Jeanne K Storey
Thank you all for coming. For those that don’t know me, I am Jeanne’s son Rick and I would like to say a few hundred words about our mom. For those that do know me I ask in advance for your understanding and forgiveness.
Who was Jeanne K Storey? She was something different to all of us. Mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, cousin and friend. I am going to talk about my memories of my mother and the stories she would tell.
Mom was married to Richard Earl Storey on January 25th, 1947 but everyone called him Dick. She would tell me how they tried for 10 years to have a child.
Mom was very spiritual and believed that God would grant her a miracle. Mom told me that finally on December 11th 1956 God granted her miracle. I was born. She continued to explain that I was only 4 pounds 11.75 ounces. She told this story to me with so much pride and motherly love I felt like the greatest gift God ever gave to a mother.
Mom said what was on her mind. She had no filter. She would tell me the story of how they named me. She said do you know why you weren’t a Junior? Why we named you Richard Joseph and not Richard Earl like your father? I of course was curious so I asked why mom? Why wasn’t I a junior? She said dad was always called Dick and I refused to have you called that also. Intrigued I asked why mom if it was good enough for Dad why would you object? She said I was not about to answer the phone and someone ask for Dick and have to say “which one do you want big Dick or little Dick”? I was happy with her decision! For those of you with small children, Good luck explaining that one. This is where that understanding and forgiveness come in.
Mom was not one to rest on her laurels. She decided to ask God for another miracle and try for another child. This time it took God only 2 and ½ years to grant her second miracle. She said finally on June 8th 1959 your brother Jim was born. She continued to tell me that Jim was only 3 pounds and some ounces, I was only half listening because it wasn’t about me, and how he had an extensive stay in the hospital because he was so small. Then the truth came out. Mom continued to say… You know Jim was premature you were only immature! I know what some of you are thinking… (That explains a lot). My miracle was just downgraded and I had someone to steal mom’s affections. Not the greatest day for Rick.
Mom was tough. Mom would ask me if I remember what happened when someone in the neighborhood pushed me off my tricycle and stole it from me. I had no memory of this so I said - no mom what happened? You came home crying that someone stole your tricycle so I locked the door and I told you not to come home until you got your tricycle back! And with pride in her eyes she said - and you came home with your tricycle. She then asked if I remember that? I simply said no. Thinking I was to young to remember. (But as I was writing this I can’t help but wonder if I blocked it because of some traumatic experience!).
Mom never quit. Not willing to press her luck, and God, with another childbirth she decided to request from God a 3rd miracle. But this time is was to adopt a baby girl. This miracle took God 7 years… (This made me happy because this miracle took God more time than Jim’s miracle but less time than my miracle. I felt I was back on top). Jeannie was born on March 12th, 1963 at a whopping 7lb 14oz. That was more than if mom gave birth to Jim and I at the same time! Mom was beaming with love and pride. She made Jim and I get into our monkey suits and stand in front of the Judge and promise to love our new sister. Jim now knew how I felt when he was born. Now there was someone new to steal mom’s affections. Payback is a bitch!
Mom was frugal. We didn’t have much money growing up but we always took a family vacation. For many years our vacation consisted of camping with the Buck’s. Dad and mom would pack the station wagon. Jim, Jeannie and I would each have a friend sleep over and we would leave real early so we could be the first ones to arrive at Governor Dodge State Park in Wisconsin to get one of the best wooded campsites. We would meet Uncle Lane, Aunt Pat, Terri, Kathi, Cindi. Sharon and Patti for what I remember were the best vacations. You see mom’s father Simeon Kasper was part owner of a business and they had lots of money when mom was very young. Then her father lost all their money in the great depression. Mom always said that even though they had nothing she grew up appreciating the little things in life and the people around her. When we were teenagers mom and dad decided to treat us to our one and only vacation other than camping at Governor Dodge. We were so excited. With overwhelming anticipation we asked where are we going! The answer came swiftly we are all driving to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore and (each of us were ready to jump for joy in anticipation of staying at a hotel with a pool. Then mom finished her sentence.) and camp. Even though we camped again it was still the best vacation because we were together. I have such fond memories of that vacation that Sue and I even duplicated it for our kids. We saw all the same sites but instead of camping we stayed in a hotel and we threw in a bucket list item of mine which was to travel in a hot air balloon over Custer State Park. But other than that it was exactly the same.
Mom was generous and giving. All through our childhood and into our adulthood mom opened her home to anyone that needed help and a place to live. Mom and dad even built and addition to accommodate anyone that needed a place to live. We had Grandma Storey and Aunt Holly live with us until they passed. We had Grandma Kasper live with us until she passed. Lastly we had Aunt Marie live with us until she passed. I know there were more for shorter periods of time but I can’t remember their names. It didn’t matter her house was opened to anyone that needed it.
Mom loved everyone, she loved to party and she loved to laugh. When we were growing up our house was the place for the entire neighborhood to gather. Adults and children alike. It seemed like mom and dad were always throwing a party for something. Birthdays, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, New Years Eve, the color TV arrived. It didn’t matter partying was in her blood. When mom and dad threw a party we were told to go to bed and stay in our rooms. Well what Jim and I heard mom say was “I challenge you to escape from your room and try to spy on us.” Of course what could we do? We accepted her challenge. We opened the window in our room that cranked out vertically and climbed out on to the 3 inch ledge that ran all around the old part of the house. It would take us far enough to see in the family room window where there was music, talking , a lot of laughing and a room filled with smoke. Jim and I looked at each other thinking adults are weird. (As I look back on this I guess this exercise helped us build teamwork because when one of us fell off the ledged it was a bitch to get back in the room). Her love of partying was passed on to each of us 3 kids. I remember every birthday party growing up was at our house. When I started college mom insisted on having a party for Halloween or New Years Eve with all of our friends and Jim’s and my Fraternity brothers. They were great parties and mom was right there in the middle laughing, drinking and having fun right along with the rest of us. I remember one time when mom came down to SIU she was sitting on the floor drinking with me and a few of my brothers, when someone started to tell an off color joke. One of my other brothers stopped him and said “don’t tell that joke Rick’s mom is in the room” and I quickly replied “Oh I wouldn’t worry about that she will probably out do anything that you could tell.” Even at the age of 89 mom wanted to have another Halloween party like we used to have. So we set the date and Jim and I invited the old gang. Bill & Jodi Bradney, Mike & Betti Crowley, Tim & Barb Jaeger, Steve & Bridget Olson, Tim & Sue Onori, Chuck & Brenda Shaub and Greg & Colleen Webb. It was just like old times except we were all older, no one got drunk and we were all in bed at a reasonable time.
Mom was easygoing. Mom rarely would get angry. If she did get mad at you it was forgiven and forgotten as soon as it was over. This statement was true except for one instance that came to be known as “The Great Brussels Sprouts Ban”. It was Thanksgiving and Mom was busy in the kitchen preparing enough food to feed the 5th regiment. Most of us were sitting at the table. Jeannie was at one end of the table where she always sat and I was at the other end where I always sat. Mom had brought out some of the food. One item that had already been placed on the table were the Brussels Sprouts. There was some polite conversation while we were waiting for the main coarse when I spotted the Brussels Sprouts. Not liking them myself, (actually I despise those little bitter balls of cabbage), I decided to see if Jeannie could catch one in her mouth from across the table. It turned out that one attempt was not enough and as one of those little balls of bitter cabbage flew through the air who do you think walked in to the room to put more food on the table? Yes Mom. Well I have never seen the wrath of Mom like that day. Fire came from her eyes and smoke from her ears. She spewed words from some ancient forgotten language and then finally she issued her first mandate ever! From this day forth Brussels Sprouts will be forever banned from this house. Well the clocks stopped, silence fell over the entire town as Hoffman Estates and all I could say was “Yes mam”. Just like any other time mom ever got mad at us it was over in a few minutes, you knew she still loved you, and we enjoyed the rest of Thanksgiving. She never spoke of that incident again and she never served Brussels Sprouts. To Dan and Gerry who came to mom’s house for Thanksgiving and Christmas for as long as I can remember, this is where I ask for your understanding and forgiveness if you like Brussels sprouts.
To sum up my feelings for mom. When people say to me, after I’ve said something at an inappropriate time or joked, laughed or acted like her, you’re just like your mother. I take that as the greatest compliment I could ever get.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also express my appreciation to Jim and Jeannie. Jim worked from home so he could take care of mom these last couple of months and Jeannie came over and stayed the weekends to help Jim and took mom to all her doctors appointments. I would like to thank my wife Sue for her support and help with the preparations. I would also like to express by gratitude to all of you who supported us through this emotional time. We might have lost a mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, cousin or friend but God got an angle.
Now if this was a eulogy for anyone else I would end on that note but this was no ordinary person. Mom had 3 mandates about her funeral. One night wake with a closed casket, Funeral mass, cemetery prayers and a party with fun and laughs. She was so serious about having a good time at her funeral that Uncle Pete, Aunt Lois and Pete and Naomie saw mom before she died and she said to Naomie something to the effect “I will be looking down from heaven at you on my funeral and you better be having a good time.” So as not to anger her like the “Great Brussels Sprouts incidence “ I will end on this note from the immortal words of George Bernard Shaw.
Life does not cease to be funny when people die
any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.
And from the immortal words of Jeanne K Storey:
What the shit and hell are you doing still talking? Let everyone finish their desert.
Jim, Jeannie and I would like to extend the invitation to everyone to meet over at moms house after the luncheon to continue this celebration of moms life.
Thank you all for coming.