Last week, my grandma passed away.  The Saturday before she died, I went to my grandparents’ house along with my husband, children, parents and siblings.  I stayed there with my babies the next three nights and three days.  I was was by her side when the Lord took her home, along with my son, mother, grandpa and aunt; we sang hymns to her as she left.  We had finished the fourth verse of “Nearer My God to Thee” when she took her last breath.  With tears flowing, my mother and I sang the last verse:

“Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,/ Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I fly;

“Still all my song shall be, Nearer, my God, to Thee,/ Nearer my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee!”

Her burial was on Wednesday, March 5.  The following Saturday, March 8, there was a beautiful memorial service held at Grace Church in Kalispell.  I was privileged to write the eulogy for this event.  I’ve posted it here as a tribute to the woman she was and a testimony of God’s grace.

-JESSICA

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On Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 7:12 AM, Edith “June” Schmid left this world and was ushered into the presence of the Lord.  She passed away peacefully, while surrounded by her family.  She is no longer inhibited by an earthly body, but is free and rejoicing in her heavenly home.  Her family is grateful to God for the precious gift she was to them as a sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

June was born on June 30, 1935 to Steven and Marian Reba Ellis in Parks, Nebraska.  She was the ninth of twelve children.  Her childhood home had a great influence upon her.  Her parents were sturdy and resourceful, qualities necessary to raising a large family during the Depression.  June was particularly close to her mother, and learned from her example what it practically meant to be dedicated, loyal and unconditionally loving toward one’s family.  She attended Parks High School; she especially enjoyed history and language arts.  She graduated in 1953 and began working as a telephone operator as well as a carhop at Mac’s Drive-in.

 In the neighboring town of McCook, there lived a young man by the name of Wayne Schmid.  He and June would see each other at high school basketeball games.  He was a handsome fellow who rode a Harley; she, a dainty yet energetic cheerleader.  They began dating in January, 1955 and were married on August 20 of the same year.  Before their first child was born, June worked as a clerk at the Hitchcock County Treasurer’s office.

On September 14, 1959, Wayne and June were blessed with their first daughter, Paula Sue.  Thus began June’s career as a mother, which was the defining occupation of her life.  Little did she know at that time how many more babies hse would be caring for in the future, once again as a mother as well as a grandmother and great-grandmother.

 In 1960 the Schmid family moved from Nebraska to Los Gatos, California where they lived for the next forty years.  Their second daughter, Tracy Ann was born July 2, 1963.  During her girls’ growing up years, June was an examplary homemaker, honing her domestic skills to a “T.”  Dinner was always delicious and on time; the laundry was always pressed and folded; her house was the picture of order and beauty.

Not only was she dedicated to her family, but to her friends as well.  She made those she met feel at ease and was a gracious hostess.  You would never go to the Schmid home without being offered something to eat as well as receiving a healthy dose of conversation.

When June was sixteen, she attended a revival meeting in Parks, Nebraska where she heard the Gospel and accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior.  In 1980, the Schmids began attending Los Gatos Christian Church, and it was here that June was baptized.  In this Gospel-centered environment, where the Word of God was preached faithfully, she began to grow spiritually.

In the mid-1980’s both Paula and Tracy were married and soon, June was a grandma.  Suddenly, life was all about this new role.  If she wasn’t with her family, she was busy doing something for them.  June especially loved preparing dinners for family gatherings and shopping for clothing for the grandchildren.  If one of the daughters was having a baby, she was the first to assist with preparations for the new arrival.  Anytime either of her girls had any type of emergency she and Wayne would drop everything and be there for them.  They were also present in the day-to-day lives of their family, helping in the little ways as much as in the big ways.  Their utter selflessness and total dedication to their children and grandchildren has been a source of inspiration to all who knew them.

When both their daughters’ families moved to the Flathead Valley in 1998, Wayne and June didn’t give a second thought about following them.  Although Montana, with its legendary winters, was not the first place they would have chosen, it was where their ten grandchildren were, and that was all the reason they needed for moving.  The next ten years would be much the same as the previous years had been, full of family gatherings, helping their daughters in times of calm and crisis and being there at anytime for anyone of the grandchildren.

2005 was marked by events of joy as well as sorrow.  In July, Wayne and June’s eldest granddaughter was married; in the fall, it became apparent that June had ALS.  The doctors estimated she had, at best, a year to live.  In God’s mercy, he gave her more than twice that amount of time.

As the disease progressed, and June’s body became weaker, ehr inner man was strengthened.  She came to understand more fully what a loving and gracious God she served.  She and Wayne began attending Grace Church in Kalispell, where the preaching of the Word and the love of her brothers and sisters in Christ upheld her during her physical struggle.  Even in her weakened state, June continued serving her family and friends as long as she was able; and when she could no longer serve with her hands, she served with her smile.

In 2006, Wayne and June enjoyed traveling to Arizona in their RV with their dear friends, the Askvigs.  They traveled to Nebraska as well, accompanied by their children and grandchildren, to attend June’s family reunion.  In September, their first great-grandchild arrived.

By May of 2007, a second granddaughter was engaged, and a second great-grandchild was on the way.  Although she no longer could communicate verbally, June’s joyful countenance said more than words.  She loved being surrounded by her family, and relished the visits her friends paid her as it became more difficult for her to visit them.

Throughout June’s illness, Wayne was her constant caregiver and companion.  He consistently demonstrated Christ’s love to her and June was so grateful to him.  His example of loyalty in the midst of hardship is a legacy to his family.

June’s life was indeed a life well spent.  She is a testimony of the grace of God.  She impacted the lives of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in an eternal way.  Our prayer now is that we would be faithful, and follow in her footsteps.  We look forward to seeing her again in the presence of the Lord.

 

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