June 23, 2012 my grandpa Elmer passed from this life. And while it was sad, he was ready to go. I feel like we lost the grandpa that we knew and loved growing up years ago. He had been in a nursing home for the past couple of years and truly hadn't been the fun, loving, vibrant grandpa that we all knew and loved. And he was ready. It still is a little crazy for me to think that he isn't with us anymore. But I have so many fond fond memories of him from my childhood that I will always cherish! My grandma, aunts and mom asked me to make his funeral service program. It was fun looking through all of the old pictures of my grandpa.
Here is the front & back cover of the program:
And the inside:
We headed down to Milton-Freewater, Oregon for his funeral and luckily it was the day before I left for Alabama so I was able to make it! The funeral was great, and really was a celebration of his life. I wish I would have written down all of the stories that were told about him and his life. The stories that I do remember from my childhood that were shared were the stories about me and my cousins when we were small. One night we decided to sleep out in a tent in grandma & grandpa's backyard. He had this big old canvas military tent. It was just me and my cousins Lori & Alicia. We thought it would be fun to stay up telling scary stories and unbeknownst to us my grandpa had snuck out into the back yard and started scratching on the side of the tent. We were freaked out, of course. When we finally got the courage to open the tent door to investigate the noise (I think we made Lori do it, because she was the oldest) we found a dead skunk carcass hanging in front of the tent door from a broom handle. My grandpa had went out and found a dead skunk road kill, brought it back to where we were and hung it in front of the door to scare us! Only grandpa Elmer! :) It was fun hearing so many fun and crazy stories of my grandpa and his silliness! He was always playing tricks and wanting to make people laugh!
Here is my grandma and her best friend after his funeral. My grandma was just recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had to undergo chemo, hence the 'turban' on her head. I think she pulls it off quite nicely! :)
We then headed to an even smaller town outside of Milton-Freewater, called Union for the burial. It is a teeny tiny town where half of the people in the cemetery are my relatives. My Edvalson ancestors settled this place and our roots run deep in Union, Oregon and the area around it.
My brothers; Allen and Nathan, brother in law; Jason, and cousins; Todd, Brian and Josh were the pallbearers.
He was buried with Military Honors for his service in WWII. They folded up the American flag on his coffin and gave it to my grandmother. (by the way, notice whose children are sitting with their grandmother, they are so spoiled!)
Presenting my grandma with the flag:
That is my grandpa's best friend, Bob Shelton sitting next to my grandma.
All of his grandkids and great grandkids were each given a rose to put on his coffin. Tucker was up first:
After a great talk by my uncle and the dedication of the grave by my dad, he was laid to rest.
All the kids fighting to hold on to/love on Grandma Pala (of course!):
Me and my mom and aunts and some cousins in front of his grave:
My mom and two cute aunties at the grave site:
My brother Allen had to find his namesake. My mom had a brother named Allen who died when he was just 9 years old (she was only 2!). My brother Allen is named after him, we found his grave. I think that this was the first time I had ever seen it; it was great to see it and pay my respects to my uncle that I've never met.
Me and my cousins who were able to make it to the funeral with our grandma at the church after the burial:
Britanee Walton, Janna Walton, Nathan Campbell, Todd Taylor, Brian Taylor, Alicia Taylor, Allen Campbell, Nicole Walton, Kayla Campbell Croskrey, Grandma, and me!
And all of the great-grand kids with grandma:
Devon Taylor, Alex Taylor, Jackson Taylor, Amarae Taylor, Janell Taylor, Keyton Campbell, Tucker Pyper, Charity Taylor, Heather Taylor, Kenzie Croskrey & Taylor Pyper...
This picture makes me so happy! It is Taylor and my cousin Alicia's daughter, Janell. Alicia is just 2 months older than me and we grew up so close! I can't tell you how many pictures we have of the two of us just like this, and here are our daughters. Taylor, by the way, is almost a whole year younger than Janell!!! :) We took a cute one of the two of us too, but I'm waiting for someone to send it to me! I'm not naming names though...cough...Alicia...cough!
While generally speaking funerals aren't always the greatest, I truly enjoyed spending time with my family and remembering all of my good times with my grandpa. While he wasn't perfect and could be stubborn, he was also wonderful and loving and supportive and SO service oriented. He always made an effort to support me in my sports and schooling events all through high-school. One of my fondest memories of him is when he took me and 10 of my friends on our senior trip cruise when I was a senior in high school. He would come up to the top deck with us in his little short polyester shorts and sunbathe with us like he was one of the girls! All of my friends loved him! :) Another sweet story from the funeral was about my cousin Josett, I guess one Sunday not too many years ago she was sitting next to him at church. He was always very affectionate and loved to love on his grand daughters and tell us how beautiful we were. Well they were sitting in church and he went to put his arm around her, but he just couldn't, it was hurting too bad. So he just grabbed her hand and and told her, I love you Josett and if I could I would wrap my arm around you right now!
But then there is also the funny story of my grandpa with Ben and I in church one Sunday. We were at church here in Spokane, he was up visiting, and I was scratching Ben's back. A few minutes later I get a note from my grandpa that said, 'Those who come to church to pet or be petted shouldn't come to church period!' Ben and I had a good laugh about that one! :) He was a good man and I'm thankful to have had him in my life.