Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Grams Eulogy

Hello, my name is Kelly Marie Hamon, I am Bessie Marie Kersten Witt's oldest granddaughter, I am saddened I can’t be here with you today but my Mother has asked me to write Grams Eulogy.

Thank you for being here, my gram would be pleased that so many have come to be with the family.

A friend, Donna Edwards, in condolence said to me on facebook, "It's so hard to lose someone you love Kelly. I know she would want you to remember her in her happy times. This life was never meant to be permanent, and when they get to the end we need to let our loved ones go on.”  

..They want us to be comforted, and Donna is right, Grams would love this gathering to be an uplifting event and for us to be happy when we remember her. So I am grateful for this opportunity to talk to you today about this great women, Bessie Marie Kersten Witt.

Gram grew up during the depression. Her father had been a carpenter and built their home and some others too, but during the depression they lost their home. One of the things he did to earn money to feed his family was play what gram called “his fiddle” at dance halls.

When people live through difficult times, some become bitter and selfish, but not gram. When she would discover someone was lacking something she tried to find a way to fill that need.

I remember visiting her many times and noticing that she had a different kitchen table or couch or even book shelves, always less nice than what she had before. I learned the reason was that she knew someone who needed those things and gave her’s away.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were pretty big events for gram. She would make sure everyone within her sphere of influence that she could, had a place to go to for dinner and would invite those that didn’t and expect them to come to her home.

We never knew who all would come for the holiday’s until just before but we always had a full house.

Thanksgivings she would would solicit what everyone's favorite pies were and make sure she had them on hand. I remember one year there were more pies than there were entrees.

Born: 29 September 1923, in Tonawanda, New York as Bessie Marie Kersten to parents, Fritz Franz Kersten and Nellie Elizabeth Bailey. She had an older sister Lois Nellie Kersten (married name Daugherty) and an older brother Alvin William Kersten.

Grams was married September 1947 to Dewey Henry Witt. They seemed like the quintessential couple, they did every thing together; skied, swam, camped, danced, and played chess. They had two children Kathy Marie Witt Baron and Mark Paul Witt.

Her grandchildren are Kelly Marie Baron Hamon, Lisa Marie Witt Sexton, and Christopher Witt. Her great grandchildren; Emma Marie Sexton, Sydney Julie Sexton, Victoria Eleanor Sexton, Travis Kimball Hamon, Bryan Andrew Hamon, Karri Danielle Hamon Mourtisen, Garrett William Hamon and Grant Stuart Hamon.
Her sister Lois was 4 years older than her, and Alvin just 1 year older. Lois being the eldest took the role of semi-mother at times which caused some friction. Alvin and gram, called the twins, were best of friends and got in to all kinds of trouble. When gram would talk about Alvin she would either have a glint of mischief or a tear in her eye.

She told me one day when Lois was being particularly motherly and scolding the two of them, they ran up into the attic; Lois was hot on their tails as they doubled back locking Lois in the attic.

For grams 80th birthday - Lois was asked to write down some memories about gram,  she told me how as kids they lived in Tonawanda and there was an open sewer that their mother specifically told them not to play in or around.

One day they decided it just looked to tempting and played in the sewer and were surprised when they got back home and their mother knew exactly where they had been.

Aunt Lois also remembered gram loved visiting her own grandmother and loving to scrunch deep under the down blankets.

Bessie and Lois
as Young women
 One of the great things about gram was that she was very charitable toward others, even at a young age;

Her sister remembered gram making friends with a deaf/mute girl who lived in their neighborhood, Lois said that gram learned some sign language just to be able to communicate with her.

Sisters and friends
Some of grams favorite things were baking, cooking and  sewing (she sewed several things for family and friends–Sue Tag was reminiscing about how she helped sew for her family).

She loved reading her scriptures and mystery's, she loved the color pink, butterflies, helping people, traveling around looking at the country side, visiting with friends and she loved babies (she had a number of pictures of the babies of people she had just met–you could say of gram she never met a stranger): she loved holidays, education, math, spending time at the lake with her friends, Jesus Christ–she had an abiding faith in him, and her family.

She used to tell me “a person is lucky if they find just one best friend in life” I fortunately met and married mine. One of Grams best friends was Betty Goddell, who passed away some years ago. Betty and she met when both families lived in Newfane in a trailer court.

Betty’s son told me that when Betty and Gram were younger, that there was a very popular store in Lockport that they would shop at, but there wasn’t enough parking spots, so Gram would get out of the car while Betty drove around the block while Gram look for a car pulling out–then gram would rush over and hold the parking spot by standing in it.  This was very productive but not always popular with other drivers.

Gram was a smart, strong and independent women. During her youth and young womanhood it was barely heard of a women attending college let alone studying math–well gram did.

She worked for some time in the engineering department at Bell Air Space. Bob Goodell remembers when his younger brother had troubles learning how to use the slide rule, even after his father showed him, so Betty called gram up and told her, gram had Betty send her son over to her house and she taught him how to use a slide rule. I remember she would help me with my math homework, interestingly I went on to become a math high school teacher.

One of the many lessons I learned from gram was how to make her famous dressing. which I continue to make every year.

It always reminds me of the times I spent with gram and my cousin Lisa making it. Gram would have us over to her house the night before Thanksgiving and Lisa and I were assigned a very important task, we were given a number of large bags of bread to break into small pieces and place in a big bowl.

The next day gram would sauté onions, celery and sausage. Next she would combine the veggies, meat and   bread adding a couple of eggs – Here was the great lesson, we would mix all the ingredients together with our bare hands–She taught me that you have to get your hands dirty to make good food–-that’s how you put the love in it. That’s what made her food taste so good.

There are many things she taught me by example, love for education, how to be an independent women, how to show love and charity, love for her family and that strong faith in Jesus Christ and her Heavenly Father

In closing I would like to, allow her to speak to you about her faith and family:

For Christmas 1994, gram asked me what I would like as a gift - I asked for a personal letter, and this is it:
I know that gram loved all of her family like this.

And I know that my redeemer lives and that we will be reunited with our loved ones again free of the shackles and trials of this life. I say this in the name of our loving Savior Jesus Christ, amen

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Gramma's Favorite Things

Butterflies---she had them all around her
apartment--she even made some out of fabric and pipe cleaners

Christmas---she used to like to say "He's the reason for the season" she has an abiding faith in the Savior and Heavenly Father

Cats and kittens---I remember years ago she adopted a kitten that only had three legs. Gram always loved and cuddled and petted my mom's cat QC and our past cats Tiger and Snowball and used to laugh at their antics.

Dogs---she used to love petting and giving my pup love

All the different shades of the color pink, one of her favorite things to wear was a cranberry colored jumper to church



Thanksgiving--she loved making every one who came to our festivities, their own pie. She would ensure every one within her sphere of influence had a place to go for the holidays. The holiday dinners were always an adventure, because you never knew who would be there.

Cottage CheeseCottage cheese--she loved finding and inventing recipes that used cottage cheese, ie cottage cheese pie, cottage cheese jello, cottage cheese mac and cheese


Carousels and of course family--I love her smile in this picture

Nutcrackers--she had all kinds of them

Stuffed Peppers---and "any thing that has spaghetti sauce in it"---memory of her daughter Kathy Baron

Chinese food----"she used to say 'I don't like Chinese food' so one day I asked her 'have you ever had Chinese food' she said 'no' and I asked her 'than you don't know if you like it or not'"---memory of her daughter Kathy Baron

One day while visiting her favorite niece Janet, in Virginia, she tried Chinese food and came home declaring that she loved it.--memory of her granddaughter Kelly Hamon

Making home made soup, I remember she sharing it with me and my mom quite a few times---funny thing is if she made chicken or turkey soup there was always some kind of bone we would find in it


Driving around and visiting with friends and family---she used to use the word "gallivanting"

Reading--some of her favorite authors were Mary Higgins Clark, James Michener, Murder She Wrote--she loved mystery's

Lovely Baby 

Babies--it didn't matter whose baby it was (friend, family, doctor, nurse), but gram would put their picture up on her wall. She loved her great grand-babies

Her Family


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Kelly's Wedding, July 19, 2008

LDS Palmyra Temple 
 Gram, Me and Peggy
Me, Gram, and Dan
Me and Dan 
Dan and Me--it was raining when we first came out of the temple
Gram and me--pink is one of her favorite colors 
Cathy, Susan, Me, and Peggy---my adopted sisters 
Cathy, Susan, Peggy, and Me 
Dan, Miri (Dan's sister) and Chuck (Miri's husband--once was Dan's companion on his mission) 
Dan and Miri
Me, Gram and Dan 

 Peggy and Me--after the rain it was incredibly sunny and hot
 The beautiful gift my adopted sisters made for our wedding 
 Dan, Mom and Me
Mom and Me