born and raised on a farm in Clearfield County, PA.
The middle child in a large, devout and caring Free
Methodist family. She died peacefully in her home
with family on the sixteenth floor overlooking
the downtown core of Portland, OR. She married
Joel H Deese in 1945 and they raised six children
together, establishing homes in North Carolina,
Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. She
was and remains much loved as a consummate post war
pioneer American mother and homemaker. An archetypal
Virgo and natural teetotaler she could and often did
everyone's sewing and taxes, all the
while fomenting a charismatic presence
among her relatives, both young and old, and giving
enduring comfort to the many
neighborhood friends of her six children.
her mother, Sara Smeal, so for her 'saving a
life' came as second nature.Her children can tell you of numerous
heroic life and limb saving stories, such as using
kerosene to draw off blood poison in a child.
She probably saved all their lives at one time or
the age of 50 she was diagnosed with lymphoma and
given 9 mos to live. It took heronlya
year to bring it intototalremission
group prayer and raw natural dietary methods.
Though prone to humor, she was on occasion an
outright comedian. Especially on special occasions.
She had a laughing with you and laughing at you
delivery that gave many of us our funniest moment at
the reunion or wedding or long car trip. When it got
started she would pile it on. She must have gotten
this from her big sister Vera.
She did not deliberately listen to music or
watch TV. She instead conducted a personal year
round Christmas is coming soon campaign. Apparently
always taking mental notes, she literally
turned it into a monumental art form. To be her
child on that day was a true revelation of the Lord
as child. Somehow, over the course of the previous
year, she had gained access to your secret wishes
and brought them into a living color all at once
gala event that was not for the weak of spiritual
As hobbies she quilted and sewed and crocheted
and did needlepoint, accomplishing hundreds of
complicated items. At her peak she wrote 300
birthday and Christmas cards a year. Miraculously,
she even found a few lost relatives through personal
hunches and writing letters of inquiry.
Her chief accomplishment was in carrying
through from childhood her parent's faith in
sobriety and humor, giving her a never ending source
of adaptability and absolutism which everyone who
knew her could trust and enjoy as both the honest
salt and the wisdom of the ages she embodied.
Though she imprinted well, she is irreplaceable
and she will be sorely missed. She is surely
among the heaven bound.
Here is just a sample of one liners from her
last years with dementia.
Oh honey, I'm doing better than anyone I know.
Nobody needs to be better looking than you.
God I wish I lived by myself!
Is it my head we're worried
about, not yours?
This could be your next dollar.
You're head is probably like that
now because you won't listen.
When you can be your own boss you
sure don't have no reason to get married.
Am I dreaming or not. I'm not
getting up to find out!
I guess we're supposed to
I'm ready to wash my hair because I
finally have nothing else to do.
Well all four of us laughed but not
at the same time.
I've been in bed about ten days-after I caught
on that I could do that.
I start every day. I start and
that's as far as I get.
I better get smaller and older,
maybe that will work.
Well, don't I have my own car
I sure wish I didn't know who I
was. I got to get up now and dothat.
I hope you weren't talking to me
all this time.
It wouldn't be hard to not forget
Simmee told me long ago that she
was working on it.
trying to put us to sleep.
Is there another place on earth to
Did Vesta ever marry anybody?
I blame you for all this!
the days there are and you have to wait for them to
come to you.
Just because you don't have any
friends we don't want you to bring them all here.
I am so far behind. If you only
knew how much I have to do.
I don't know when I grew up. Maybe
You' aren't thinking I'm gonna
die before I die, are you?
You may have all you want but
I might have all I don't want.
I think I should go over there,
change my name, put something ugly on and move in.
I grew up on a farm so I don't
ever believe I don't believe.
I have more to do than you can
imagine but I can't do it all at once. I'm way
I've gotten too tall to put on my own shoes.