The Eulogy for Gloria Fuechsel

11
Mar

Gloria Fuechsel was born in 1927.  She was preceded in birth by her sister Sally, and followed by her sister Terry and her brother Harold.  Gloria’s early childhood took place during the years of the Great Depression, and there were hard times – times of going without – of not having enough to eat.  As a result, Gloria suffered from rickets, a fact she never talked about.   Gloria wasn’t one to complain. Corrine only found out about the rickets when she saw pictures from her mother’s childhood that showed the effects of the rickets had upon her legs at the time.

The family moved early on to Brooklyn before returning to New Jersey where they settled in Hoboken.  Her mother found work as a midwife, and her father worked during part of her childhood for a Tootsie Roll factory, which meant he was able to bring delight to his daughter by brining home treats.

At age 19 Gloria married Tommy, the brother of Johnny, the man her sister Sally married.  Together they devoted the next 37 years of their lives together to their three children: Coreen, Steve and Alan.

There had been times in her own childhood when there wasn’t enough to eat, but Gloria was determined that this would never be the case for her own children.  She kept a “goody closet” where there were always cakes and cookies and other good things to eat.

She worked various jobs over the years – jobs her children often weren’t even aware of — in order to make sure she had the money necessary to make sure her children always had what they needed.  For over five years she ran the cafeteria at the high school in Hoboken.

 

Although Gloria was a life-long Methodist, she made a promise to the priest when she married Tommy that she would raise their children Roman Catholic.  In Gloria’s mind, promises were sacred – never to be broken. And so although she remained very active and involved in her local Methodist Church, Gloria made sure her kids went to mass and were confirmed.  And she always made sure there were special, new clothes for her children to wear for special occasions like Christmas and Easter – she made sure her children looked pretty and handsome.

 

There were very hard times throughout Gloria’s lives – times when life would bite her – but she possessed – or developed – the toughness and strength necessary to survive.

 

She always had a special place in her heart for children.  She was involved with Head Start and with a local orphanage in Hoboken.  She would bring children home for holidays.  She was always feeding somebody who needed a meal.

 

In anticipation of Tommy’s retirement they moved away from Hoboken to Keansburg down by the shore. But Tommy died just two years after retiring. Gloria moved up to Hackettstown where Coreen and Mike were living.

 

Gloria still had love in her heart that she wanted to share with a man.  So after being alone for two years, she took the bold step of placing an ad in the local newspaper in search of a romantic partner.

 

The advertisement caught the eye of at least 28 men, because 28 letters arrived shortly thereafter in her PO box.  Before the letters arrived, Gloria had a dream one night in which she saw the letters “RD”, and understood the letters to have something to do with the man she would marry.

 

She had no idea what this mean, but when it was time to open the 28 letters, there was one with a return address from RD Feuschel – Bob, who had, like Gloria, found himself suddenly alone two years earlier when his parents died.

 

So 27 years ago this coming Thursday on March 21st, the first day of Spring, Bob and Gloria went on their first date together. Something clicked — something inside said, “this is right.”  And just one month later on April 21st Gloria and Bob got engaged.  And just two months after that they were married on June 21st, the first day of summer, in the Hackettsown United Methodist Church.  A beautiful reception was held afterwards in the backyard of Corrine and Mike’s home.  Gloria was very happy.  For a honeymoon Bob took Gloria to Nashville where Gloria had always wanted to go – they went to the Grand Ole Opry.

 

The marriage was, in Bob’s words, “the best thing that ever happened to him.”  They both had a stubborn streak, and not surprisingly, sometimes the stubborn streaks clashed.   But they were always deeply devoted to one another.  Gloria referred to her husband as “My Bob.”  They enjoyed taking trips together, visiting friends and family.  They always did everything together.

 

Gloria became a member of my church in Parsippany, and had a special way of reaching out to people who might otherwise go unnoticed, becoming their advocate.   A sweet, frail woman named Faith confided with Gloria about difficulties she was having.  She was in danger of becoming destitute because she didn’t have the money to carry out the sale of her home.  Bob and Gloria loaned Faith the money she needed to sell her home.

 

Gloria wrote at least one letter a day to family and friends.  She had a wonderful memory for birthdays, and always sent a birthday card.  She adored her grandchildren.

 

She was always loved her children unconditionally, even though, on occasion Gloria could send them a “poison pen letter” when the situation in her eyes warranted one.  But her love always was there, something you could count on.

 

The last couple of years saw Gloria’s health decline dramatically.   Bob was always faithfully there for her, as she had been for him when he had his cancer scares.   Lou came to live with them to for the last two years and two months of Gloria’s life to assist in her care.  Lou was an angel sent from heaven who could get Gloria laughing even as she struggled with the great frustrations of dementia.

 

She died peacefully this past Wednesday.  Having outlived all her family members of her generation, she went to join them in the everlasting light and love of God.