Friday, April 27, 2012

Another tribute

Lucy's brother, Steve, just sent a very touching tribute tonight.

Memories are all I have now of my oldest sister Lucy. I remember Lucy took immaculate care of whatever she owned when we were growing up. Whether it be her Western Flyer bicycle or her 1st purchased car, a 1974 vinyl top Buick, and to all the other cars she owned, they were well taken care of. I guess that carried through the rest of her life as she took care of her home, her gardens, and her husband Ken. A wonderful trait to have.

Her listening ear will be greatly missed. When our Mom started having medical issues, Lucy was readily available to listen to me and give input if I were doing the right thing to see Mom was getting the best care. Lucy was unable to visit our mother when she was ailing due to the fact Lucy was beginning her battle with cancer.  Even though Lucy was going to doctor visits and chemo treatments, she made it to our childhood home to clean it out before our putting the house on the market after Mom died and Dad was relocating to Burnsville.  Just seeing her with us during this closing chapter in our lives brought much comfort to me.

I have fond memories of going on bike rides with Lucy.  Those carefree summer days of growing up are still vivid in my memories. As teenagers, we would pack up the family car and go to the family cabin on Lake Vermilion or a beach at Lake Leander for the day. Another fun memory is when we were in our late teens and stayed with our relatives in Princeton. We once drove to Ridgedale and spent the day shopping with what little money we had back then.  I could depend on Lucy to be my co-pilot in our travels.

Lucy’s battle with cancer was a reinforcement to me that life is so fragile and to live each day fully. We can never turn back the clock of time but can only move forward as Lucy would want us to do.  Her presence on this earth will be missed but the gentle wind on a summer morning or the beauty a flower will remind me of my dear sister who rests in Peace.

I will miss you, Lucy, until we meet again.

Your brother,

Steve Honkanen

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tributes, day three, and the blog will go on

Today is the last of the tributes from Lucy's funeral. Some were from people who could not attend the funeral but wanted to share their memories. I am so thankful to everyone who took the time to write a tribute.

The blog will continue on because Lucy's story is not done. Thank you for sticking with me through this tough time.

Please accept my deepest sympathies on your loss, and also accept my thanks for the time and inner strength it took to share Lucy’s journey with us on your blog. Your notes always helped friends and colleagues to keep up with both the good and the bad.

Lucy was an important part of our team at Gallagher and will be greatly missed for many reasons.

Anyone who knew Lucy knows that she was not afraid of hard work and was incredibly dedicated to her clients and colleagues.  After her initial surgery and diagnosis back in 2010, she was very anxious to get back to work and focus on moving past the health challenge.

Lucy’s quiet determination to beat this thing served as an inspiration to us all.  No matter what was going on or whatever set-back was being faced.  Her inner strength was just incredible as she would take time off, have a surgery or chemo treatment, and then come back to work like nothing was amiss.

Being compensation people and consultants, we like numbers and quantifiable relationships. Here is my take on Lucy:  Determination + Strength + Dependability + Grace + Smile = Lucy

I know that Lucy will be an Angel for you, watching and helping you as best she can.

God bless you, Lucy.  We miss you.

Scott Hamilton
National Managing Director
HRadvantage, a division of Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.

I am thankful for the opportunity to have known Lucy and be part of her journey for a short time. Her courage and determination to beat cancer was amazing.  Being part of the Ovarian Cancer 5K walk/run with her and Ken in September 2011 was an inspiring experience.  All of us at Gallagher were anxious to have her win her battle even though it slowly became more apparent that this was not to be the case.  Thank you for sharing through Journey of the Teal Owl.  I will miss Lucy very much. 

Cathy Johnson
Manager, Technology & Operations
Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.

Karen Pielow
Area Senior Vice President, Client Services & Operations
Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tributes, day two

One little piece of business first: the funeral home sent me something they found. It appears to be a button or insert. It is burnished gray, looks like a flower and has a crystal in the middle. I think it may have been from one of the GBS people? I would like to get it back to its rightful owner.

Here are a couple more tributes:

To my big sis Lu,

I have wonderful memories of our childhood: I remember you reading to me and taking walks in the woods. You taught me how to play piano. You would take me to Duluth to see a movie or go shopping. You took me to my first rock concert. Lucy, you were my rock; I knew I could always count on you in good times and in bad.  I will miss you so very much and every time I see a bowl of pansies or strawberries I will think of you.

Julie (Honkanen) Greenbush

My sincere condolences are offered to you in the memory of Lucy. As a former classmate of Lucy, I will surely miss the fact that I will never be able to see or talk to my very 1st friend in school. We were a small group that managed to make it through all 12 grades together. Lucy takes with her a number of my 1st’s we shared together. My 1st non-family birthday party, etc.

I have lived out of state for over 28 years and have recently moved back to Minnesota, back to the Pike-Sandy area, and haven’t had much of a chance to reconnect with all I have known. So this even saddens me as I feel gain this part of me will be missed. Again my prayers are with you all, that time will soon heal the sadness and renew you with the joy of the great gift Lucy’s presence we shared and carry in our hearts.

Kelly (Kangas) Beyer-Sheffield

Sorry to hear about your loss. Hazel has kept me informed on Lucy’s ups and downs. According to your mom, Lucy has fought the battle until the end. She was a great person and I know you will miss her greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We know that she will be up in Heaven with Rob. Both of them will be watching over you. Just remember all of the good times the two of you had. That’s what I do when I think of Rob. You have to treasure all of the years that you had with each other. Take care!

Denise Van Steenwyk

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tributes day one

Lucy had several tributes on display at her funeral. I am posting them over the next few days for those who could not attend.

Farewell … farewell Lucy, farewell my friend.

I intend to celebrate a life, a life that ended too soon.  Lucy accomplished what God had planned.  She gave me joy and showed me her kindness.  I can now call on her to give me solace and ask God to send peace my way.  I intend to celebrate a life, Lucy’s life.

I remember when the bomb dropped, she had a heavy feeling in her stomach and we hugged and cried together in the lactation room in the office.  Then the surgery – the prognosis – not so good.

Sometimes we almost get it right.  Often, quite often, I’m told that Lucy was lucky to have me as her friend.  Almost right, it was the other way around.   I was lucky to have her as my friend.

I met Lucy the first day I started work at Stanton Group and she was shy, quiet and respectful.  You could say that I now had a mission, to get her out of that shell.  We were both early birds and I would walk by her work station and say, “Good morning, Lucy”.  Since I had a mission and I am a determined person, I kept it up and soon she was turning her head towards me.  One thing led to another and soon we visited every morning at work.  Lucy loved to garden and grow flowers and plants.  I loved growing people and she is my rose in a bed of carnations (her favorite flower). 

We shared Mom stories, her Mom, my Mom. I told husband and brother stories, kid stories and grandkid stories. She told stories about her husband and brother, sister, nieces and nephews.  I told her what was happening, and probably would happen in the office. She would say, “How do you (did you) know that?”

She loved being color coordinated; remember the many colored watch bands?  I remember her sweet little smile and the bottom lip that she could curl when she was thinking.

I tried to be a good friend and with Lucy’s permission I declared “Lucy cap/scarf day” at work.  I brought in bags of caps in case people forgot theirs and we all wore them. Co-workers stopped to greet her and let her know we all cared. We were celebrating her life at work. She was a rose in a bed of carnations.

After I retired, Lucy and I met for lunch, brunch, dinner or coffee whenever we could.  I remember meeting for brunch right after her Mother passed away and we talked for hours. Yes, she did hold up her end of the conversation.
I dreaded the hospital visits because of what the cancer was doing to her. I also loved the visits and seeing her smile.

Celebrate, Lucy, celebrate. God has called you home.  I was the lucky one, you were my friend.

Farewell, farewell Lucy… farewell my friend, farewell my rose.

Your friend,
Diane Benner