Saturday, May 10


Greetings dear reader...and happy mother's day to you!

It occurred to me earlier today that those dear ones I'd be spending my day with tomorrow are ALL going to be spending THEIR "day" with each I'd love to be part of THAT party! As it is, I am going to plant a rose bush in honor of those three mother, Mary Lou, my mother-in-law, Pat, and my dear friend Deb.

My mom: a self-made, self-educated woman who was strong & independent...and helped make me that way. Here are the articles written about her at the time of her death:

Beloved Former City Clerk Dies

OZARK--An icon. The one person who knew more about Ozark than anyone else. The one person who cared more about Ozark than anyone else. Those were just some of the comments made by friends of Mary Lou Erhart, retired Ozark city clerk, who died suddenly Aug. 10.

Mayor Donna McQuay said she fielded the same question over again when folks called to express their regret and sympathy:

Erhart became city clerk in 1982 and retired in 1999. During those 17 years she kept the city running through different mayoral administrations, ran a household and buried her husband.

"Her husband, Kenny, developed cancer," Grubaugh said. "She took care of her job and of him and never missed a beat."

Grubaugh, who was mayor from 1983 to 1991 said Erhart combined honesty with loyalty-qualities that endeared her to the Ozark community.

"I think she was a very loyal person-to her job, to the community and to me as mayor," he said. "She was city clerk the whole time I was there. Nobody is any better than the people working for them. If I was any good at all, it was because of her.

"If she told you something that was exactly what she meant; there was never any question. She said it and that was it. She was honest and forthright with everybody. And if she made a mistake she expected to be told but she didn't make many.

"I'm going to miss her-miss her a lot."

Grubaugh's wife, Betty, a local political force in her own right, also remembers Erhart with fondness.

"She was quite a lady," she said. "This town will certainly miss Mary Lou. There's no doubt about that. She knew what was going on in this city when no one else began to understand. She was sharp. She was Neal's very close worker when he was mayor and she has been a very dear friend to me. I feel sorry for Ozark that we've lost a friend like Mary Lou. She will be greatly missed. "

City Clerk Lana Calley and Treasurer Alice Edwards, reflecting through their tears, expressed their sadness at losing a friend.

Mary Lou was like everybody's mother or grandma," Calley said. "Everybody really relied on her knowledge and her pep talks.

I called her every once awhile for reassurance. It is like losing your mother-you're going to pick up that phone to call her and she's not going to be there."

"Mary Lou was city clerk when I started," Edwards said. "She was a wonderful lady. She loved the city of Ozark and she always tried to do what was right for the city. She lover her Lord and she loved her family. I don't think a day went buy when she didn't share a story about her grandchildren. She was a wonderful friend to me and I will miss her."

Even after Erhart retired, she consulted for the city to keep things running smoother, McQuay said. And not only will the folks in Ozark miss Erhart but many outside the are who benefited from her kindness will miss her too.

"She was here at City Hall last week," McQuay said. "She was getting ready to go on a missionary trip to Arizona. She was always involved in church work and dedicated even more time with church after she retired. Her dedication and loyalty was just overwhelming. That is hard to find in this day and age-to find someone who cares that much. There's no doubt in our mind where Mary Lou is."

And about my dear mother in law who just passed away this February:

Mrs. Patsy Clouse of Okawville, IL departed this life in the Friendship Manor Health Center at Nashville, IL on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 12:45 A.M. She had attained the age of 74 years, 5 months and 5 days.

Patsy was born to Marvin and Flossie (nee Gilmore) Gorman in St. Louis on September 22, 1933. She was united in marriage to the love of her life, Edwin “Boots” Clouse in Wellston, MO on February 15, 1952 and he preceded her in death on May 12, 2001.

“Boots” and Pat began their life together in St. Louis, but moved to Okawville to raise their children in 1972. She loved her warm home very much and especially appreciated spending time outdoors on warm sunny days. Pat’s major occupation was that of a homemaker, but she did work at Carter Carburetor in the mid 1970’s. In addition, she held several part- time occupations through the years. Pat was a devoted Christian who enjoyed reading her Bible on a daily basis. She also enjoyed listening to hymns and reading inspirational materials. She had an excellent memory for details and could easily remember information about old movies and historic events. She was a terrific Trivial Pursuit partner.

Left to mourn her passing are 5 children; Terry Cornwell and husband Ed of Granite City, Kim Hudson of Florissant, MO, Kerry Clouse and wife Paula of Mt. Vernon, Kevin Clouse and wife Lori of Nashville and Cara Schmidt and husband Troy of Green Valley; 1 sister, Fern Schriefer and 1 brother, Bob Gorman and wife Beverly all of St. Louis. Nothing made Patsy happier than spending time with her family. She gave a never- ending supply of love and generosity to all of her family, especially her grandchildren, Bill, Steven, Alison, Ian, Paul, Jay, Jeff, Bradley, Bailey, Madilyn, Teegan and great grandson, Mason, who will all miss her very much. She always put the needs of her family before her own.

And, finally, in memory of my dear friend Deb:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Deb Smith was born in Cincinnati and lived here until she was 41, when she and my dad moved back to the farm where he had grown up in southern Illinois.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, she graduated from Princeton High School. She attended Cincinnati Bible College, then took time off to raise two daughters and a son. She was a person who enjoyed "being," not simply doing.

All her life, Deb created art. She worked with paint, clay, fabrics, stained glass, pastels and all types of found objects.

Later in life, she took the role of a nontraditional student and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Miami University-Oxford with a degree in Fine Arts. She then earned a Master of Fine Arts from Eastern Illinois University. After this, she taught painting, art appreciation, drawing and sculpture at Frontier Community College in Fairfield, Illinois. She was also a sought-after Judge of fine art for several Illinois art shows and competitions.

Deb was wholly devoted to her faith. She and her husband Tom co-pastored for 35 years at both Fellowship Christian Church in Monfort Heights and Grace Community Church in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. She brought her artistic gifts to serve people in and out of the church her whole life.

As a team, Tom & Deb operated Smith Family Farms, where they raised and sold beef cattle. Deb was active in all areas of the farm, from bottle-feeding orphaned calves to feeding the team of farmers to even naming some of the cows.

She was a woman who was loved by so many people in her short time on Earth.
(above article written by Deb's daughter Charity...edited)

So dear friend, allow me to remind you: If you are fortunate enough to HAVE your mother with you this holiday, DO make the best of your time together. Get photographs. Laugh. Tell stories. As for me...well, *I* will be planting rose bushes!

New art projects using Sassafrass Lass papers and goodies next post! Meanwhile, see where my inspiration came from...the amazing (once again) Ngaire Bartlam!


Cat said...

Happy Mother's Day to you, too. Thanks for sharing about those special women in your life. What a wonderful idea to plant the rose bushes..and a beautiful tribute.

Miss Angie said...

Wonderful memories about wonderful women Paula. I think often of Pastor Deb...I miss her very much! She often comes to mind when I'm wandering through Wal Mart where she and I often would run into each other and chat.

I never knew Aunt Mary Lou as well as I wished I could...but what I did know of her...she was a woman of great strength and quite a "go-getter". Wasn't she the one to coin the phrase "spineless wonder"? She certainly wasn't shy about speaking her mind openly. Oddly enough I remember her leaving this world on the same day that I celebrate my son, Dylan, coming into this world, as she passed away on his birthday.

I never really knew Bud's mom at all...except to know she made a pretty fine fella when she made Bud..a man will give anyone the shirt off his back, as loyal as an old hound, and has the most unique sense of humor I've ever known!!! And who took very good care of his mom in her later years...obviously she was pretty special.

Happy Mother's Day to you and to all the wonderful women we miss!!!!