Friday, June 28, 2013

In Memory of Geoff Anderson 1945-2012

Geoff Anderson
This weekend, June 22, our family had the memorial for my brother-in-law, Geoff Anderson.  He died at the young age of 67...a year older than the age my father died.  There are many great qualities about Geoff that I could write about, but this posting would be many pages long if I attempted this.  Yes, he was intelligent and had a gift with words.  Yes, he was one of the most well read people I have known (not counting my sister, Linda, his wife).  But, to me, I remember Geoff as having the ability to make each person he talked to feel like s/he was the center of his attention.  This was part of who he was....he cared about people...relatives, friends, and those he just happened to meet...even if it be for just one time.

 He was always looking out for the 'little guy'...or those who did not have a strong voice.  At his wake in November, many people told me that Geoff helped many different ways...from pep talks and encouraging words, supporting them at times of despair, to writing references for them.  A group representing the Hispanic community provided tasty food for Geoff's family.  They told me that he was a major support for them when it was not 'popular'.

My sister, Linda, planned the memorial service.  It was simple, touching and beautiful.  We were fortunate that Geoff wanted his ashes buried in the small country cemetery of Ebenezer Church near Vernon, Indiana.  There are seven generations of our family buried there...and with only about 127 graves...most of them are ancestors of mine.  The pictures I will include can do more in showing the, quiet, and peaceful.  Geoff felt a connection with this little cemetery...and now there are eight generations of family buried at Ebenezer.

Ebenezer Church began in Judge James William Prather's home in 1816

Inside Ebenezer United Methodist Church

Geoff's brother, Danny digging the hole for ashes.

It may seem strange that we dug the hole for Geoff's ashes ourselves, but in seemed to make the whole memorial more personal.  Danny, my sister, my husband, Ray, and I did this the day before the memorial...well, Danny did the digging and the rest of us watched and gave advice.

We posted signs with arrows to help friends and relatives to locate the church.  It is tucked away down a gravel lane between a wooded area and corn fields. (Thank you to my niece Maggie, her boyfriend, Mike and my childhood friend since first grade, Karen for helping with the signs.  I would have never gotten them all out without your help.)  People traveled from both coasts, Boston, Maryland, Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee and Indiana to be part of this memorial.  Some got lost and had to call for directions.

Gravel lane to Ebenezer.  Friends arriving.

Lynn, George and Janie...and Little Gracie

Rob and Bill discussing their adventures in finding the church

 When all had arrived, Danny rang the church bell which brought  feelings sadness and joy to me....sadness, because the world lost a remarkable man...sadness for my sister who lost her best friend and husband...sadness for his children....but joy in being able to celebrate his life in such an intimate setting knowing he would approve.

The tolling bell also reminded me of the little country church we attended when I was a child, Salem Methodist.  And my heart was warmed when I saw friends from that church, Kathy, Lucia and their mother, Maxine sitting in the straight back pews of Ebenezer. How kind of them to join us.
My friend since first grade, Karen, also came. Even though we live hundreds of miles apart and rarely get to visit, we have always been a support for each other. 
I don't have space to write each person's name, although I want to.  We had cousins from across the country join us.  This was the joy I felt, seeing the web of all of us connected by Geoff and Linda.

Linda and Danny before the program began.

Here is the program for Geoff's memorial.

 Prelude (Geoff's favorite music)
Linda welcomes friends and relatives

An Aunt's Memories
Janet Anderson's memories read by Claudia Fladung

Claudia, Geoff's sister
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
(Rebecca Beck, Nathan Foster & Maggie Foster)
Becky, Maggie and Nathan
Amazing Grace (Arrangement by Johnny Staats)
Jackie Haworth Hoy & Ray Hoy & Colby Beck
Colby, Jackie (me) and Ray (my husband)
Crossing the Bar (Tennyson)
Read by Connie Dorval-Bernal
Connie Dorval-Bernal
Prayer of Saint Francis
Read by Tom Pflaumer
Tom before he read Prayer of Saint Francis
Daniel Anderson
Danny Anderson
Whispering Hope
Jackie Haworth Hoy & Ray Hoy
Jackie and Ray
Closing Remarks
Linda Anderson
Procession to Grave
Closing up the Cottage (Barn Owls)
Thank you all, friends and family, for being a part of this time of celebration in honor of Geoff's life.  Your
presence here today and support during the past year means more to us than we can express.
Linda, Becky, Chris, Nathan & Maggie

Please enjoy the following pictures from the memorial.

There is a pot belly stove next to Ray (getting camera on tripod)

Aunt Janet, Eric (Geoff's brother) and Page
Audrey and Abby passing out shells and stones to be placed in the bird bath.

Jackson and Cooper

Abby and Nathan after placing stone and shell  in bird bath

Bird Bath
Geoff loved taking pictures of birds. 

Cathy and Greg have placed stones and shells in bird bath.  Cathy is getting ready to give Linda a hug.  My friend, Karen, is not 'goosing' Greg...she is placing her stone in the bird bath. (Sorry, Karen, I had to use this picture.)

Cathy and Greg came from Iowa to join in the memorial. 
Cousins, Debbie and Gilbert Haworth, Susie Mullins and Debbie Powell

Cathy, Maxine and Lucia choosing stones and shells.

Gracie came from Tennessee

Annie lives next door to Linda.

It was hard to get a picture of Cooper.  He was on the go the whole time and helped watch over Jackson and Abby.


Bill's last good-bye

 The Becks: Colby, Cooper, Becky and Audrey
Colby made the tie dye t-shirts. 

I will end with a haiku that was written by Don Coffin a friend of Linda's from Indiana University.  He sent it to Linda after the memorial.

A small country church.
Inside, we filled the benches.
Farewell to a friend.
22 June 2013

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