Eulogy by Jerry Rivard, May 3, 2004

My mother always tried to keep things simple. She was a very smart woman - she had graduated from a very fine high school and she loved to read, and always encouraged us to read, and to study hard - but she always knew that the most important things in life were simple things.

I remember once, when I was very young, I heard my mother say that someone or other had a “great sense of humor”. I asked her what that meant. I said “Does that mean telling a lot of jokes?” And she answered, “No, anybody can tell jokes. It means being able to laugh at yourself”. As young as I was, I never forgot that.

Because, as hard as my mother worked every day, taking care of eleven noisy kids, cooking, cleaning, buying groceries, buying clothes for us, refereeing our arguments, and fights, making sure we did our homework, she never lost the ability to laugh at herself. She taught us, not by words, but by what she did every day, that there is joy in life, joy that comes from love, love that comes from God.

She loved life, because she got joy from seeing other people enjoy life. She always looked for the good in everyone she met, and she brought out the best in those around her.

She really, truly believed that God made us to be happy, and that the only way to be happy is to make the people around you happy. She could make other people laugh because she could always laugh at herself. She never had one ounce of snobbery or pretension in her. She could certainly get angry sometimes, as we all can remember, since we weren’t exactly perfect ourselves - but you always knew where you stood with her - she was utterly incapable of any phoniness.

She was always honest, always generous, always forgiving. She was so grateful for everything God had given her, especially for the love of a man who loved her as much as she loved him, that she only wanted to share that with her children, her grandchildren, her friends, and anyone else lucky enough to know her. She always preferred laughter to tears, so that is what we will remember when we think of her. She left too much good behind to ever really leave us.