon prayers with Brian and Mary Keeley from Church, and they were obviously answered in a most wonderful way! There were loving tears in the eyes of many Rob, so you can confidently appreciate there were uncountable shared tears and smiles with you and your memories!

    Blessings with shared ‘Thanks for the memories.’ acknowledgements to the Lord for our special Moms !

    Bob Armstrong


    1. Thanks Bob! That means a lot! And you’re right, the prayers were definitely answered. The ceremony went really well and I think mom would’ve really appreciated it. Thanks for remembering me yesterday!


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