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9/8/2007 - EULOGY FOR MARY KAY ROTTLER JASKOWIAK
written and presented by: Auntie Helen
I would like to share with you my memories and my friendship with Mary Kay.
If we each had the opportunity at the end of our lives on earth I think we might ask of ourselves and each other, "Did I make a difference?" Did my life make a difference to my family, to loved ones, to friends to acquaintances? I think we would all wish that we had accomplished this and I CERTAINLY believe that Kays' life made a difference! We are all here to attest to the love she had for her God, her faithfulness to prayer, to her church, and the love she had for each and every one of us. She loved being a part of the "Jasko" family as she called us.
Mary Katherine Rottler was born May 30, 1922. She was the oldest of three children born to William and Loretta Rottler. She had a younger sister, Margaret who was born February 14, 1924 who was nicknamed, "Buckie", and a brother William, "Bill" who was born December 27, 1925. I once asked Kay how her sister got the name of "Buckie"? She chuckled and explained that when Bill, the younger brother was first learning to talk he couldn't say "Margaret" so he called her "Bucket"!
The name stuck so she was known as "Buckie" for her entire life. Kay was saddened because she couldn't go to Margaret's funeral when she died April 22, 2006. Kay suffered from arthritis and other ailments which kept her pretty close to home the last year and a half of her life. Her brother, Bill, a father of five sons, had passed away November 30, 1993.
Mary Kay, known in her later years as "Kay" had a tough beginning, she lost her biological mother just before she turned 13. It was a very impressionable time in Kay's life. Her father, William Rottler married one of her mother's best friends, Irma. He had three youngsters to raise had to go to work and needed a mother for a thirteen year old, an eleven year old and a ten year old, a very busy household. It was and Kay admitted a necessity but it didn't make it easy for her and particularly for Buckie to have a "step-mother" at ages 13 and 11 respectively. She grew to love Irma and had respect for her in later years but it had been a difficult time.
Kay came into my life, into the "Jasko Family" when she married my brother, John, August 21, 1943. She was living in Lafayette, Indiana and John was a college student at Purdue University in West Lafayette. It was during the war so fabrics for wedding dresses and such were hard to come by. She had her sister, Buckie, as her Maid of Honor and they wore beautiful dark velvet dresses as that was all that was available. She shared with me that it was a very hot day, but she was so happy to be a part of John's family and they had a wonderful wedding day. John's best man was someone they lovingly called "Charlie Poop Poop"! I really never knew him but when Kay shared her memories with me it was with joy and a wonderful sense of fun.
Kay had a wonderful sense of humor, a hearty laugh and lots of friends. She had worked as a bookkeeper for Roy Eichstadt's Chevrolet and Cadillac Dealership for a number of years. John had been involved with selling insurance after college and then they bought the D and B, which was a short-order cook type restaurant, and had pool tables for recreation.
I came to visit them for a week when I was in 8th grade. They lived in a tiny little house in Park View. Knox at that time had a wonderful summer program for youngsters to go and do crafts during the day. I met a couple of young people with whom I corresponded with for a time. I also wrote letters to Kay. She would write back to ME! I was so proud that I had gotten a letter in the mail and it was addressed to ME! I think Kay recognized that people are people no matter how small, how young I don't know if I ever fully thanked her for that bit of "Self Esteem" she caused me to have because she complimented me on the nice letters I wrote.
At the end of my sophomore year, my mother and I moved to Knox to live with John and Kay. It was a necessary move because my mother had no income. Miners Pension had ceased to have any funds. Kay welcomed us along with John. I worked at the D and B after school. They had provided us with a place to live and a job for me. It was very generous.
It was from their home that I was married in 1952 to Russell Siebenthal.
While Russ and I were on our honeymoon trip a wonderful happening took place in their household! They adopted Deborah Ellen! It was a life changing event! They were so thrilled!
Grandma Jaskowiak was a resident in their home most of the time the next few years. I observed when we would visit and bring our children how much patience Kay showed as when Grandma was around, she was the person who thought she knew best about how to discipline and raise a child. She had raised 13 of her own. After all, she would be the one to say to Debbie, "No No" instead allowing Kay or John to say it. I questioned Kay about it, and she explained she thought Debbie had too many "bosses" so she just would let Grandma say it. I thought that was an inordinate show of patience and love for Debbie.
After Debbie and Bill Meyers were married they moved to Arizona. Kay and John were frequent visitors there and showed a lot of support for them when their oldest son, Bradley Scott was ill and subsequently passed away. It was very hard for Kay and John both to witness.
Both Kay and Johns' lives were lives of giving and caring. They made huge gardens and shared with neighbors and would bring car loads of fresh vegetables to Russ and me in Sturgis.
Kay worked for about 25 years on the Indiana Toll Road. She often worked the middle of the night shift. I remember stopping with my station wagon with all our children asleep, to visit with her for a few minutes and to give myself a break from getting too tired. It was something we both enjoyed.
Kay and John celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary at the Jaskowiak Reunion in 1993. They wore gold T-Shirts, we had a mass in the park and of course we made sure they had a big Wedding Cake to share! It was to be later that fall when John died, fourteen years ago.
Kay and I became even closer friends after John passed away. We spoke on the phone about every two weeks and we shared lots of memories and funny stories and exchanged printed humor when we found it.
It was a wonderful Blessing for Kay when Debbie and Bill returned to Knox to live. It was expecia1ly exciting and uplifting for Kay when her granddaughter, Cherie and Greg were expecting little Kaidan. I could hear it in Kays' voice that she was excited and obviously was looking forward to that new baby! I think it added a few months to her life. Each morning when Kay would awake her first thought was to see Kaidan. She would feed him and help care for him. She expressed frequently that she wished she would live to see him walk! I understand that Kaidan is indeed beginning to walk.
It was a very special time for Kay when Matthew, her grandson who lives in California would come each summer to visit. She would find joy in the accomplishments of her great grand children, Kyle Denis and Lucas Scott.
I know that Kay was prepared to join John in his heavenly home for some time. I am sure if she could choose, she would ask that God take her quickly just as he did. She would not have wanted to be a burden to anyone.
I miss her. It is hard for me to believe she is gone from this earth. We each have one less person to love us. We will all miss her ready laugh and cheerful greeting. May God grant that she rest in peace and allow heavenly light to shine upon her.
Helen K. (Jaskowiak) Siebenthal-Munson