Service Date: 04/12/2019 at 12:00 PM
Location:St. Leo Catholic Church
The funeral is at 12:00 at St. Leo's in Tacoma, WA Address: 710 S 13th St, Tacoma, WA 98405
Ursula Griswold (Parko)
June 20, 1921 to March 26, 2019
-She was born and grew up on a forty-acre farm at the end of Garrard Creek Valley near Oakville, Washington.
-Her mother immigrated from Croatia and her 'Dad from Austria in 1902 and met in California and married.
-Her mother's sister and husband immigrated to Aberdeen, Washington and after marriage mom's parents moved to Aberdeen. Subsequently, two boys and two girls were born and the forty acre farm was purchased and became a routine beloved meeting place for the whole family and many friends.
-Garrard Creek Valley in those days had a few large farms. Mom's farm was at the end of the valley with the Garrard creek originating in the hills behind the farm and flowing through the other farms into the Chehalis 'River.
-There were only a few children in the valley and a one room school for grades one through eight. Afterwards, high school in the closest town, Oakville, Washington.
-My mom's time on the farm was some of the happiest times of her life she always said including the strong family gatherings, relationships and my birth and home for two years while my Dad was fighting in World War II.
-Along with those happy times, my mom experienced tragedy and unhappy times as were when in grade school, she came out of school and looked up the valley to see smoke and found her farmhouse had burnt to the ground losing many of her precious clothes and things. When she was six, her older sister at age nine died as a result from an accident. When in high school her mother became ill and suddenly passed away. When her youngest brother came home from the service after being stationed in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack, he drowned while working. When my dad came home from the war, their marriage struggled; and they divorced when I was five. She never remarried and raised me along with also taking care of her Dad. We lived in Seattle.
-Her work years in Seattle was spent as a clerk for St. Vincent 'DePaul, clerk at an insurance examining bureau and thirty-three years with Kemper Insurance Company in the mailroom, including supervisor.
-After retiring she spent some time traveling with family, visiting grandchildren, working in her yard; garden and flower beds and volunteering at her church.
-She had a very strong faith and sense of service and was a charter member of St. Mathews Catholic Church and was recognized by the parish with a plaque for her years of service.
-Her legacy is one son, four grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, a Daughter-n-law and many friends along the way that she loved and who loved her for her qualities, character, support and sharing the moments of her life.
(Thoughts on her life)
-My mother was strong, determined and understood what sacrifice meant as part of life and practiced it.
-My mothers' goals in life were simple and straight forward. Love and raise her son as a single mom, love and take care of her father in the last phase of his life, love God, know and love Jesus and accept his challenge to live beyond her own needs and to be of service to God's creation. All of these goals involved sacrifice which she accepted.
-I was so proud of my mom during her life and even more now.
-I was proud of her faith and the central role it played in her life. Many people have told me they were inspired by her living her faith each day. I am grateful she introduced me Jesus's life on this earth and the challenges he outlined for people seeking love, forgiveness, peace and a place in eternity.
-I was proud of her commitment to her family and friends. Even though she didn't have much money she loved to give little gifts or do things like baking or canning to show her love. Her strawberry/rhubarb pie was enjoyed and prized.
-I was proud of her dedication to her friends and her willingness to help people.
-I was proud of her values of hard work, honesty, trustworthiness, when she made a commitment, she kept it, generosity and acceptance of others.
-I was proud of her work in her yard especially flower beds and gardens which she loved.
-I was always proud of having my mother involved with me in my activities as I grew up including my friends and was never embarrassed to have her involved.
-I was always proud of her words "thank you", "can I help you" and if she felt things didn't go right" I am sorry".
(The last Five Years)
Mom asked me and I promised her two things. To help her stay in her house so she could enjoy working in her yard and garden and to never be in a nursing home. I tried to keep my promise. However, with the onset of dementia staying in her home, even with the help of understanding and loving neighbors and the constraint of my disabilities, became unrealistic.
She came to live with us and with her dementia, she believed she was just visiting. I was so thankful to be able to interact with her every day and closely monitor and manage her health. I will eternally be grateful to my wife for allowing me to have this kind of time with her. It was very hard for her as my mom's dementia progressed along with the progression of my disabilities.
Thank you, Kate, for giving me this time with my mom. It is the greatest gift you could give me.
During the time with us, my mom's eye sight diminished and besides the dementia, other heath issues started to come up.
However, up until a few months ago, she would get up very early before anyone else, make her bed, come out and sit and look out the large glass window and watch the morning unfold while looking through the trees towards the mountains to see darkness turn in to light and looking for the sun.
When I would come out and say good morning, she would say it was going to be a good day. Sometimes it would be raining, and she couldn’t tell because of her poor sight, but when I mentioned it was raining she would say “Well, that’s what makes everything so green and beautiful.”
What a lesson, legacy and challenge for me. To get up every morning, make my bed and welcome the day expecting a good day full of promise, no matter the weather. Thank you, mom.
Over the years my mom taught me many skills and lessons, but the last five years were packed with so many. My challenge is to unpack and use them and pass them on. Thank you, mom.
(My Mom's Passing)
All the moments of my life with my mother lead to this final moment of loss. The night after she passed, I felt the loneliest feeling I have ever experienced in my life. Every passing of a life is a loss, but I feel the magnitude of any loss is proportional to the size of the bucket of good memories you hole in your heart. My mom and l were very close and my bucket is huge. Thank you, mom, for the moments and memories they will be with me the rest of my life until our souls reunite. I hope and have faith that is God’s plan.
As you come to the end of your life, you hope that you have accomplished your most important goals expectations for yourself. Beyond that, you should hope that your creator is pleased with the time you had on this earth and what you did for his creation beyond your own needs. Service to others by directly supporting them or by encouraging them or by inspiring them to make a positive difference in their lives is all part of loving them and their creator. The greatest purpose in life.
My mother understood this purpose and I have heard over the years people say in many ways how my mom made a positive difference in their lives. She made such a positive difference in my life in so many ways. My only regret is that my disabilities over the fast number of years prevented me supporting my mom in the manner I expected . Especially the past few weeks when she needed me the most and was calling out for me, I was not physically able to be there for her and her dementia prevented her from understanding why. Dementia is such a debilitating condition we need to pray often for people to discover a method of prevention or cure.
I will love you forever mom and will miss you every day.
Notes for the Pictures attached (second page of photos is in comment section)
1. Mom with mother, dad and brothers.
2. Mom's first communion picture.
3. Her school graduation picture.
4. Mom at age 21.
5. Mom was a better shooter than my dad he would say. Intimidating
6. On the farm she loved animals especially her dog.
7. After the war my dad was stationed at fort Lawton.
8. My mom at Fort Lewis before my dad going to war.
9. My mom holding me in 1943 on the farm.
10. My mom with me in 1944.
11. Mom church picture in 1992.
12. Mom in 2008.
13. Mom at the beach cabin with my nephew’s dog Hobbs - she loved dogs but her cat Madison was her favorite.
14. Lunch at Wild Fin in Tacoma -2018.
15. Memorial day clean-up at Oakville cemetery, a tradition, 2018
16. Her 97th birthday dinner in Gig harbor, WA.