Date Honored: January 2008
My mother became a widow when my father was killed in a trucking accident. I was a high school junior and my sister, Donna, was in seventh grade. Mom was left with two children and very little else but her faith, her family, and her friends. Since she did not own a home, she lived first with my uncle and his family, and then moved in with my grandparents that she might care for them. Fortunately, mother had been able to graduate from high school. To feed herself and care for her family, she went to work for her brother-in-law who owned a florist shop. There she worked as a bookkeeper, floral arranger, and common laborer. She knew how to work and she worked hard. She never earned more than the minimum wage, and yet was able to see her children get through college and beyond. She was a caregiver. Beside working five and a half days a week and often walking home, mother cared for her parents until their deaths, then a sister when she became terminally ill. Even after retirement this noble giver cared for relatives and neighbors when they became ill. Her social outing was to gather with friends to make quilts for charity. Mother found strength and consolation in the Bible and almost never missed a church service. She was a fixture in the parish hall cleaning and serving for numerous funerals and celebrations. This may sound unbelievable, but I never heard her speak a vulgar or obscene word. She was loath to call attention to herself and was embarrassed by compliments. Most who knew her would testify that she was a virtuous woman.
~ Eugene Ahlswede
Mae was special because she was a true great lady. From pies to gardens to handmade quilts, she warmed all of our lives. Widowed young, she nurtured and raised her two children independently, seeing her son ordained a minister and her daughter made a teacher. Through all the difficult years, there was never a soul who was not made to feel welcome in her kitchen. A florist for years, she loved all things. And when her friends and relatives began failing, it was her gentle touch that cared for and comforted them. Most inspirational of all, however, was her lifelong faith in God. And when the day came that He chose to call her home, her faith embraced us all. When she received His invitation, we all could feel her peace. She left us as she lived with us – a loving, strong, true great lady of faith.
~ Donna Kahrs