Sad News

It is with a heavy heart, that I need to inform you that my dear wife, Aggie, passed away the morning of September 11, 2013. The following is a tribute that was given at her funeral:
WORDS OF REMEMBRANCE
Everyone here today has been touched by Aggie at some point in their life. We would like to celebrate those times in the next few moments and how she showed us how to live a life that Christ wants for all of us.
Born January 25, 1942, number 10 of 14 children, Aggie showed us very early in her life, what she would be like. She understood Jesus’s command to “Love one Another as I love you” when at a large family reunion Sunday picnic, where kid races for prizes were common entertainment…..speedy Aggie sacrificed her lead and turned back to help her faltering younger sister, so she too could finish the race.
A blind date, a night of dancing and fun at New Munich Ballroom, our first kiss of goodnight on her front porch, prompted her to say “It must be Infatuation!”. I was not good in English and didn’t know what the word meant….I agreed because the word had a nice ring to it. It was the spark that led to a beautiful 49 years of wedded life. She knew what she wanted in her husband hunt….I was lucky enough to pass the test.
Aggie never felt completely loved unless you said it. “Don’t just do it, Say it!…and often”, she would say to me. For me, a tough German man, that was hard to learn because my culture was not free with words when it came to love. But I have learned—It is important to express your love to others, which Aggie instilled in her family and everyone she met. It is the frosting on the cake, complete love is what so many are missing in the world today.
The Lord said “We must want to serve, not be served, to have eternal life in him” , a very simple and clear message. Aggie did just that. First a nurse, then a servant to her growing family of six children, then a teacher’s aide for many children at St Mary’s school, then an innkeeper for 18 years—where she provided respite for over 10,000 strangers from all over God’s green earth, a warm, inviting “Hi, my name is Aggie. Welcome to Cedar Rose Inn!”. So much empathy, so much passion,that human connection that relaxed total strangers immediately so they could rest, meditate, and re-align their lives in the comforts of a beautiful old historic home which she totally shared, which she decorated, delicious meals she cooked, a conversation at breakfast that she initiated….all with a “Servant’s Heart” as so many guests have told her. She continued to be this servant until her tired body could no longer withstand the pain 2 months ago.
Aggie also carried God’s work into the community and St Mary’s Church in so many ways. To name a few—–Meals on wheels, Tapestry of Faith, the Cedar Rose Girls Cancer support group, Alexandria hospitality board, and many, many others. She knew what Stewardship meant by endorsing, living and loving nature. Her beloved walks in the woods, and the wild prairie, which she helped restore and shared with so many. Her practicing recycling of waste, recycling of old furniture by her talent for restoration, finding old treasures at garage sales, fixing them up for everyone to enjoy at the inn or give as gifts. Her generous giving of time and money to the church and others in need, her constant command to all to put God first in our lives through prayer, adoration, meditation and gathering at mass, as He said “For whenever two or more gather in my name, I am there”.
Aggie was not only a Hospitality Queen, she also loved to party and host parties. She loved wine so much that she and I started our own vineyards and winemaking….wine she actually help make for the Eucharistic Celebration today. The vineyards are a very special place where she could spend working many hours in silence with the Lord (and me). I can still hear her talking to the grapevines during cold winter pruning…..saying things like “You can’t grow way over there, I’m sorry but I am going to have to discipline you” as she cut off the out-of-control branch and it dropped to the ground. She used this same philosophy when raising her beautiful children. Jesus said “ a branch that does not bear fruit must be cut down and thrown in the fire”. We all need to be pruned of our bad habits and sins if we wish to bear good fruit. She practiced this discipline for her children in a firm but kind manner which is why they loved her so much. It was not easy for her but she knew her role as a mother.
Aggie’s life did not come without pain and suffering. Her acute MS in 1978 left her with many reoccurring aches and pains that perhaps only I knew as she was quick to subdue any sympathy or draw any attention to herself. Her breast cancer in 2006, cured, and then returned this year with a vengance that claimed her beautiful voice, the use of her legs, and eventually every ounce of her energy. But even as she lay paralyzed and exhausted in her bed, she wrestled up the strength to flash that beautiful loving smile….and of course give a little last minute advise and subtle humor, before she faded back into sleep. She didn’t pursue God for the why, She accepted her cross with dignity and reiterated her favorite saying of her Mother’s many,many times…”Keep on, Keeping On.”
The thousands of prayers and thoughts that so many offered to God for Aggie and our family were not offered in vain. God has answered by providing a legacy of life that all of us can remember to help us attain eternal life with Him.
Throughout her life SHE SHOWED ALL OF US HOW TO LIVE, the last few weeks SHE SHOWED US HOW TO DIE, but more importantly, she taught us HOW TO LOVE as she shared with us her line “Always remember me, Loving you”. Aggie, your example and spiritual presence will be with our family and all those here forever! We love you and pray for us! You are our Saint!