Thursday, January 28, 2021

Passing of an ERA...Arny's Mother, Euleda, Dies at Age 98 Years Old


Euleda Funk Auernig - 1922-2020

I first met Euleda, Arny's (my brother-in-law) mother, back in the 1980's as a "Friend of Mom's".  Mom and Dad lived in a 55+ community, and Euleda lived in the same type of community which essentially was right next door.  My children were very young, and we were actually living in Utah while I attended college. On a visit to Sacramento, Euleda just happened to be at mom and dad's, or mom asked us to walk over to her place, when we first met.  First impression, "What a nice lady..."  Euleda just had this "Niceness" about her.  Nice smile, so friendly, and she told us how adorable my children were. 

Marcia and I started our travels in 2012, and for these last eight years I really got to know Euleda.  I did not take many pictures of her the first couple of years, especially when she was still in her right mind and was getting use to people seeing her without her wig on.  The first picture I could find of Euleda is on Mother's Day, 2015.  She would sit in the chair for 2 time periods each day, from 9 to 1, and 4 to 7.  A wheelchair would be used to move her from her bed to bathroom to her chair, to the bathroom and back to bed, twice each day.  When she weighed around 120 lbs, it would normally take two people.  When we were there, I would help Arny with moving her, getting her on and off the toilet, just about anything like that they needed.  Most weekdays they had a aide who helped...but they would not always be able to come for both morning and early afternoon shifts.  Sandy was there to help with the late afternoon and evening times, and for the weekends.  There was also periods of time that she was in Utah where her youngest son Mel and his wife and young children live...up until the final couple of years when travel just could not take place.

Above is one of the last pictures I had of her sitting up, taken in 2018.  Sister Patti (sitting next to our mom) and I would give Sandy and Arny a break a few times each year, allowing them to go to Reno for a weekend, or just out to dinner on a Friday or Saturday night.

By 2019 Euleda was confined to a bed, so Sandy and Arny found a hospital bed which was put into their family room.  For nearly two years she stayed in the bed 24 hours a day.  It was easier on those who were taking care of her because it did not require as much lifting...but we can only think that it was hell on Euleda.  By the time we saw here last year, she rarely gave any indication that she knew who we were.  It was hard to watch her in this steep when her time on earth ended, and after many prayers by those that loved her so much for the Lord to come and get her, she passed away peacefully Tuesday, December 29, 2020.  She was 98 years old.

Euleda was born December 10, 1922 as Euleda Funk.  She married very young to who would become Arny's biological dad by the name of Becker...a marriage which did not last very long (thank goodness for her and Arny's sake.)  in 1945 she graduated from a Beauty College in Salem Oregon, and went to work at a Salon in Pocatello.  The local newspaper in Aberdeen, where she grew up, had an article about it which they also ran in their "Looking Back" section on June 10, 2015.

Above is another "Looking Back" article which announced her marriage to her longtime husband, and a great father for Arny and biological father to Arny's brother Mel.  This article ran July 22, 1976 as a "30 years ago" and again on July 27, 2016 as a "70 years ago".  They were married on July 4, 1946.  For the most part Arny stayed in Aberdeen and was raised by his Euldea's parents, but he had a very close affection to his new father, and frankly had little to do with his biological father.


Little local newspapers had a habit of publishing any type of news they could get their hands on.  The above three articles each ran in 1955.  There were other articles like these three in the newspaper, but the above three provide a glimpse into Euleda's life back in 1955.

A very large and important part of Euleda's life was working for ZCMI, Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution.  ZCMI is a department store founded by Brigham Young in Salt Lake City back in 1868.  Euleda (Funk) was raised in the Mennonite Church.  In Aberdeen back then there were two churches, the Mennonites and the Mormons.  Working for ZCMI they saw something special in the young Mennonite Lady, and by 1967 she was the "Silver Buyer" for the entire store, along with being the buyer and most knowledgeable person as it came to Crystal items.  For the Mormon Church to have a non-Mormon is such an important position shows you what moral character Euleda had.  She would go on trips to Europe, to the Far East, anywhere she needed to go to find and procure Silver and Crystal for ZCMI.    

But her family was always her number one love.  In 1986 the Aberdeen newspaper ran an article on the birth of her great-granddaughter Brittany, who still lives in the Sacramento area.  Euleda had two boys, Arny had five boys, Mel did not have any children until late in life (he has a girl and boy both under 10 years old now), so in 1986 it was a big deal when the Great-Great-Granddaughter of Herman Funk, Great-Granddaughter of Euleda, Granddaughter of Arny was born to Arny's oldest son Rob and wife Coleen.  Fortunately for the Arny's family, his children and most of his grandchildren and even great-grandchildren were able to see Euleda in November and/or December.  During these COVID times, it just was not practical for Mel's young family to come out from Utah.  It is doubtful that Euleda even knew they were there.  But in previous years, she would light up like a light bulb being turned on whenever her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren came, and she knew her oldest great-great grandchild, and perhaps her second one too.

Here is 5 generations!  Behind Euleda is her Son Arny, Arny's son Rob, Rob's daughter Kelsey, Kelsey's daughter Brielle.  The other two lady's are Rob's mother and Rob's grandmother.  This was taken less than 2 years ago, and Euleda even had a smile on her face!

Sometimes when I had the opportunity to watch Euleda (when Arny and Sandy were away), I would talk to her about her life, places she went, people she met.  Instead of asking, "What countries have you been to?", I would ask her, "Have you ever been to France?"  Many times her face would light up, like when I asked her about Paris, London, Tokyo, places like that.  Occasionally she would say, "I don't know if I have ever been there...", like when I asked her about if she had been to Yellowstone.  When I pointed out that Aberdeen is in Yellowstone's backyard, she would smile and say, "You know, I think I have been there...yes, I know I have."

It is never fun to get old.  I just recently got on medicare...and I can feel it whenever a cold front blows through (like it did last night).  Marcia always tells me, "Don't get old David...its hell," at which point I reminder her that I am old...just not as old as her...and then I duck in case she throws something at me!  All of us who saw Euleda deteriorate these past 5-10 years all have the same feeling..."I don't want to live like that..."  She knew that I was in the bathroom holding her up as Arny or Sandy or Patti or a caregiver pulled her clothes down so that could set her on the could not have been a pleasant experience for her.  But you know, she NEVER complained about it to me.  As I held her up my head would be along her head to where I could talk into her ear.  I would say, "You know, we have to stop meeting like this...", and she would laugh. By the time she was just laying in bed all day and night, and as she lost her ability to know what was going on around her, it was just sad. 

She was a real joy to get to know these past 8 years as we made our yearly visit out to California. Rest in Peace my dear lady ... and give Blacky (that is what she called Bubba) and Brownie (that is what she called Skruffy ... she had Macular Degeneration) a big hug for us...along with a great big hug to dad too.

Below are a few more pictures that my sister sent.  (She sent the opening blog picture which is in a frame, and the five generation picture also above.)

 Note:  Yes, it has been a month since she passed.  Don't know why I waited so long but I did.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Has A Month REALLY Gone By?

Wow, my last post was right after Christmas...that was nearly a month ago.  Just haven't had much to blog about I guess.  We have been enjoying fairly mild temps, with a few nights down into the low 40's and perhaps high 30's, but at least into the 50's, and typically the 60's, and some days in the 70's during the afternoon hours.  

Marcia had her first Doctor's appointment earlier this week, and low and behold, to the Doctor's surprise, her Cholesterol has dropped from around 320 two years ago, to 220 this year.  They have wanted to put her on a 'Statin' drug for the past four years...she has always said "NO!"  Then she names person after person, most relatives, who were on 'Statins' and they are all dead now.  She feels the 'Statin's' mask the issue, it does not correct it.  Well, her weight came down another few pounds, and sticking to the low carb diet, and a little less Bacon and Sausage and more Veggies and now Fruit, there has been no change in anything she has been doing.  The Doctor was more than pleased at all of Marcia's numbers.  

While there, I talked to the Doctor about becoming my primary doctor now that I am on Medicare and not 'chained' to Arkansas Doctors any more through my retirement insurance.  She said "Sure...I am a Family Doctor, and have lots of family members that are in my care."  However, the first appointment for a new patient is late April, so we will be here in Florida probably until my youngest son's 'Wedding Ceremony' in July up in Ohio.  They did get married last July, but not with anyone there.  Like many others, they have decided to hold a one-year 'Wedding Ceremony' on the anniversary date.  After that, we will make our way back to California, route unknown at this time.

I wanted to share a couple of videos of Indy watching TV.  Above is a one minute video of her watching an SPCA commercial.  Notice how intent she is watching this commercial, and at the end how she gets up on her hind legs to get a 'closer look'.  This behavior is very typical of her every day.

This second video is her watching a similar commercial, but this time she goes back behind the TV looking for the animals she saw on the screen.  This too is a common occurrence.

Here is Indy in the need of a hair cut.

Mission accomplished.  She was so good in letting me cut her hair, and I think it turned out real well.  Of course, after her hair cut she KNOWS she gets a special treat...her favorite, although she only gets maybe one per week, a hot dog...normally 1/4 or so at a time but today she got a half of one.  After yesterday's hair cut, she came in through the sliding glass window (I cut her out on our covered patio area) and she runs to the kitchen.  When I get there, I open the fridge door and she nearly jumps inside it.  The girl LOVES her hot dogs.

A trip to the dog park is a real treat for her.  In fact, we can't even say "D Park" anymore because she KNOWS that means Dog Park.  When I take her to the Library, I have to say "The Book Place".  She gets SO EXCITED to go to either place, but the Dog Park is her most favorite.

I get her over to the dog park at least once per week, and to the library (which is 1/4 of a mile away) about four times per week.  Above are four pictures which represent a few of the visits over the past month.  One time she was essentially alone, but today she was one of eight or nine dogs in the small dog park, and she had a blast.  Last week I pulled in, took a long way around the parking lot, and parked a bit further away than normal...I wanted to see how long it would take for her to know where we were.  After I parked she got on my lap and I rolled down my window so she would look out there instead of the front window.  She looked, smelled, looked, whined, turned her head and saw the dog park...I could barely contain her as she wiggled and squirmed begging to get out and over to the park.  Yep, she LOVES the Dog Park.

No promises, but I will try to do better, and I will 'try' to clean up the good camera, charge it, and hunt down some Florida pictures.