Friday, October 15, 2010

In Memory of Florence Niermeyer

The last time I saw my aunt Florence and Uncle Dave, they were in town for my dad’s funeral. The year before I had seen them at my uncle Bob’s funeral. This weekend we are gathering again with extended family to mourn a great loss and celebrate a wonderful life. My aunt Linda, Aunt Pat, and I have decided that three Niermeyer funerals in three years is far too many.
Florence R. Niermeyer loved dearly and has been dearly loved. She and her husband (my dad’s brother) Dave have always been close with my parents, my sisters, and me. When growing up, we’d regularly visit them at their house on our way to and/or from wherever we happened to live at the time and Rochester, New York, my parents’ hometown.

Dave and Florence always welcomed us warmly into their home. We have fond memories of spending time with our cousins: David, Eric, and Annelisa, sharing meals, hearing hilarious stories, seeing pictures from their worldwide travels, and meeting the many exchange students they hosted over the years.
There are few people I know whose hearts are as big as Dave’s and Florence’s. Besides opening their home to family and friends and hosting a number of exchange students who were treated as family, they founded a loving community in Nairobi, Kenya called Boystown where boys who’d been living on the streets can get wholesome meals, receive an education, learn a trade, play sports, make friends, and feel God’s love in concrete ways. They have been active as volunteers for countless organizations and causes. I can’t even imagine how many lives she’s touched during her seventy years on this earth.
I do know Florence will be missed by many. I also have good reason to believe she's already with the Lord, and was greeted with open arms by Nana, Pa, Paul, my uncle Bob, my dad…
Lord, thank You for the gift of this wonderful woman. Please help us to carry her memory and the lessons in love she’s taught us. Amen.
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