Tribute to the late Jim Baltzell
by Niece
Jacquie Wilson Watlington
Parkway Class of '96

Memories of Uncle Jim Baltzell
Written July 11, 2015


There is an old adage that says “Cooking is love made visible.” I think Uncle Jim could have written the definitive, best-selling book on the subject. I have a minister friend who swears some people have “the spiritual gift of casserole” – this is someone who exudes the compassion, love and encouragement through their culinary creations. Uncle Jim had this gift, among many others. From gourmet fondue birthday/New Year’s celebrations to Thanksgiving dinners that overflowed in to multiple rooms to camp fire s’mores, Uncle Jim brought love and joy into the world of his family and friends. Yes, many times food was a means of transporting these blessings, but the true gifting always centered on Uncle Jim’s sincere, consistent caring, his deep, affirming smile and contagious, joyful laughter.

One of my earliest “cooking” lessons from Uncle Jim revolved around a semi-retired Snoopy snow cone maker. I thought it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen and I was dying to make it work. Though in the midst of his own projects, Uncle Jim kindly paused to help two squirmy, excited girls discover the magic of shaved ice. That day, Uncle Jim taught me that like cooking, love involves patience and tending to the little things – which may look like sitting on the floor and catching white fluff out of a toy dog house because two little tow heads REALLY want to “cook” snow cones.

Around the same point in life as my Snoopy snow cone fascination, was my infatuation with Eric’s Big Wheel. Long retired to the Baltzell garage, I LOVED riding it down the steep driveway off of Route 33. Each run was a chance to break my last speed record or to see if I could come even closer to the parked cars than I did last time without hitting them. One day, I was struck with a wild compulsion to see if I could ride down the hill on the Big Wheel standing up, surf style. I was nearly balanced, one foot on the seat, the other on the center of the handle bars when the front door opened and Uncle Jim stepped out. “Time to put the Big Wheel back in the garage. I need you to help me in the garden.” With a sigh of disappointment, I rode the Big Wheel down “the right way” and walked it into the garage. I don’t know how he did it, but Uncle Jim always seemed to have great timing. Maybe it was because he knew how to keep his eye on the important things in life- like paying special attention when you have meringue under the broiler or a 6 year old with a bit of a daring streak playing in your drive.

When I think about Uncle Jim, I think of these stories and many others. In each remembrance, the first things that resonate in my heart are his honest, joyful smile, his laughter, his generosity and his pride in his family. Uncle Jim was one of those rare people whose immediate warmth and acceptance draw you in to a place of hospitality for your soul. His laughter was rich and deep and hearing it was a resounding wake up call for all those around him to join in, because life- in that moment- was ripe to be enjoyed, together.

Growing up, I loved it when Jim and Shirley would come to my ball games. Although I always wanted to show them my best, I knew that at any point in the game, whether things were going well or if they were not, I could look up into the stands and they would have the exact same smiling expressions of pride on their faces. To them, I had nothing to prove, no bar to measure up against. They simply loved me and cheered me on. What a priceless gift to know there are people in your life who will always be there- rooting for you unconditionally. That was Jim and Shirley. What a pair.

If Uncle Jim had a royal title, it would have been the King of Adoration and Aunt Shirley, his Queen. I always loved watching them together. He simply adored her. It was magical the way his eyes twinkled when he looked at her. Whether he was pulling out her chair or they were working together to pull vegetables out of the garden, there was never a question that he was crazy about her. When I think of Uncle Jim, this is part of his legacy that makes me smile the most; his dedication, his loyalty and his adoration toward Aunt Shirley. What a beautiful thing to behold!

There is an Irish proverb that says “Laughter is brightest where food is best.” In the Baltzell house, it was always hard to know if the great food brought about the brightness and laughter or if it was the other way around. However it worked, I am glad that it did. So whenever I make turkey and dressing, or angel food cake or Buckeyes with William and Evelyn, I will tell them stories of Uncle Jim and hope to pass along a bit of the sweetness of his legacy in the process.

With all my love,
Jacquie

 

 

 
 
 

Memorial Postings are Free

 
Missing Mom, Jinny Wood, who passed away a year ago today 2-19-2015. This picture was of her 85th birthday in 2015. She was the life of the party. Bet she's singing in the Heavenly Choir. Love you, Mom! Sheila (Wood) Baltzell

 
Happy Heavenly 65th Birthday Larry Baltzell!
on October 23, 2015
If you were still with us, we'd
all be celebrating with homemade
German Chocolate Cake!
Missing You!

Love, Your Family and Friends

 

 
 
 

In Memory of Larry A. Baltzell  

October 23, 1950 – August 17, 2008

 

“He was our North, our South, our East and West,
Our working week and our Sunday rest,
Our noon, our midnight, our talk, our song;
We thought he’d be here for ever: we were wrong.”

 

Adapted from the poem Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden

 

Sadly Missed by Your Family

 
 
 
In Memory of Donna Trisel by Peter Teixeira
Dear Editor: 
This is a letter to you so you may know the Dear Lady who was born in Rockford whom I had the privilege to meet in 1976. She was my future mother-in-law, Donna Trisel, whose home was recently removed from 301 Jay St. for additional room for the owner of the trucking co. to expand his business. 

The little Pink house was a landmark not only for the community of Rockford but It was a home to 56 children being raised with good home town values, by the most caring of a Nannie as a community could have to offer. Donna Trisel was laid to rest a little more than one year ago after a short illness (in 2010). We all lost  much  that day. Many who are teenagers  and  some adults were given the best care you can expect, and grew into good productive citizens of Rockford. Donna was appreciated by the mothers and fathers that left their children in trusted hands through the years until she was unable  to care for the kids due to health problems.

She was one of my best friends, and we spent many hours on the phone just talking about religion, politics or the good old days of the number of kids she helped raise there.  My Mother-in-law would not like the fuss we made over her, should you decide to print this memory of her life as a good servant to  the community. But those that did not get to know her, I tell you, she had a big heart and a great mind for finances and details. She was always concerned for her family and her friends. She was unselfish and a proper lady. She was up at 5:00 am and did not stop until  5 pm when the last child was picked up ~ this was her life.

The last words she said to me was "Think well of me". I told her I could only think the best of her. It is Christmas night - December 25, 2011, and she is in my thoughts. She may not approve  of this airing of her laundry, as she would put it in a very modest way, but she meant much to all of us she touched . The little pink house she had built by her husband and her father is no longer there, but you ask anyone in the town, and they will say "Yep. That was where  Nannie's place was, with a smile on their faces." Donna in all her modesty would even have to agree ~ she sure is missed. 

On her head stone, her gift to the town and her legacy is etched. Nannie in a  rocking chair holding 1 child in her arms and 2 at her feet. Young and old in the community should be proud that such goodness is part of your town’s history. She was and always will be My best girl.  I married her daughter Patricia in 1977. Many visits were made up there to Rockford, and Pat and I got to know many of you who were her children. She loved you all as her own. 

So please remember the next time you go by the place where the little pink house was, smile and remember the music she played for you as she served up the many meals she made. Let's remember her for all she did ~ that wonderful woman we all called Nannie. I'll bet you it will bring back the good times.  

Love you Nannie .  Peter

 

 
 
 
Happy Heavenly Birthday
Larry Baltzell
on October 23, 2011
If you were still with us, we'd
all be celebrating with homemade
German Chocolate Cake!
Missing You!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 In Loving Memory of Brittany


"Always a Smile"
 

Brittany Leigh Shaffer
May 13,1989-Oct 5, 2004

 
She was God's Gift to us,
A young lady that touched many lives
in the short time she was here.
Her smile was her signature in life
Her love was young children, and
riding her horse.
She knew no strangers, everyone was her friend.
She accepted her Lord at a young age, and held true
to him, and because of that, we know she is waiting
for us in Heaven.
Brittany, we love you, and miss you so vey much,
words can't describe.
We anxiously await the day, that we all reunite and
hold you in our arms once again.
What a day that will be!
Until then, you are always in our thoughts,
and close to our hearts.
We love you Britty!!
                                           

Love, Mom & Dad, Brian & Brad.
Many friends and family.

 

 
 
 
In memory of Paul L. Schaadt

Those we love remain with us for love itself lives on,
and cherished memories never fade because a loved one's gone.
Those we love can never be more than a thought apart,
for as long as there is memory, they'll live on in the  heart.
Love you always!  Your Family
 
 
 
 

In Memory of Larry A. Baltzell  

October 23, 1950 – August 17, 2008

 

“He was our North, our South, our East and West,
Our working week and our Sunday rest,
Our noon, our midnight, our talk, our song;
We thought he’d be here for ever: we were wrong.”

 

Adapted from the poem Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden

 

Sadly Missed by Your Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

Noel Temple Sends A Father’s Day Memory
by Noel Temple

For me, Father’s Day was always a day for being proud of my dad, Ivan Temple; this is a picture of the 1934 Rockford Eagles Lodge baseball team. My father,  Bill Snyder’s father and Patty Lee Romer’s father are included in the picture. Also my uncle Theo Temple and my grandfather Cal Temple are in the photo. Great memories!

 

 
 
 
 
Taylor University Memorial on April 26, 2010

A memorial to those who lost their lives including Monica Gibbons Felver in a traffic accident on April 26, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In Memory of Monica Gibbons Felver Who Left This World on April 26, 2006

To our Beautiful, Wonderful Mother:

It has now been a year since you got your Wings and went to be with the Lord. You are sadly missed by so many people. You have touched so many lives. You are now a Beautiful Angel that is watching over all of us and keeping us all safe. We love you with all of our hearts. We also want like to thank everyone for all of the Love and Support that has been given to us. It means so much.

God Bless, Kelly Gehle, Amy Atkins and Hope Beckley
 

 
 
 
 
In Memory of Bob Baker
6-30-1946   -   3-4-2008
"The Broken Chain"
We little knew that morning that God was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone.
For part of us went with you, the day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide.
And though we cannot see you, you are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.
 
Missed by Family & Friends

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

IN MEMORY OF PAUL SCHAADT
05-01-30 to 10-05-08

 
Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road,
to sweet eternity.
We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things,
but never meant to stay...
Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know.
For some the journey's quicker,
For some the journey's slow.
And when the journey finally ends,
We'll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with our Lord.
 
We love you & will miss you always.
Until we meet again,  Your Family -
Marty, Paula, Bec, Mike, Sarah, Theo,
Ella, Zach, Molly, Caleb, Susan & Nick

 

 
 
 
 
 
In Memory of Doris Stover who passed away, March 18, 2006

We thought of you with love today
But that is nothing new,
We thought about you yesterday
And days before that too.
We think of you in silence
We often speak your name,
Now all we have are memories
And your picture in a frame.
Some may think you are forgotten
Though on earth you are no more,
But in our memory you are with us
As you always were before.
A million times we've thought of you
A million times we've cried,
If loving could have saved you
You would have never died.
You left us beautiful memories
Your love is still our guide,
And though we cannot see you
You are always at our side.
It broke our hearts to lose you
But you did not go alone,
Part of us went with you
On the day God called you home.
Forgive me Lord, I'll always weep
For the best friend I loved, but could not keep.

Love,
Your Family
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In Loving Memory of Jay Scarpella
 
July 23, 1961 - March 31, 1993
 
Memories of the joy you brought to everyone who knew you, your laughter which was contagious and your love of life keep you close to us daily. Loving you always, forgetting you never.

Missing You - Your Family
 
 
 
 
 
In Memory of Josh Ralston

On December 9th,1982 our lives were changed when you were born; you always brought us smiles, laughs and mischief . On October 19, 2001 again you changed our lives; all we have now are the memories and the tears. Your family misses and loves you so much words cannot describe, but we know that you are happy and we will see you soon in heaven. Love forever and always, Mom, Dad, Chad, Cory & Jerica

 
 
Kelly (Pryer) Gehle Honors Her Mom with a Blog - Visits and Postings are Welcomed
Hello Sheila,
I do not know if you remember me, but I know that you remember my Mom, Monica Felver. I'm her oldest daughter, Kelly. I went to school and graduated from Parkway in 1988. Cheryl (Hall) Wolfe wrote me and  suggested to me that I write to you. As you know my Mom, Monica, was tragically killed in the I 69 accident on April 26th. And since that time, I have struggled and struggled. If it wasn't for my kids, my sister and my church family, my faith and ALL the prayers from around the world, I wouldn't be sitting where I am today. This is one thing that  has amazed people on the outside of this accident is the FAITH. That's what everything is about...... My Mom was one of the Chosen Five that day and I am honored that she is in Heaven fulfilling God's greater purpose for her. But since this time I have decided to start  a blog in honor of and kind of a memorial, It's where people can write in and share thoughts, prayers, stories, memories. This has been such a  great healing tool for me. So if you could spread this on, print the address. I would appreciate it. Let me know. Thank you so very much for your time and assistance. In Christ, Kelly Gehle
Mom's  blog address http://monicafelver.blogspot.com./

Editor's note: Monica Gibbons Felver was a Parkway Graduate of 1969. Many of you may remember her from the Chattanooga-area. To use a blog, simply click on the address above, read a posting by Kelly. There is a tiny "comments"  link preceded by a number. If you click on that, you will read the comments that people have sent to her, and you can add your own. 

 
 
 
 
In memory of Charles M. and Ethel Van Fleet and Robert L. and Eloise J. Van Fleet
   Submitted by Robert C. Van Fleet (and brother Mike).
 
    My brother Mike and I treasure memories of our family and growing up in Rockford. Our grandfather, Charlie or "Mike", owned Van Fleet's Drug Store and our father, Bob, took it over when grandpa passed away. Both Mike and I learned to work at the drug store where we had various chores ranging from swabbing out the basement after rainstorms flooded it to working behind the soda fountain. In those days the drug store and especially the soda fountain were kind of the social center of Rockford. The hardest parts of our jobs were to be working when all our friends were enjoying summer vacation or when someone would wait until five minutes to nine (closing time) to come in and order a quart of hand-packed ice cream.
    My best memories of my grandpa are about his taking me on turtle trapping and squirrel hunting trips on the St. Marys River. Aside from going with grandpa, as kids, we pretty much lived at the river - building rafts and skinny dipping in the summer and ice skating and hockey games in the winter. Trips with grandpa and his buddies, Skinny Loro and George Kinder, are still vivid memories for me, though I was only 11 years old when grandpa died. Grandpa always used to kid George about his tendency to fall in the river at least once on each of our trips. My daily job in turtle trapping was to empty the bag of chicken heads (from Anspach's poultry plant) that grandpa baited his traps with. It wasn't a real pleasant thing to do but I just loved anything that involved being with grandpa.
    Sadly, my dad died in 1963 when I was a senior in high school. I remember I was at football practice when Coach Hilbert called me aside to inform me that dad had suffered a fatal heart attack. Ironically he died in a drug store in Lima. He had retired from the drug store and he and my mom were going to travel and enjoy just being together. For a long time I carried carbons of traveler's checks that dad had signed on the day he died. Dad loved to play golf on Thursday afternoons when the store was closed and when he bought a King Midget motorized golf cart, he was very tolerant of my and my friend Gary Henkel's endless tinkering and cruising with it in the Tastee Freeze parking lot and occasional clandestine highway trips.
    My dear mom and I moved to California after dad died and I graduated from Parkway. In the bigger scope of things it was probably a good move, but I remember it being so painful to leave my friends and Rockford that I cried most of the way driving my red GTO convertible across the country. Mom drove the last car my dad bought - a 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix - which she owned until just before she died.
    Although mom and I lived at opposite ends of the big state of California we stayed in close contact and saw each other frequently until she passed away in 2002. She was proud of both her kids and she saw me through my graduation from college and my political transformation and radical opposition to the war against Viet Nam and the whole '60's/70's lifestyle change I went through - and about which I have no regrets.
    My brother and I speak often about how fortunate we are to have come from such a good family and about the wonderful memories we have of growing up in Rockford and knowing so many good people there. Those memories will live in us forever and we love to come "home" to visit. Every time I visit I find it very hard to leave. The best part is seeing old friends and I never visit without going to the river to relive the adventures we had there.
    So many things have changed over the years, but I hope the kids growing up in Rockford today will someday treasure their memories of getting a good start in a very special small town - just like Mike and I do.
 
 
 
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