<span class="ev_code_BLUE">MARIE ELAINE ELSENPETER</span>
Marie Elaine Elsenpeter was born Marie Pamer on July 6, 1949 in Barberton, Ohio. She married Bill Elsenpeter on June 21, 1969 in Covina, Ca. They have no children but have 12 nieces & nephews. They resided in Covina for 24 years and then Camarillo, Ca for 25 years. During the last year, Marie & Bill traveled the country from Canada to Mexico, Pacific to the Atlantic coasts in their Winnebago motorhome. She died on Sept 27, 2008 in Camarillo, CA from a sudden and unexpected stroke.
<span class="ev_code_BLUE">Eulogy written and read by Bill Elsenpeter at the viewing</span>
Here’s what Marie was to me, you know, she filled some mighty big shoes….
My wife of 39 years
My lover, my one and only partner for almost 15,000 days & nights
My friend, we loved to be together & do things together
My companion, always by my side without being asked
My soul-mate, made sure we got to church on time, and didn’t eat meat on Friday when it was Lenten season
My long-term memory, her strength was my weakness
My defender and best supporter, when times were tough
My homemaker and cook, 24/7
My travel planner, she would pack the suitcase, drop off & pick me up at the airport for all those business trips overseas & across the country
My accountant, now I have to do Quicken and prepare for the tax man
My banker, I will have to crack the safe because I have no idea where the combination is
My budget maker, she balanced the budget and controlled my spending
My tailor, she would bring home 3 shirts so I could pick one, then she would take the time to go back & return the two we didn’t pick out
My nurse and caretaker, she had the box of drugs at my side at the 1st sniffle
My navigator & co-pilot, she learned to use the laptop & GPS and got us to our destination avoiding the 11 foot underpass, and not missing the turns. She never slept on some of those non-stop cross-country emergency trips, like 36 hours when Tom went with us to my Aunt Doris’ funeral in Minnesota.
My typist and proofreader, in college and before pc’s, she took my drafts and made them perfect
As you’ve heard, Marie was a huge part of my life. Of course I was a big part of her life too, providing an income, building & repairing, analyzing and correcting problems. I was the guy that bought the ink, but Marie made the cards. I got the boxes of yarn out of storage, but she made the beautiful afghans. I grew the tomatoes, but she canned them and made the perfect dinner. Of course, you can’t forget those awesome cinnamon rolls.
Thank you friends and family, for all you’ve done, and all you will have to do in future days and years to keep me going strong, and staying the course. Please, please, call or send an email often to help fill that big hole in my life.
Finally, Marie was my life support, and now I need some oxygen, before I pass out.
<span class="ev_code_BLUE">Funeral Mass Reading - Thursday, October 2, 2008</span>
Well right now as I write this, I think about how proud I am of Marie and Robbie, my nephew in the Marines, now fighting in Iraq. Like a Marine in boot camp training, or fighting on the front lines, in the last 5 days I have had only 2-4 hours sleep per night and eating only half the food I would normally get. Yet I’m going strong and feel good. Like the Marines, I think it has a lot to do with the hardcore team support around you. My family and friends have just been overwhelming in their complete dedication to support the team mission. We all seem to have the same core values that are the Marines: Honor, Courage, and Commitment. My brother, Tom has been by my side almost continuously from the first hours, fighting here on the frontlines, helping me battle all the bullets and missiles coming at me from all sides. My sister, Mary, brother Jeff, and their spouses, my nieces & nephews, my friends, my cousins, have all come together like a Marine Core battle group to do what needs to be done.
I learned last year there were just 395 organ donors in Southern California, a population base of 10 million or so. So Marie too is like a Marine – “The Few and The Proud”. Like a Marine would do, she sacrificed part of her life to support the lives of three others now carrying her organs.
In all the 40 years I knew Marie, she never cussed or used a foul word. I mean never, not even once. I always kidded her about being St Marie, and I couldn’t even coach a Oh **** out of her. Once when we were on vacation in our truck and camper, we got hit broadside by another truck. I thought I heard "Oh ****" from Marie, but that was never confirmed by Marie or a 3rd party.
While at mass with Tom at St Clare’s in Oxnard this past Sunday, I couldn’t believe how appropriate the readings of St Paul, the gospel of St Matthew, and the sermon of Father Mike was spot on.
Thus says the Lord: You say, “The Lord’s way is not fair!” Hear now, Is it my way that is unfair, or rather your ways unfair. Then in my mind I kept thinking about those early hours standing next to Marie’s brain dead body on life support, why is it so unfair to take my Sweet Marie away. Now I have some answers.
I realized how much Marie’s mission on earth was like Jesus. Marie spent her living days like Jesus, teaching and supporting others. Since we didn’t have any kids, and Marie didn’t work, she did day care for many years helping to raise many of our nieces and nephews. She had already had a hysterectomy and we couldn’t have kids of our own. She was attached to those kids like they were ours, and I felt this was important because it filled the motherly needs in Marie. In the last two months Marie struggled mightily to care for her ill mother. Try to imagine what it’s like dealing with her Mom, Virginia, as cancer victim. Three times in the hospital in 5 weeks. The last time, 9 hours in the emergency room of a trauma center, on a Friday evening before they got Virginia into a real room. Marie spent the rest of that night sleeping on a small couch at her mother's bed side. I was there later, with Marie coming in on an ambulance. That emergency room is not a pretty sight, nor the sounds of 30 people in pain. And I was there only 20 minutes. Marie had to be a saint.
Like Jesus, Marie helped heal the sick providing first aid for many, many medical emergencies. Marie was the medic in our family outings, at home, and around the neighborhood.
Father Mike’s sermon was about “actions speak louder than words”. How many people can quote St Theresa, Pope John Paul, or President Carter? And then how many people can remember what they did? Most of us can remember Carter pounding nails building houses for humanity, Pope John kissing the ground in US, and St Theresa picking up the poor child. But very few can quote anything they said. Marie was quiet and not boisterous, but her actions spoke way louder than her words.
And finally, like Jesus, Marie died on earth, to bring life to others. A large mural inside St Clare’s church shows a dead St Clare being laid down to rest for internity. I saw Marie in that painting. May her soul rest in peace.
Your loving husband,
<span class="ev_code_RED">John Canfield received this email from Bill "Duner" Elsenpeter earlier this morning. Please send your thoughts and sentiments to Bill and his family during this time of loss. We will update the memorial page first post at a later time with Bill's permission and input. </span>
"It is with heavy heart, a lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes, that I have to inform you that my Loving Wife Marie has passed away today. She is now resting in peace in the hands of the Lord. As a committed organ donor, they are now preparing to harvest Marie's healthy heart, liver, kidneys, and tissue to save as many as 8 other living souls. Fr. Calin, a Catholic priest, gave the sacrament of Last Rites to Marie along with a beautiful service and prayers to about 15 family and friends holding hands around Marie.
I write this because, for me, it's easier and more fulfilling to get this out. Besides I can't sleep more than 2 hours and it's 4 in the morning.
On Wednesday at 3:30, Marie had a massive stroke while Marie and I were at the Doctor's office. We were there to find out why Marie was having a really bad migraine and some speech problems that started on Saturday. While in his office her right side started getting numb and terrible pain in her head. In 3 minutes she was unconscious and the paramedics were on their way. We were only a thousand feet away from the Camarillo hospital. A cat scan showed a very serious bleeding in two parts of the brain. She was sedated, ventilated, and transferred to St John's in Oxnard where a neurosurgeon ran a MRI and was prepared for surgery. The doctor said damage was massive and irreversible. The neurosurgeon could not explain why it happened or what went wrong without an autopsy which would negate the possibility of donating her organs. Marie had no history of hypertension, high blood pressure, or other diseases other than a lifetime of migraines and a family history of strokes at a much later age.
Marie was always a worrier and put everyone's needs ahead of hers. She had struggled for 2 months helping her mother, Virginia, prepare for, and recover from colon cancer surgery. Virginia has been in & out of the hospital 3 times and is still in very serious condition. Virginia is on the 3rd floor while Marie passed away on the 2nd floor. Excuse me if I put a comma where a period should be, they look the same with a layer of tears in my eyes. The doctors and social workers helped prepare Marie's brother Buddy and I to break the news to Virginia who took it pretty well. We did get to wheel Virginia down to see Marie yesterday while she lay there peacefully and breathing on the ventilator. She had 45 minutes to spend with her only daughter. We now pray that Virginia continues to have the strength and willpower to live.
It will be hard to bridge the tremendous cavern Marie's departure is leaving in my life. It's been 39 years of a beautiful marriage, and actually 40 years almost to the day we meet on the night shift at Conrac. I asked Buddy, her brother to introduce me to his nice looking sister. Her dad and uncle also worked at Conrac. They were a little leery to let Marie get on the back of this guy's motorcycle, but soon Glenn & Virginia bought a big Honda, and we had many extended and very memorable trips together with my sister Mary and my brother Tim. At one point we had 5 motorcycles in my family ,,, me, my Dad, and brothers Tom, Tim, and Jeff.
Marie spent her entire life caring for, and spending time for the needs of others. For many years she did volunteer work for the Camarillo Convalescent Hospital and Braille Institute for the Blind. Marie always had the biggest supply of first aid needs in our camper, and many, many times wrapped the wounds of me, my brothers, dad, nephews and friends as we scraped and broke parts of our body's riding in the deserts and mountains. Marie missed her calling by not taking up a nurse's career. Marie was not assertive and always underestimated her knowledge and skill levels. She had an awesome memory for names, dates, ages and events. I was the analytical guy and could figure out why something wouldn't work right for her, but never let me down when I'd ask 'where did we put that gismo last year, I can't find it. In two minutes, Marie would have it there for me. In hindsight now, I believe Marie must have had the first stroke about 9 months ago because she had a really bad migraine for two days and later lost just a little of the razor sharp memory. We both passed it off as another senior moment and just growing old.
Now I ask for everyone's love and prayers for Marie and a successful organ donor procedure. It will now take an additional 24-26 hours to line up the organ recipients. The <span class="ev_code_RED">OneLegacy.org</span> tells us many organs end up overseas for our fighting men and women. In about 2-3 months they will send me a letter describing the results of the successful transplant recipients.
May God's Love and peace be with you,
Ps, if Marie was here now, I would have her proofread this for spelling and grammar, and fix all the dyslectic screw ups that Word spell check can't catch. Oh, my! I miss Marie a lot.