Last Sunday this world lost an amazing woman. Her name was Ileen Mary Reibling Kuhl. She was born on December 31, 1917 at her parents home in Elkton, MI. (That’s near Bad Axe.) She was the wife of Harry and the mother of Judy, Marilyn, Lois, Shirley and Debbie. She had 16 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and 7 (now 8 with one more on the way) great-great grandchildren. I am one of the 16 grandchildren. I’m also her favorite, no matter what my cousins say.
She lived 86 of her 94 years in Elkton and the last eight with her daughter in Mayville. She and grandpa traveled a little but mainly ran their farm on Moore Rd. Their faith, their family and their friends were the most important things in the world to them. Harry and Ileen were both the oldest of 10 making my extended family very, very large. I think it was just family that filled the 200-seat church where her funeral was held, with a few life-long friends somewhere in our midst.
At her funeral we had a time where you could share a memory or story about Ileen. As I sat an listened to the stories (and was reminded of her amazing tarts, lemon bars, raisin cookies and cinnamon rolls) it occurred to me that each of us knew a different aspect of grandma.
Each of us knew her in a personal way. Each has our own cherished memory. She made each of us feel like we were her favorite. I could write memory upon memory of her and it still would not be complete picture of her. You would need to sit in a room with all 200 of us and hear each of our stories. Then maybe you’d begin to understand my grandma. She imparted light and life to each of us.
She loved us well. Her generosity is inspiring. Her baking divine. Her faith unmovable. Her presence missed.
Her joy still lingers.