ShaneHalbach.com

“Teddy Bear” Grandma

My grandma died on Thursday.  It wasn’t totally unexpected (death never is when you’re 88), but it was less than a month since she was found to have colon cancer, and she sounded good when I talked to her Tuesday morning, as she was about to eat for the first time since surgery the week before.  Shane asked me to write a little something for the blog, since I might have more to say than him.  I, however, am typically a writer of few words.  Anyway, I will try to tell a few things.

She loved bears.  I’m not sure why, but she always claimed I had something to do with it.  (I think I had to change three words from the present to past tense as I was writing those two sentences.)  She bought bears all the time, and people gave them to her as well.  I know other people with collections like these, but seriously, none of them top hers.  She would give talks about her bears at mother-daughter banquets every spring.  She always wore some kind of bear shirt or earrings.  She gave gifts of bears.  (Both of my kids sleep with bears as large as they were that were given to them by grandma as babies—Evie’s is even missing one of the eyes!)  I think she has some sort of written document with each family member getting at least one of the bears, and I think she had found a charity that was willing to take the rest.

She loved caffeine-free diet pepsi.  Ewwwww.  Her burps always smelled like caffeine-free diet pepsi.  Double ewwwwww.  I’m not trying to be irreverent, but I think scent is one of the longest-lasting memories and that is totally what I think of when I think of her.  Seriously.  Other junk foods she loved include: cheese/crackers/bologna/summer sausage, bugles, dry roasted peanuts, and those donuts rolled in crushed peanuts.  She always made a cheeseball or baked beans for any potluck.

I loved playing cards with her.  One of my only memories of my grandpa, her husband, involved staying at their house and playing kings in the corner then realizing we only had half a deck.  I usually stayed at her house from Christmas to New Years every year (the first year returning home early due to the arrival of a little brother).  We pretty much played cards the entire time.  She went camping with us every summer, and each year she and dad would teach me a new game.  After kings in the corner, there were spades, hearts, hands and feet, spite and malice (best card game name ever), pinochle (usually played 2-handed), cribbage, and euchre (roughly in that order).  I am a card shark (I’m guessing I take after grandpa on this), and I think she was really proud that her little granddaughter could beat her at cards.

P.S.  I played hands and feet Saturday night.  I tried to shuffle the spots off them, as usual.  And I won.

Lois, age 88, of Alma, MI, passed away at MidMichigan Medical Center-Gratiot on Thursday, August 30, 2012, surrounded by her loving family.

Lois was born in Breckenridge, MI on July 20, 1924 to Bruce. and Beatrice. She was a member of the St. Louis First United Methodist Church and the Oddfellow/Rebekah Lodge. For many years she worked as a cashier in Giant Supermarket, Alma. She was known as the “Teddy Bear Grandma”, often sharing her collection of well over 1000 teddy bears for all to enjoy.

Surviving Lois are her 3 sons, Randy (Pat) of Perrinton, Gary (Linda) of Wichita, KS, and Thomas (Barbara) of Marne, MI; 7 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; two brothers, Owen (Helen) of Greenville, and Larry (Helen) of Alma; one sister, Valda of Bradenton, FL; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Preceding Lois in death were her husband, Alfred, and two brothers, Donald and Robert. Lois was a wonderful person and will be missed by all who knew her.  Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Louis United Methodist Church.

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5 responses

  1. *hugs*

    Who was it we called up that one summer when we were trying to play three handed euchre or pinochle? Was it her?

    September 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    • Sara says she’s sure that’s who she would have called.

      September 6, 2012 at 8:08 pm

  2. That was a fun night, thanks to your Grandma.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm

  3. I am sorry to hear about your Grandma and I am sorry to have missed this post! It’s very poignant that you note you had to change from present to past tense… it really shows how surreal the experience is when someone passes away. What better gift for a Grandma to teach her granddaughter, than the art of beating everyone at cards!

    September 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm

  4. Pingback: This is why I hate car repair shops « Is this thing on?

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