Monday, April 8, 2013


Mark and I just got home from our second weekend (in a row) in Colville - 8 hours each way. We held Dad's memorial service on Saturday. It was held in the local community hall; Mom and Dad have been members of the association that maintains the hall for most of the 16 years they lived in Colville. My brother Maury, who is pastor of Skokomish Community Church, conducted the service. I read "Crossing the Bar" by Tennyson and the obituary (with a few extra stories added in).

The memorial service was pretty simple. My brother accompanied all the songs on his guitar. They were mostly old-timey songs like "The Old Rugged Cross" and "The Church in the Wildwood," because my mother loves those songs and requested them, and we were all glad to sing them to celebrate Dad.

Three of the grandchildren are in current military service, so they did a veteran's flag ceremony for Dad.  It was very solemn and moving. Then we closed with an upbeat song called "I'll Fly Away." It's not a traditional hymn like I'm used to singing in Mormon services, but it was a perfect way to end Dad's service.

Then the community hall association put out a spread of sandwiches and potluck salads and desserts for everyone to enjoy, because that's how they do things in the mountains north of Spokane.

Grandchildren came from Kansas, Montana, Florida, and Washington. We had Dad's brother fly in from Florida, and his sister-in-law flew in from Virginia. We also had cousins fly in from Virginia, a carful of cousins that drove up from the Bay Area, and Mom's brother from the Oregon coast. It was really, really wonderful to reconnect with these family members. Some of them I hadn't seen in 30 years. It was so fun to share old stories. Mark said I looked younger when my brother and I started in on "remember when..."

Dad's obituary is posted here.


Dorothy said...

It sounds like a perfect farewell for your sweet father. Hugs to you and yours.

Marilyn said...

The service was a beautiful celebration of Uncle Ken's and Maury did a wonderful job honoring your Dad (and Mom!) I loved the gathering of the clan. I know Uncle Ken was smiling in heaven at his loving legacy.

Mark & Susanne Kelley said...

You all honored him as well in his death as you did in his life. Just as he is still part of your lives, you are still part of his; the bonds of family aren't broken with death; it is but a temporary separation. May you all feel the love and peace of God during this difficult time.