Thursday, February 2, 2012

Easter Sunday 1958?

From Pam Streeter Wadsworth:

Dave came across this photo taken outside of the 453 Northland Ct (Rockford, MI)  house when cleaning out Byrdie's apartment. I am guessing this to be Easter Sunday, 1957.
Can you name everyone?
Here is who I have identified (names at the time of picture) :
L-R back row: Pauline & Harold Streeter
L-R middle row: Pam Streeter, Violet Armstrong, Frances Pearl Atwood, Brydie Sarkees & Fred Sarkees
L-R front row:  C. Randy Streeter, Val Streeter and (I believe) Janice Emery
That's Grandma Vi's camper in the back (actually in the front of the lot).  Oh the memories...   :)

From Mark Streeter:

This is interesting. I’m not in the picture and I can’t think of a reason why—Randy looks more like three than the two, (and JUST two), he would have been on Easter, 1957. The trailer in the background was already painted, ( Grandpa John had a white trailer painted red and white to complement the red Rambler station wagon he bought for Grandma—which I think was a ’56 or ’57 model), and he painted it sometime after he bought it. I would bet on ’58 and maybe I was out of the picture due to becoming ready for or getting changed after having been baptized at the YMCA, and yeah, I’m with you on Janice Emery. I might be wrong but that’s my shot at it. Cool picture.

From Pam Streeter Wadsworth:

I remember that baptisms happened in the morning at the YMCA before Church.  I recall the white coats that Val and I had that Easter.  It was my pride & joy.  Mark, you were probably reading a book somewhere...  It could have been 1958, but certainly, no later. Looks like we are standing where the garage is currently. I had forgotten about the sidewalk in front of the house.  Don't you love Fred's hat?  And I remember that jacket of Byrdie's and thinking how rich they were...  My guess is Grandpa John was taking the picture.  Fun.

Monday, October 24, 2011

BJ's Eulogy

This eulogy was written by Mark, her husband.  I like to think of it as a love letter ...

Barbara Jo (BJ) Hamburg-Streeter
Barbara Jo Hamburg was born October 13, 1952, the first of five children to be born to Architect/Builder David Hayes Hamburg, and Susan Lee Jones-Hamburg, mother and homemaker of Clinton and Shelby Townships, and in time, Rochester Hills, MI. BJ, as she was to come to be known to her family and friends was followed over the next nine years by Mark, Carol, Nancy and Robert. The family loved the outdoor life of Michigan, and spent summers camping from the shores of Lake Superior to the banks of the Detroit River, accompanied by their 165 pound St. Bernard, Pretty Penny. BJ attended schools in Shelby Township and finished her high school career at Rochester High School as a graduate of the class of 1970. While still in high school she worked at the historic Yates Cider Mill and is still remembered by its owners for her attentiveness and kindness to customers. After high school she worked and attended classes at Oakland Community College and Oakland University and in 1972 spent the spring semester at Grand Valley State College in Allendale, MI. There she met Mark Streeter, a fellow student with whom she became friends and who introduced her to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In July of 1975 she became a member of the Church and on October 18, 1975 they were married in Grand Rapids, MI. They were active members of the Michigan State University Branch of the LDS church and filled various leadership roles. In August 1979 Mark and BJ were sealed for time and eternity in the Washington D.C. temple. In 1980 Mark was accepted into a Masters Program at the Marriott Graduate School of Management at BYU.
Mark received his Masters Degree in August, 1982 and on October 4 1982 BJ gave birth to a son, Colin.  On January 19, 1984 A second child, a daughter, Gillian was born. In May, 1985 work took the family moved to Greenville, SC. They were members of the Greenville II ward and BJ worked in the Primary and Young Women’s organization and Mark served as a counselor in the bishopric. Colin had begun school and Gillian was in preschool when in Mark’s work took them to Sugar Land, the family’s present home. BJ was soon called to serve as a Relief Society Enrichment counselor and compassionate service leader, while working as a teller at a local credit union. With both children in school the BJ enjoyed an active church and community life. In 1995 BJ left her job to be a full time mother and homemaker, and to fill a calling as Young Women’s president in the newly formed Richmond TX ward in 1996. In 2000 BJ resumed her employment with Houston Federal Credit Union. In 2002 Colin and Gillian graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School, and Gillian went on to BYU to pursue a bachelor’s degree, and Colin took a job as an IT assistant at Houston Federal with Mom. In 2006 BJ began to complain of a persistent fatigue and dull backache she attributed to a bad office chair. In November when repeated doctor’s appointments and antibiotic treatments did not relieve her symptoms, BJ began to look for more specialized treatment.  BJ was diagnosed Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer with metastasis to the lymph nodes and the boney portions of 4 vertebrae on February 8, 2007.  Chemo therapy, surgery, and radiation followed in the next year. Her response to treatment was called “dramatic” by her doctors and her prognosis was good.   The reprieve from intense treatment afforded BJ an opportunity to visit family in Michigan in 2008 but surgery later that year was needed to arrest a recurrence of the disease.  In April 2009 BJ was able to attend Gillian’s BYU graduation; however, upon her return another recurrence necessitated another round of chemo later that year. In June 2010 BJ prepared for a stem cell transplant that posed the best prospect of freeing her from her cancer. Complications with post transplant treatment resulted in BJ being hospitalized for six months. However, in weeks after her January 2011 release she walked unassisted, and improvements in energy and stamina increased daily.  By the summer of 2011, however, her energy began to flag and in late September doctors reported a ‘stunning’ escalation of the tumor cells population.  On Monday October 10 at 6:45 pm CDT Barbara Jo Streeter succumbed to her disease.
These are the facts of BJ’s life, accurate in every detail yet as empty of the truth of who she was as her height measurement or shoe size. BJ’s broad and deep impression on those around her over the six decades cannot be reflected in the mere chronology of the events of her life. 
Those who knew her best noted four virtues that made BJ the exceptional person she was-- things those who knew her loved about her and that people who only met her in passing, noticed.
First, BJ was compassionate and caring. If anyone was ever born compassionate it would have been BJ. As a four year old,  BJ would begin to save portions of her lunch sandwiches, cookies and other treats in a dresser drawer anticipating her grandparents’ Christmas  visit to Michigan. Then, when Grandma Dorothy arrived back home in Iowa and unpacked her suitcase to she found well wrapped but invariably crusty sandwich halves and stale cookies provided by BJ should “Grandma get hungry on her trip back to Iowa”.
Mormon Missionaries rarely leave leftovers when they come to dinner, but when they did BJ would be sure that the food was packaged up and in their hands when they left. BJ made it a point to learn what each missionary liked and to make that dish when they came for dinner. She got to where she’d make duplicate meals: one to be shared with family and their voracious guests together and an identical meal packed up to could go home with the missionaries for later in the week.
A long time neighbor came to understand BJ’s caring when she took him to his appointment for his own cancer surgery, when his elderly parents could not. For over twenty years Holidays schedules included family dinners with him as the exclusive guest, whenever his own family’s celebrations were over.
BJ was an excellent listener and had a particular gift for making you feel as if you were the only concern in her life. Her niece noted that when BJ came to Gillian’s graduation from BYU: “She found time exclusively for me!—after all, it was Gillie’s time and here she was listening to me like I was the only person in the universe”. When she excused herself from their conversation to run after her toddler, she returned to find that BJ quietly gathered up and washed her dishes for her.
BJ never needed acquaintance to engage in her caring. While standing in a restaurant line for her order she watched a young mother wrestle with her three small children as she opened her purse to pay for her meal. BJ took a bill from the change she had just received and handed it to the counter man and said “I’ve got that” and tousled the oldest child’s hair and said, “You have a nice day with your Mom!” and merely walked away smiling.
 BJ was also gracious. BJ could not stand the idea of being the cause of another’s embarrassment or see another being embarrassed or humiliated in her presence.
As a Young Women’s president BJ had a number of young women who had neither the means nor the equipment to attend the annual Girls’ camp. Two sisters who obviously wanted to attend but also didn’t want others to know their single mother could not afford the camping gear they needed, not to mention the fees to attend the camp. BJ decided to enter the girls in a “contest”: they had to compile a camp equipment list with complete with recommended models, brands and stores that stocked the items. She secured their mother’s permission to take them to local outdoor stores for “research”. She worked them hard--the girls learned a practical lesson about selecting neither the most expensive nor the cheapest, but the best for the purpose. At the next meeting, she asked the sisters to share their list of recommended equipment and sources to the rest of the girls. Later she arrived at their apartment with the gear they had identified explaining that their research had won them the gear, and their fees for girls camp. The girls have long since gone their own ways but their mother who had asked for an explanation remembered the gracious act that allowed her girls to attend well equipped and unembarrassed by an act of overt charity, and related the story.

 Another women’s leader in the ward spoke of BJ’s legacy when only last week she felt drawn for an unaccountable reason to a store next to the one she intended to visit and found herself face to face with a young woman who had been one of BJ’s charges when she was a girl. She had read of BJ’s declining condition and “just needed to talk with somebody about Sister Streeter”. She said she felt blessed to have someone come into the store who knew BJ as well. As a girl she was raised on a isolated farm far from other girls in the congregation and BJ had worked hard to overcome that distance and keep her involved with visits, cards and phone calls. This young woman now married and on her own had lost touch with much that had brought her joy when she was younger, and how memories of BJ were part of that joy. Remembering BJ’s kindness and graciousness, she said, made want to sort out her life and get back to those connections that had been so valuable in her past. .
Third, BJ lived the ideal of sister hood. Blessed with two sisters, Carol and Nancy she cherished that unique relationship sisters have with each other; Carol’s early death, also due to cancer, made her relationship with Nancy all the more precious to her. Sisterhood is a pervasive idea in the life of LDS women and BJ reveled in it. A husband in grad school often meant long hours of isolation and frequent absences for her. BJ made acquaintances among the students and other student wives that lived around her. Among those were Sharon Meisner and Kelly Stank, two girls from Mark’s home town whom BJ had come to know through his family. With Sharon she formed a special, hard to define bond that BJ came to call “Sister by Choice”.  When pressed to define this intense, intimate relationship, BJ could only explain that “months could pass by without contact, yet when we meet, we pick up exactly where we left off as if no time had passed,” and “there’s an assurance that a request made to another of us is as good as filled upon asking.” That unique take on sisterhood was distinctive with just a few women BJ knew and loved. To be sure others joined this intensely personal sorority over time, with varying levels of closeness and intimacy but four stood in the first circle for her: Sharon Meisner-Edvalson, Jane Dykema-Streeter, wife of Mark’s late brother Randy, Marianne Gibbons-Palmer, and Connie Camarda-Van Vliet. This was not to discredit the “second circle”, those many sisters who drove BJ to her many appointments throughout her treatments and fed her family in her absence and sat with her in her home during the long months of recovery and remaining weeks of her life, who labored with BJ in Relief Society, Young Women’s and Primary, but that these four were the special spirits that should they all have lived into their 90’s would remain the sisters of choice without whom each of their lives would have been diminished.
Finally, courage permeated BJ’s life. More often than not, it was the courage was that was the common place stuff of daily living.  Mark’s decision to go to grad school in business rather than becoming the English professor she had expected to be married to baffled her. But supportiveness and commitment were part of BJ’s life too and when he was accepted, BJ, who had never lived outside the state of Michigan, and her mother,  drove on ahead to Provo to find an apartment and a job while Mark packed and moved the house a few weeks later.
But BJ was acting courageously much earlier than that.  On vacation in 1977, Mark convinced BJ to make a detour in their trip to visit an ancient Indian ceremonial site atop a mountain in Wyoming. It was a wet, raw day with shreds of fog clinging to a narrow road where the ground on either side fell steeply away three hundred feet or more and populated with bawling Hereford steers that suddenly appeared out of the fog. Mark suggested that they park the car and walk up. BJ trudged the first few hundred yards and gasped at a half dozen appearances of ghostly cattle when she’d had enough and headed back to the car.  Mark soldiered on; savoring the adventure.  In 40 minutes he reached the summit, and walked about the Medicine Wheel with reverential awe. He talked with a retired couple about the significance of the site and they cordially offered him a ride down the mountain in their car. They had just cleared the summit when out of the fog, gingerly inching its way up the narrow road came BJ in their AMC Hornet with a death grip on the wheel and tears streaming down her face.  “You were gone for an hour up there!” she cried. “I was afraid that something had happened to you so I had a prayer and started up the car.”  If courage is not a state of fearlessness but the determination to act in spite of fear, BJ brimmed with it.  As long as someone she loved was at the center of that need for courage.
But the last five years of her life changed all that. But BJ sternly warned against giving into the temptation to make them some kind of monument that defined her life rather than the preceding fifty four. In a rare moment of uncharacteristic, overt assertion, BJ made it clear that any memorial of her needed to focus on her life and not the details of her illness and death. She had no wish to be defined by her disease.
BJ had lived by these values throughout her life, back when no one could have imagined the onset of the unimaginably cruel disease which she endured with such dignity and grace.  Having lived her life in such a manner, could have faced its end in any other way? She did wrestle with the anger and the “Why Me? Questions”, with which all cancer patients appear to struggle, but only briefly. The faith she embraced 36 years before is blessed with abundance of scripture, and from the Book of Mormon came a passage that was to be her talisman through the successive re-occurrences of disease and the succession of difficult and painful treatments for them.
 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
Among the many notes and emails of condolence that Mark received in the last week was this from a friend, who had known Mark and BJ almost from the beginning of their marriage,
“…to make the distinction between BJ’s physical beauty and the beauty of her soul seems to me to be superfluous and perhaps even trivializes her.  Barbara was simply—beautiful”.  And so she is.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Eulogy for Barbara Lou Koops Armstrong

Barbara Lou Koops Armstrong was born January 8, 1928 in Cannonsburg, Michigan to Guy and Marion Eva Young Koops. According to family lore, the first few days of January that year were busy days for the family doctor. He had delivered a number of babies in Rockford on January 5th, 6th and 7th and the 8th was a cold and snowy Michigan winter day. The doctor arrived at the far away farmhouse, warmed himself by the potbelly stove and examined Marion, only to find that it wasn’t quite time to deliver the baby. So, he sat down to wait... and promptly fell asleep. When the time came, the family was unable to wake him up and Barbara was born while the good doctor slept in the chair.
When Barbara was two, her family moved to Rockford, where she lived most of her life. According to a history written by her son, David, she was a happy and mischievous child. One of her earliest memories was hearing her father talk about a car tire “blowing out.” Barbara imagined what a loud “bang” that would be, so she got some nails, put them in the street and then hid behind a hedge to watch and listen. Cars drove over the nails, but nothing happened. She put out more nails. Nothing. Then… unfortunately for Barbara... a milkman noticed the little girl running in and out of the street. He stopped his truck and found the nails. Then he found Barbara behind the hedge and “bawled her out good.”
Barbara grew up during the depression and remembered the hardships her family faced. Her mother went to work to make ends meet when Barbara was six and Barbara spent many hours alone or with her older brother, Roger. During this time, she developed a great love for reading. She told her family that she must have read every book in the public library.
In the sixth grade, a new boy with reddish hair was given the desk right in front of her. He had a nice smile and could run so fast that Barbara could never catch him… at first. But she tried. When he worked at a gas station, she would flatten her bicycle tires so that he would re–inflate them. They wound up spending the next several years going to football games and proms and they graduated from high school together. They were apart for a few years after that, but when the boy moved back from Arizona to Chicago to attend chiropractic school, they rekindled their romance... and that’s when Barbara finally caught him. On May 15, 1950, Dick Armstrong and Barbara Koops were married in the Rockford Methodist Church. They moved to Chicago, where Dick completed his final year of college.
Dick was a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Barbara was baptized into the Church in February of 1952. In August of that year, their first son, Allen, was born with severe medical complications. He endured a three hour operation on the day of his birth, followed by a second, longer operation within the week. On September 8, however, during a third operation, Allen died. The family was given special permission to attend the temple, even though Barbara had not been a member of the Church for the usual one-year waiting period, and on October 6, 1952, Barbara, Dick and Alan were sealed together as a family for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple. These eternal bonds as husband and wife, and father and mother, gave Barbara and Dick great comfort and peace during the trying times that would follow.
One month later, in November 1952, Dick was drafted into the Army to fight in the Korean conflict. He traveled to basic training at Camp Atterbury in Indiana and Barbara followed, getting a job in the camp office even though wives were discouraged from following their husbands to training. Dick was sent to the front lines in Korea and Barbara returned to Grand Rapids, working, serving in church callings and praying until Dick returned home and opened a chiropractic office there.
On August 24, 1955 their second son, Christopher Jay was born, followed by David Lee on April 3, 1959. Richard Allen (named after his father and his older brother) filled out the family on August 12, 1963, right after Dick closed his chiropractic office to open Wolverine Dispatch.
In 1961, Barbara hurt her back, an injury that affected her for the remainder of her life. There are several versions of what happened. She told some people that she was walking down the stairs with a load of laundry and felt a pain. Chris remembers that she was coming down the stairs to get him. David remembers hearing it was to get him. The pain became so severe that she underwent surgery to repair a slipped disk. But the operation was not successful, so a second operation was performed. A third operation the next year uncovered a staph infection from the second operation, and that kept her in the hospital for a month. Six months later, a metal rod was put in her back, but it caused an allergic reaction and was removed a year later. After five unsuccessful operations, Barbara determined that she would simply live with her discomfort and did so with grace throughout the remainder of her life. No matter the event, Barbara would be remembered sitting in the center of the activity with the brightest smile in the room.
Barbara loved serving in the church. She loved teaching the children in Primary; she loved working  in the library and she loved being a family history instructor. Like her sister-in-law Pauline Streeter, Barbara loved searching family records and bringing the blessings of eternity to her ancestors. She and Dick would often be seen together at Church activities in Grand Rapids, Belding and Greenville, where Barbara supported Dick as he served as bishop. Her family understood the importance of Barbara’s faith to her and the effect it had upon her life, describing her in her obituary as “a godly wife, mother and grandmother.”
But for all of the loves Barbara had in her life… love of her husband, her family, Church, serving others,  there are two loves that cannot be ignored. First, Barbara loved her music. Barbara was a fan of Barbra… Streisand, that is. And Garth Brooks. And Michael Bauble. She had a collection of about 150 CD’s that she would listen to, in order, from start to finish, and then start again. Chris remembers when this was a collection of 8–Track tapes. “The louder the better,” she would say. Many times, people would come to the door, hear the loud music and knock for minutes before Barbara would hear them and come to answer.
Second, Barbara loved her sweets. Especially chocolate. And ice cream. And cookies. When Dick worked at a soda fountain in high school, he would get in trouble for giving Barbara extra ice cream when she came in. Friends would tell her that she was “sweet as sugar” because sweets were all she liked to eat. The kids always knew that chocolate made the best Christmas or birthday gift.
Dick sold Wolverine Dispatch in 1997 and he and Barbara settled down to spend their retirement years together, splitting their time between a new house on Riverwoods in Rockford and a condo in Florida. While Florida was warm and beautiful in the wintertime, Barbara was always excited to come back to Michigan to be with her family, especially her grandchildren. Barbara and Dick celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2000 with a big event where family and friends whose lives they had touched, came to celebrate.
When Dick passed away in 2008, Barbara moved back to Rockford for good, living in the Riverwoods home, where she was joined by her granddaughter Sarah and family. Barbara loved the noise and the activity that surrounded her. She enjoyed her music. Chris bought her an iPod. David took her to see Neil Diamond at Van Andel Arena where she sang along to all of the songs. She also passed on her love of sweets to her great-granddaughter Mackenna. You see, to childproof a house, you move everything up and out of reach, but to Barb–proof a house, you move everything lower, so Barbara could get to it. Which is how Mackenna found the secret cookie stash. Mackenna, at two years old however, was smart enough to know that if she took two cookies, one for herself and one for Grandma Barb, she would never get in trouble. Even right before dinnertime. 
While not as mobile as she once was, Barbara loved the friends who would call or drop in to visit, take her to lunch and keep her up-to-date on what was happening in the world. And her friends loved her, too. One said, “Barb was so inspiring in the way she lived her life. I want to be more kind, to be of more service and to better follow her example.”
In August of this year, Barbara’s health began to deteriorate and she moved to Saint Mary’s Rehabilitation Center, where she passed away quietly on October 8, 2011, minutes after her son, Richard, came to say goodbye. Barbara is survived by her children, Christopher and Celeste Armstrong of Rockford, David and Julie Armstrong of Grandville and Richard and Merrill Armstrong of Rockford; 12 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; and her husband’s aunt, Byrdie Sarkees. She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard R. Armstrong, her son, Allen, her daughter-in-law, Pamela Armstrong, her brother, Roger Koops and her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Pauline and Harold Streeter.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

BJ Streeter

From Mark Streeter...
"The girl of my dreams has become the girl of my dreams, again."
--Gordon Bitner Hinckley on the passing of his wife.

And so it is with me; BJ got her release from her mortal mission Monday, October 10, 2011 at about 6:45PM CDT. With her customary quiet and subtlty, she took her leave with no noise, no fanfare and no soul cry--just so quietly that competent medical people took better than a half hour to determine that she no longer had a pulse. And for the long warfare she waged with her disease, it seemed to me that it was only the justice of heaven to leave this way for what she had already endured with courage and graciousness.

BJ's Obituary:

BJ Streeter

Born: October 13, 1952
Died: October 10, 2011
Services: The service for BJ will be Monday at 11:00 A.M. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2780 Leonard, NE, Grand Rapids, MI with Bishop Michael Robinaugh, officiating.
Visitation: Family and friends may greet BJ’s family on Sunday from 5-8 P.M. at the funeral home.
BJ (Barbara Jo) Streeter, age 58, of Sugar Land, TX, passed away at her residence on Monday, October 10, 2011. She graduated from Rochester High School in 1970 and then earned her AB degree from Oakland Community College. BJ worked as a Funds Manager for Houston Federal Credit Union. She was an active member and youth and women’s leader of the Richmond (TX) Second Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. BJ is survived by her loving husband, Mark Streeter; children, Colin Streeter, Houston, TX and Gillian Streeter, Sugar Land, TX ; mother, Mrs. Susan Hamburg, of Rochester Hills; brother, Mark and Mary Beth Hamburg, Morrow ,OH ; sister, Nancy and Robert Einheuser, Leonard, MI; brother, Robert and Anna Hamburg, Lebanon OR; aunt, Byrdie Sarkees, Grand Rapids; and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father, David Hamburg, brother, Patrick, and sister, Carol Beth Vanderventer. The service for BJ will be Monday at 11:00 A.M. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2780 Leonard, NE, Grand Rapids, MI with Bishop Michael Robinaugh, officiating. Interment will be in Rockford Cemetery. Family and friends may greet BJ’s family on Sunday from 5-8 P.M. at the funeral home.

Barbara Lou Koops Armstrong

Born: January 08, 1928
Died: October 08, 2011
Services: The service for Mrs. Armstrong will be Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at the Pederson Funeral Home with Bishop Gary Perras officiating. Interment in Rockford Cemetery.
Visitation: Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the funeral home on Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m.
Mrs. Barbara L. Armstrong, age 83, passed away on Saturday, October 8, 2011. She and her husband, Richard, were grade school sweethearts and graduated together from Rockford High School in 1941. In 1965 she and Richard started Wolverine Dispatch where she helped with the business. Barbara was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and was very active in the church. Her passion was genealogy, and she particularly liked helping at the church library. Barbara was a godly wife, mother, and grandmother. She had a love for good music. Barbara is survived by her children, Christopher and Celeste Armstrong of Rockford, David and Julie Armstrong of Grandville, and Richard and Merrill Armstrong of Rockford; 12 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; and her husband’s aunt, Byrdie Sarkees. She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard R. Armstrong, her son, Allen, her daughter-in-law, Pamela Armstrong, her brother, Roger Koops, her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Pauline and Harold Streeter.
Memorials: Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2780 Leonard St., NE, Grand Rapids.
Cemetery: Rockford Cemetery

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pauline Violet Williams Streeter

My grandmother Pauline Streeter passed away on November 29, 2010.
The following is her eulogy...

Eulogy for Pauline Violet Williams Streeter

Pauline Violet Williams Streeter was born March 18, 1926 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Paul and Violet Atwood Williams. Her father suffered from tuberculosis and died when Pauline was six. She only met him twice and remembers him primarily from photographs. 
Following her husband’s death, Pauline’s mother, Violet married John Armstrong. Soon after, Pauline’s grandmother Pearl Atwood’s ill-health and the Great Depression forced Pearl and the families of her nine children including  John, Violet, Pauline and younger brother Richard, to move across the country for work and to find a climate more favorable to Pearl’s asthma. The extended family made the trek, traveling with chickens in baskets tied to the sides of the cars and working on WPA projects across the country. Perhaps this early work ethic led to Pauline’s insistence in later years that there was no such thing as men’s work and women’s work—that all worked together equally on the task at hand. The family finally landed in Arizona, where they stayed until 1937, when war production for the European conflict which became World War II meant job opportunities back in Michigan and John became a tool and die maker, eventually working for GM.
Pauline was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a young girl in Michigan and throughout her life. Pauline’s grandmother, Pearl, was one of the earliest members of the Grand Rapids branch, joining in 1913. She had had a dream where she saw her two deceased brothers hunched over in a small prison cell, asking for her help. The dream continued until the day LDS missionaries came to the door. Frances heard their message of the plan of salvation and never looked back. Today, there are members of the sixth generation of Pearl’s family—Pauline’s great-grandchildren—still active in the church and in attendance at this service. 
Pauline remembered that church attendance in the early days was a little unstable. Once a sizable group formed, there would be a mass exodus to Utah, where members could enjoy fuller church resources. But the small numbers led to a sense of family, community and sometimes, pranks. Once, at the end of a humid summer Sunday night meeting, Dale Emery stood up and announced that “it’s too hot to go home tonight, so let’s all go over to the Streeter’s for ice cream!” Pauline, however, got even. The next week, she spoke in sacrament meeting and invited everyone over to the Emery’s for watermelon. The church grew, moving from rented halls to the Maejstic Theater to an old Bell Telephone building on Carlton Avenue to their own chapel on Bradford Street that the family helped build. Pauline and Harold were sealed in the Mesa temple in 1964.
Pauline attended Rockford Schools, where she was active in theater and graduated in 1945. In the seventh grade, she sat in front of a young man named Harold Rex Streeter, who delighted in tying her shoelaces together when she would sit with her feet back behind her desk, causing at least one public fall when she was stood to give a report. World War II broke out and Harold enlisted in the armed services, serving first in Italy and later in the Philippines. After basic training, however, he returned to Michigan where he and Pauline eloped to Muskegon Heights, to be married at a place where their names would not appear on the Kent County marriage rolls. (They called this an elopement, even though Pauline’s mother drove them to Muskegon Heights and back.) Harold went off to war, and Pauline went back to Rockford High School. Apparently, however, Harold got a little uneasy with the secrecy of their arrangement. He started sending letters home addressed to “Mrs. Harold Streeter.” First the postman, then everyone else in Rockford knew and the secret was out.
Pauline graduated from high school and attended beauty school. Harold mustered out of the service in 1946 and the couple moved to Arizona so that Harold could get an education under the GI Bill. Their daughter Pam was born the following year, which ended Harold’s education and the family’s Arizona adventure. They returned to Michigan, where Harold got a job at Fisher Body. Son Mark was born a few years later.
Pauline worked at an airplane assembly factory in Grand Rapids during the Korean conflict, riveting aluminum skins onto aircraft hulls at night until the birth of her third child, Val. A couple of years later, Randy was born. The family worked side by side, building their house on Northland Court. Since there was no men’s or women’s work, all joined in laying cement, digging tile fields and more. Harold and Pauline lived in that house for over fifty years.
Pauline loved the arts. In the 1960‘s, she was involved in theater, directing plays for church productions and at Rockford High School. Mark remembers a time when his mom and a friend decided they would read the entire works of William Shakespeare together. The friend lasted about a week, so Pauline enlisted Mark to take her place. They read Richard III, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It and more. Mark credits the experience with his lifelong joy of literature.
Pauline also worked out of the home for Stanley Home Products, sometimes holding parties as frequently as  three times in a day. She became a supervisor and a crown member of Stanley and the family remembers the “slave labor” of packing orders for Saturday customer pick-ups. Pam remembers turning 16, when her mother gave her a map, the keys to the car and a box of products to deliver. Pam says that’s how she learned the streets of Grand Rapids… and how to read a map. Years later, people would come up to Pauline and thank her for those parties and products.
Pam came home from college in 1968 to announce her engagement and Christmas wedding to Dave. That’s when Pauline announced that she was expecting a baby around Christmas as well. Pam said, I’m not joking.” Pauline said, “I’m not laughing.” And Tami was born that December, completing the family. 
As the family grew up and moved out of the house, Pauline kept busy with new activities. She took writing and computer classes at  the community college, getting “A’s” for her efforts. A story she wrote about Pam and her mother-in-law, Nellie Wadsworth, was published in the Reader’s Digest, earning Pauline $300. If you haven’t heard this story, you should ask a family member.
Then, Harold and Pauline were called to be temple workers in the Chicago temple. Their assignment was to live in Chicago for two weeks a month and to serve full time in the temple during those trips. Pauline considered this brief period of time one of the greatest blessings of her life. They were working at the temple on the day their granddaughter Holly Avery was sealed to her husband. They served for 22 months until Harold’s increasing memory troubles necessitated a release, and Pauline entered into her last great calling in this life, as a caretaker and companion to him.
The love of the temple and eternal families led Pauline to take an active interest in family history work. In the days before the Family Search website and standardized records, Pauline would sit with her papers, notes and books piled around her in the study, connecting with family members around the world as far away as Australia. She was an early computer adoptee for family history work—and an early adoptee of computer viruses. Family, friends and ward members received calls from Pauline to help fix something that broke on the computer. Once, she dialed a wrong number and after apologizing, asked the person on the line if he could help. He did.
After Harold’s passing, Pauline eventually became too weak to live on her own. She moved into Northview Manor for the last few months of her life where she was known to be happy, active, determined and always on the go, just like she was throughout the rest of her life. The walls there have a black stripe running around the perimeter, where a rubber guard from Pauline’s wheelchair rubbed against them as she made her rounds. About a week before she died, she sat up and exclaimed, “I saw a light. Harold is waiting for me. I’ve got to go.” She slipped into a coma and passed away on November 29, 2010. 
Pauline is survived by four of her five children (her son, Randy, passed away in 2004), 16 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren, two aunts, nieces, nephews and friends. She will be interred in the Rockford Cemetery.

I am also including a picture slideshow of Grandma's life...

Miss you Grandma!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Small Town News, Rockford, MI

from Larry Isberg:
More on the eye surgery story.  Ruth suffered from a detached retina and was referred to a surgeon in St. Louis from treatment.  As it was described to me the doctor 'spot welded' the retina back in place.  The surgery was new and and they were concerned about possible injury to the eye afterwards so the recovery period in the  hospital was several weeks.  Then she had an eye patch for a period.
Lila Streeter Isberg traveled with Ruth to St. Louis and stayed with her until she returned home.  The surgery was a sucess as Ruth had no additional vision problems afterwards (that I know of).  She still had to wear glasses.
Today I think the "spot weld" was done by laser and that she may have been an early patient in the development of that process which now is done quite routinely.
McMillan Hospital is now part of Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.  It is still a leading hospital in the midwest. In my days when I sold surgical instruments I called on Barnes Hospital. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

William Huckleberry Family

from Pam:  Here is a family picture of the Wm Huckleberrys and 2 sisters that need to be baptized by 2 sisters. Grandma wrote their names on the picture, Vera & Minnie. There is also a note regarding the family and other relatives, Elizabeth Boyle & Sarah Quick (notice the name of the place Sarah was born). In 1800, Sarah married Phillip Huckleberry and had a son named Jacob who married Susannah Boyle, who had a sister name Elizabeth -interesting?  

from Nikki:  On Saturday, October 16, 2010 in the LDS Palmyra New York Temple, both Minnie A. Huckleberry (b. July 1899 in MI) and Vera Huckleberry (2 July 1908 in Montcalm, MI) were baptized by proxy.  My daughters Jillie and Reagan were able to do that for them as well as the following family members:
Sarah Quick b. about 1780 in Quick's Run, Fayette, VA
Elizabeth Boyle b. 1800, daughter of John Boyle and Rosanna McLean
Mary Matilda Nutter b. in MI
Mary J. Spencer b. 1840 in Canada, daughter of Samuel Spencer and Elizabeth Ward
Charisse Spencer b. 1853 in Canada, daughter of Samuel Spencer and Elizabeth Ward
Lula E Cornell b. Aug 1886 in MI, daughter of Thaddeus Cornell and Esther Brown
Ellen b. 15 Jan 1824
Melissa Youngs b. 3 December 1825 in Otsego, NY
Elizabeth Lillie b. Michigan daughter of Silver Lillie and Amanda Clemans
Elizabeth Ward b. 1820 in Canada
Sarah Streeter b. 1831 in MA, daughter of Erastus Streeter and Sara Gilligan
Emma Streeter b 1850 in MA, daughter of Erastus Streeter and Sara Gilligan

Monday, October 4, 2010

Violet Janey Atwood Williams Armstrong

Here is a favorite picture of my Grandma. She is on a scaffolding, staining the ceiling of the old Bradford Street (Grand Rapids, MI) chapel.  She is probably 25 feet up, doing a chore many of the men couldn't dare do.  She and my Mom taught me gender isn't a factor with most projects.

Conversation about Violet Atwood Armstrong

from Nikki Wadsworth Garrick
I heard the story once from a ward member who knew Grandma Vi.   (Marion Ramirez)   Anyhow, she told me once that Grandma Vi had a teasing relationship with the missionaries.   I believe she said once the elders swiped a pie from her house that she'd made. When she found out they'd done it, she made them another pie- a chocolate pie... made with ExLax!

from Sunny Wadsworth Tangren

Oh I know I've heard alot of stories about Grandma Vi and practical jokes. I seem to remember one that had to do with a glass that had a hole in it so that it would dribble down the shirt of the one who was drinking and one about one of the missionaries dressing up in grandma's pjs and the other missionary hopping into bed and then hopping out of bed screaming and falling to his knees.   then there was one abouat a couch and electric wire woven in the fabric.   Am I mixing my stories here?

from David Wadsworth
The stories about the drinking glass and the wire in the couch sound exactly like the ones I've related about an elderly sister that I knew in 
California while on my mission.

from Pam Streeter Wadsworth
I think the story you heard was when Grandma was a young woman. Traveling missionaries (zone leaders) would stay with members when in their area. There was a standing invitation at my Great Grandma Pearl Atwoods home, so when these Elders came in late one night, they just went to the bedroom where they always slept -this happened to be Byrdie's bedroom. One of the Elders was a clown and loved to give his companion, a "straight arrow", a hard time. The "clown" got to the bedroom 1st & found a nightgown of Byrdie's & put it on & climbed into bed with the lights out. The "straight arrow" came into the room, left the lights out, got undressed & climbed into bed. The moment he felt the satin nightgown, he was sure it was Byrdie & jumped out of bed, hitting the floor on his knees, praying for forgiveness.
I don't remember the story about the ExLax, but it sounds like something she would do.   She told me when she was working in a factory as a young woman, she had some tedious job of stacking a washer, bolt & nut together & placing them in rows on a tray. To keep from going crazy, she would make a game of seeing how fast she could fill the tray. She would just begin the last row when some guy would come up, take her tray & put an empty one down to start all over. She said he did that to her about 3 times when she had had enough. She threatened him if he touched her tray one more time before it was full, he would have a "bloody stub instead of a hand". He didn't do that again. She was a tough lady.   When Mark & I went to the hospital to have our tonsils removed, you had to stay 3 days. Grandma stayed with us the entire time, sleeping on a chair between us. The nurses argued because you were not allowed to stay nights with kids, but she prevailed. I was 7 & it embarrassed me, but I was sure glad she stayed with us in that scarey place. She would do anything for her family.

from Gillian Streeter
Dad told about having his tonsils out. We feel we have a connection because he bit the doctor's fingers and I bit my dentist's fingers as a child (and I still think he mostly had it coming). Ah, memories...