If you've lived in this area for a very long time, you probably met my grandma. If fact, I'm sure of it. And somewhere along the way, she probably brought you a pie.
This weekend, my family had to say goodbye to a remarkable woman, and though our family will mourn her loss, so will our community.
Because in so many ways, my grandma was this community.
|This is the day my Grandma Nancy got to meet her first great-grandchild.|
Although my grandma was not born and raised in Montgomery County, it was truly her home, and she welcomed everyone here with open arms. She moved to Hillsboro in the 1950s when she married my grandpa, and I think she always remembered what it was like to be a newcomer to small town.
One of my favorite stories comes from Jeff Eisentraut, owner of the Orpheum Theatre for the last ten years. Shortly after they moved to town from Iowa, my grandma showed up at their door with a fresh baked pie. Even though she had never met them before, she wanted them to know how glad she was they were here.
And that's just one story. As we stood in line at visitation on Friday night, we heard so many wonderful stories of my grandma's kindness and generosity. And just what a difference she made in her community, one person at a time.
|The first time Grandma Nancy got to hold Grace.|
One of the biggest lessons I learned from my grandma was in her smile and her positive attitude. Everything she did, she did with a smile on her face. Even when she was in the hospital or when times got hard, she would always tell you she was just fine, and then want to know everything that was going on in your life.
My grandma also taught me a lot about hard work, as she was one of the hardest workers I knew. In her younger years, she could be seen working for Illinois Power or taking photos on newspaper assignments. She loved both of those jobs so much.
|Having lunch at the tea room in Mt. Olive. Thursday lunches were always our favorite!|
But she also knew how to balance her work with her love of family. I remember lots of weekend trips to St. Louis with my family and grandparents. We went to Union Station and the Zoo and rode the Metro Link. I can remember riding in the back of grandma and grandpa's station wagon, and even going on assignments with them sometimes. I'm sure that's one of the places I got my love of journalism.
I got a lot of really great things from my grandma, things that will live on in me even though she's gone. Kyle even suggested we take on welcoming new residents with some homemade cookies (we aren't as good at pie). I'm sure we will find other ways to carry on her spirit as well through our efforts at the newspaper.
|We always loved seeing Grandma Nancy at family functions.|
Although goodbyes are always hard, we will always have memories to cherish of a remarkable woman. A woman who always tried to think of others instead of herself. A woman who always wore a smile and a woman who always loved her family.
In celebration of a life well lived, I hope you will find a way to help her spirit live on in the kindness and generosity you show in your community each and every day. Remember that a kind word or even a smile can brighten up the darkest of days.
|A four-generation picture on the day Grace was baptized.|
We love you, grandma. May your spirit live on in each of us, as we make your community the best place to call home.