Tuesday, April 10, 2018


Front:  Dorothy, John, Mary
Back: Dale, Betty, Carolyn, Anna Belle, Walter [Archie]



Carolyn Aschliman Stephens

March 2018

Where do I start? Mary was a daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a woman of many talents. She cooked, baked, gardened, sang in the Women’s Choir, attended Sewing Circle at the church, attended a Women’s Club, besides sewing and crocheting at home. She was a true role model to follow. Right up until the time she became ill, she was crocheting baby hats and prayer shawls. Besides all her activities and work, she loved to watch sports, as well as the Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Before she moved into Assisted Living she was noted for making dozens of pies for our family reunion. Often the relatives would get their favorite piece of pie before going through the line for the main course. They didn’t want to miss out on their favorite pie being all gone before they got theirs.

Mary was grown when I was still a baby. She and Dorothy stake claims on raising Betty and me. We can’t vouch for which one should get credit but from the baby pictures, whichever one it was they dressed us cute! We lived closer to Mary and Ed when we were growing up and Betty and I would spend time with them on the farm, I guess she was giving our mother a respite because Mom and Dad still had four, and sometimes five, of the eleven kids still living at home.

In adulthood she was my mentor, as well as my older sister. She and Ed would visit us in Texas for Thanksgiving. The first time they came, she walked me through stuffing the turkey and making the fixings, then after that I was on my own. She would teach, then expect you to assume the responsibility. We have fond memories of those visits and our Scrabble games after dinner on Thanksgiving Day and other times during their visit. Brett often joined us when he was around. They were surrogate grandparents to our children. Brett has fond memories of the dollar bill that would float out of the birthday card he received from her. She was always so good about remembering the birthdays of both family and friends.

After our parents died, Mary became the matriarch of our family and was instrumental in keeping our family connected. Over the years their home became what we called “Command Central.” It was the place to check in to see what was going on and where everyone was. The infamous note was always by the stove when she went anywhere.

Hospitality was her gift. One year when the family had gathered for our annual reunion, Mary had gone to the store. When she came home, her table was surrounded by people who had arrived for the weekend event. They were eating the chicken salad she had in the refrigerator and were making themselves at home. She just laughed about it. She always made everyone feel welcome. They hosted many chicken barbeques over the years. When we started having our family reunions at a clubhouse, afterwards we would gather at their house with all the leftovers and continue the festivities. A hymn-sing would be going on in their living room, while others were gathered around the table snacking and telling stories.

Whenever anyone wanted to know something about family or the date of an occurrence, it was always, “We’ll have to call Mary!” She kept a diary all her life and could often dig up the information a person was seeking. Mary also had an uncanny talent for remembering faces and names.

She was noted for having dozens of filled candy dishes and we all succumbed to the temptation to start noshing the minute we walked in the door. Even after she moved to her assisted living apartment her table was filled with stocked candy dishes and the aides were always welcome to help themselves. They had a plethora of sweets to choose from.

When they moved to Greencroft Assisted Living, their apartment was still the gathering spot. And the Sideboard Restaurant became the coffee time spot.

Like St. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7 “ She fought the good fight, she finished the race, and kept the faith.”

I know she is reunited with her beloved Ed in the Church Triumphant and I know one day I will see her again. But even so, I will miss her and our frequent phone chats and our occasional visits to Indiana.

Sweet Mary, may you rest in peace.

Thursday, April 05, 2018


I never knew that there was a nexus between these two.  But I discovered the connection while looking at some photos of a home for sale in Ward.  Here is the view from the living room:

Image result for 58 nelson street ward co

Here is another photo taken from the living room:

Note the poster on the wall.  Here is the original:


The title is simply Church Bell, Ward, Colorado, 1917.  And, in checking things out a bit more, I found this article in the Boulder Daily Camera explaining a bit about the marketing of the home for sale.   The linked Camera article also has a nice description of how O'Keeffe happened to pass through Ward.  The original painting is a 14-by-17-inch oil-on-board and is at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., but is not currently on display.

Friday, March 30, 2018


Great-grandmother Mary, 100, and Great-granddaughter Isabelle, 7 months

Thursday, March 22, 2018


Featured Picture

It was only two months ago that I posted about Mother Mary's 100th birthday party held on January 1.  Sadly, on March 5th at midnight, mom died peacefully in her sleep.  Even though the inevitable is expected, it is still unexpected.  She developed an infection in her foot, it began to spread and she was put on powerful antibiotics which upset her stomach and her appetite.  She had a bit of congestive heart failure, and developed pneumonia - all in all, it was too much.  Thankfully, she was as sharp as ever until the end, and did not linger.  Mixed blessing.  Here is her obituary:

Mary A. Swartzendruber, 100, passed away peacefully Monday, March 5, at The Gables (Greencroft), after a short illness.

She was born in Cecil, Ohio, to Samuel and Anna (Plank) Aschliman, the fourth child among eleven siblings.

The family moved several times and it was in Pigeon, Michigan, that she met Edward G. Swartzendruber. They were wed April 2, 1939. Daughter Kay was born in Pigeon and the family then moved to a farm southeast of Goshen, where son Douglas was born.

Mary is survived by Kay Montgomery, Palm Springs, California, and Douglas E. (Rhonda Willems) Swartzendruber, Westminster, Colorado; four grandchildren, Anna Montgomery, Douglas, Nick and Rachel Swartzendruber; four great-grandchildren, Silas, Noelle, Elias and Isabelle; brothers, John Aschliman, Goshen, Dale (Pat) Aschliman, Sarasota, Florida; and sisters, Anna Belle Emmert, Goshen, Betty Lambright, Venice, Florida, and Carolyn (Jim) Stephens, Venice, Florida.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; brothers, Ervin and Walter "Archie" Aschliman; and sisters, Ada Heller, Rose Grime and Dorothy Anklam.

As a longtime resident of New Paris and Goshen, Mary and Ed were involved in numerous family and community activities including establishing Edwamar (for Edward and Mary) Farms, south of Goshen. They were generous supporters of individuals, College Mennonite Church, Goshen College, especially the music program and facilities, and a variety of additional charitable organizations.

Mary was a lifelong homemaker. She was a highly-skilled seamstress; a talented cook with a special gift for preparing large meals for many people; an accomplished crocheter, making prayer shawls for College Mennonite Church and baby hats for Goshen Hospital; a community and church volunteer; and a talented singer and a member of Saint John Singers, Middesingers and Lyric Choir.

She was particularly gifted with a keen memory for names, faces and events. She was pleased to earn her GED as an adult since she had to drop out of school at a young age. She loved to travel and visited many places in the USA, including Hawaii and Alaska, the Caribbean, cities in Europe, China and New Zealand.

Friends may call Friday, March 9, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, Goshen, where a memorial service will be conducted Saturday at 11 a.m. Pastor Phil Waite will officiate.
Private burial at Violett Cemetery will precede the memorial service.

Memorial contributions may be given to Ed and Mary Swartzendruber Music Scholarship Fund at Goshen College.

I have 100's of photos of Aunt Mary, as she was known to many, but for now, will just add one:

April 1, 1939