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 decline...so 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 toilet...it 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.


6 comments:

  1. It's really great that you have all this history. I have no history at all about either of my Grandmothers or their mothers. Nothing was ever written down, or even talked about. Passing this history along to your family is important. I'm sure Euleda is resting in peace. I agree with Marcia ... it's hell getting old.

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    1. Arny was surprised that I found so much so quickly yesterday. Small towns with newspapers can be a wealth of info. With you, unfortunately a lot of the family history is under Lake Isabella. :)

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  2. Our sympathy goes out for you and the family for the loss of a special Friend and Family member. That's why it took so long to write about it because she was so special.
    Be Safe.

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  3. What beautiful memories. Thank you for sharing. Back in my youth the Yuma Daily Sun, now the Yuma Sun, had articles like the newspaper articles that you posted. Even as a child I enjoyed reading those articles and looking at the 5 generation pictures. May God bless you all.

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    1. Thank you Elva...perhaps our 'world' would be much better off if newspapers still ran good healthy articles like these. Now days, many small newspapers are owned by a group which owns many small papers and they run a few local stories and the rest is junk stuff.

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