By Paige Cline

One of the worst of the consequences of the Pandemic crisis has been the additional pain that comes when a loved one passes on and close friends are not allowed to gather to grieve and celebrate a life well-lived.

For instance, as I drove past Cook Memorial a couple of Saturdays ago, I noticed activity. Then I saw Michael Knots and I realized it was a funeral. Then I realized it was Betty Stevens, a lifelong friend whose funeral I would not have missed for anything in normal times. But, these are not normal times. A little later as I was returning down the road, I met the funeral procession. I say procession but it was only the hearse and two or three cars. Ordinarily it would look like a train.

Anyway, I pulled to the side of the road to show respect for my old friend. Betty Adams and I started grade school together and graduated high school together. Long after she could hardly recognize her own family, Betty could muster a smile at the mention of the Class of ‘48.

As the hearse rolled past, a lifetime of memories flew past and left a couple of tears. Betty will be missed by family and friends and most certainly by her beloved Cook Memorial.

Also passing away during this trying time was Opal Halsey.

Opal was the undisputed matriarch of the Halsey clan,  including in-laws. Opal and I had been friends since Luther began courting her In earnest when she was staying with her sister in Brenton.

No doubt they are reunited, looking forward to the next family gathering.

On all our visits to the nursing home in New Richmond, we always saw Carol Stewart. She always had a smile that could brighten your day. It was sad to see Kevin and Sunni and Melinda as they slowly let her go. But they knew she would be reunited with her husband who died too young and with Shannon, the son who was taken in the prime of life.

No person ever fought a longer, braver fight than Wayne Ellison. And, there with him every step of the way was loving, devoted, seemingly tireless Suzie.

Suzie was caring for Wayne back when she worked at the paper. Illness, seemingly endless surgeries and countless days and nights of shared suffering never affected her work —quality or quantity.

The Ellison clan has had their share of suffering. For Wayne, it is over.

                  **
I was pleased to learn that the new management of this paper will resume the practice of not charging for printing obituaries. That in itself is reason enough to to subscribe. In this day of greed and gouging, stuff like that is refreshing. My brothers said that if we had to charge friends And neighbors for announcing a death in the family, we would just lock the damn door.

Seems like the new owner is cut from the same cloth.

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