Family members gathered at the church before funeral services including Elma's siblings and Glen's aunts and uncles with spouses.
Joe and Karen, Aunt Reva Norris (Elma's aunt) who is sitting next to Rita and Marvin, Bob and Bonnie. Reva and Rita are just 23 days apart in age as Reva was the youngest of Melissa Smith's children and Rita was the oldest of Melissa's oldest daughter, June's children. Joe and Bonnie are also June's children and Elma's siblings.
Elma's sister, Kathleen, and husband John Petty arrived just minutes later. The only living sibling of Elma not attending was Phil Baker.
Joe's daughters, Kristin and Jolene.
My son, Nathan, holding baby Jack, son of Jared, in the pink tie, and Miriam.
It was a cold and blustery day at the cemetery.
A small storm cell dropping snow remained overhead for a bit causing everyone to cozy up under the awning including John and Melissa, Lisa, and Michelle.
Glen did not cozy up.
Joe talking with Nathan.
Richard holding darling baby Abby, Jolene's husband Randy, and Peggy holding Ryker.
Another sweet Abby, granddaughter of Joe and Peggy.
Shauna, daughter of Joe, with friend. They had driven in from Wisconsin.
Mark with Lisa and Leanna showing us their best faces.
Perhaps these are their best faces. That is Miriam in the white jacket with her back towards the camera.
Amy with daughter Zoe in pink jacket. Mark is in the background and Lisa. Amy and Zoe came the farthest traveling from Rhode Island.
Joe's only son, Shaun traveled from Boston. We all felt he so resembled Joe when young.
Joe's daughter, Kristin, traveled far, too. Is south Florida farther than Rhode Island? Probably so.
Joe's daughter, Stephanie, with her son, Ryker.
Time for dedication of the grave by Joe's brother.
Joe's widow, Peggy, surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.
Peggy had served as Joe's caretaker since an aneurysm burst in his brain at the age of 37 and after just 13 years of marriage. That Joe continued living was a miracle as he was in a coma for several months. The resulting stroke caused paralysis on Joe's left side limiting him in many ways but his great sense of humor and kind ways continued on. He and Peggy would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on May 5th. Joe was looking forward to celebrating that special anniversary with his special one to whom he always expressed his great gratitude.
We last met with this many family members as we honored Grant Ray, Glen's brother, at this same cemetery. Glen's parents are also buried near this spot. We loved them all.
Elder Richard G. Scott shared the following in his General Conference address just a week before Joe left this world.
"Another example of revelation is this guidance given to President Joseph F. Smith: “I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. … We are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors … who have preceded us into the spirit world. We can not forget them; we do not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory, and thus we are associated and united to them by ties that we can not break. … If this is the case with us in our finite condition, surrounded by our mortal weaknesses, … how much more certain it is … to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond … can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them. … We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; … their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.”1
Relationships can be strengthened through the veil with people we know and love. That is done by our determined effort to continually do what is right. We can strengthen our relationship with the departed individual we love by recognizing that the separation is temporary and that covenants made in the temple are eternal. When consistently obeyed, such covenants assure the eternal realization of the promises inherent in them."