Agnes was born in DeTour Michigan April 3, 1921, just three months after her father had been tragically killed in an accident on a freighter that travelled the Great Lakes. She was the youngest of six children. When her father was killed, the older children went to work, those that were still school age we split up to live with different relatives, and the two youngest moved with their Mother to Detroit, where she found work in peoples homes as a maid/cook/baker.
As a child, Agnes was quite a talented singer. She even sang
on Radio shows in Detroit. Her older brother Jack used to
bring her to night clubs to have her sing with "BIG BANDS"
that played in those days. She felt horrible one time for
getting stage fright, and embarrassing her older brother.
I'm sure he forgave her instantly.
As a child, Agnes was quite sickly. Her Mother was told by her
Doctor "Anna, don't get too attached to this one". As a young
woman in her 5th pregnancy, her Dr told her "Agnes, you and
I won't be living to a ripe old age". That Dr was right himself,
he passed away in his 60's, but Agnes passed away Tuesday
just two months short of her 91st birthday.
When Agnes' maternal grandmother became ill and moved in with
them, Agnes was forced to quit school after completing 8th grade to provide care for Granny. A task she was more than happy to do given her already well developed "nurturing" instincts.
At 19, she met George, and in 1940, they were married. One year later, they were blessed with their first daughter Virginia. In 1946 George,1952 Gail, 1954 Gary, 1959 Greg, 1960 Gerry and in 1963 the surprise arrivals of twin girls Joan and Mary Ann. But Mary Ann was not well, and they were told she would probably never go home. 3-1/2 months later, MaryAnn passed away.
During all those years of homemaking, and total dedication to her husband, children and home...Agnes needed to be quite frugal about her spending. (possibly honoring her Scotch/Irish heritage). For many years she made a lot of the clothes for her children, especially baby clothes. At Christmas, she would make matching dresses for her and her daughters. Just ask Gail who had the best first-communion dress at St Peters of Harper Woods in 1959. She's sure she did, because her Mom made hers, and it had a special slip with a blow-up plastic
inner-tube in it to make sure her beautiful full skirt was perfectly round.
Agnes won awards for the dolls she dressed for a Ford Motor Charity annually at Christmas, that were displayed at the Ford Rotunda's annual Christmas Exhibit.
Another thing her children will tell you, even after she stopped sewing them clothes, she would stash away money from her weekly household allowance so that she and each of her children could have new outfits for Easter Sunday. Not one year went buy that the weren't totally "decked out".
Her husband George was famous for his baking of doughnuts, bread, raisin bread and "Stickey Buns". But Agnes made the worlds best Fudge, and was famous for her Pie Crust, which she learned from her mother.
As far as cooking, she didn't have a lot of fancy or gourmet specialties, but every holiday, she managed to put on a spread of wonderful food. And she always did it all by herself, and within her food budget. Her daughters still cannot understand how she did it. They rely heavily on each other for help to pull-off those same family meals in current years. "How did Mom ever do this alone for every holiday, which was always
at "our house" for not only our immediate family, but also the extended family..for as long as we an remember."
But Agnes was just good inside the home. She often could be found out cutting the grass, or helping to paint the house, or even helping to build one of there early homes on Woodland. In that house, they built the garage first, then lived in the garage while they built the rest of the house. While George was at work, Agnes could be found roofing the house, all while, watching the kids, making dinner, and keeping up
with the laundry.
When Agnes married George, she weighed 103 pounds. She stayed slim and trim thru her life until her partial-hysterectomy in 1965. Although she was never very much overweight, she always longed to have back that flat-stomach, and Betty Grable legs that age and arthritis had taken away.
During Agnes and George's marriage and their 7 children, Agnes
always was a homemaker. They lived in many places over the years, Detroit, Harper Woods, Kokomo Indiana, Milford, Harper Woods again, then Livonia, and several places in Northville. After George passed away, she sold their Florida Condo that they had wintered in for many years, and remained for a few years at an apartment in Northville. Then, when she needed radiation treatments for breast cancer, she moved in with her daughter Virginia in Mt Clemens for three years, followed by eight years living with Joan and her family in Highland. But this past summer, it became obvious that it wasn't good for her to be alone during the day. So the family researched
the best solution for her, and moved her into her own apartment at Oakmont Assisted Living in Northville. She was quite happy there. It gave each of her children a chance to spend quality one-on-one time with her when they visited. And her doting family visited her daily...to the point that some of the other residents were actually jealous of Agnes. During her 6 months
of living at Oakmont, only three days went by that she was not visited by one of her family. From Mid-December thru her death last Wednesday morning, she was provided 24/7 care by her 7 children. Oakmont and Hospice have both told the family, that they have never seen a family provide this total dedication to their Mother's care. A direct reflection on Agnes, and the family values she instilled within her children.
There are two other things Agnes was famous for. The first
was being "on-time" or more likely early. Two instances
that support this are: the time she and George were to drive
Pierre and Gail to the airport for their annual trip to Florida for Thanksgiving. They arrived at 4am to a dark house. So they went around to the back door, and with a fur coat on in a cold November rain, she threw stones at their bedroom window to awaken them. Problem was, their pick up time was supposed to be 4 pm the next day. Another example is how when living
with Joan's family, she didn't want them to be late. So when
she thought they weren't up in time for work or school, she'd
yell up the stairs to them. Problem was, she even did it on
days they didn't have work or school.
Her grandkids will all tell you that she was loving, sweet and funny..but one of their Grandmas "things" was was how much
she didn't like them barefoot in the house….always wanted
them to have socks on. Then there was the harassment about
wearing coats, hats, mittens and boots when they went outside…even in the summer.
Agnes was famous for her sweet tooth. When living with Joan's
family, the children learned to hide their Halloween and Easter stash's so Grandma wouldn't pilfer them. At 3:00 am, you could
hear her rattling the wrappers of either her candy, or her
"fat-cakes". In fact, her last meal, which was this past sunday night was Pumpkin pie, pureed in a food processor, thinned with Sweet Cream. Her last "libation" was a beer with her son Greg on Saturday Night. They couldn't get her to drink much else, but the beer...No Problem!
For the last several weeks of her life, after she became bed-bound she kept hounding her daughter Joan to weigh her. Joan told her Mom, you can't stand up, how would we do that. She said well, you should be able to figure out a way. Well, on the eve of her death, 5 hours before her death... although they knew they could lie to her, and tell her she weighed 103 again... her children decided they couldn't lie to her..so, to honor her final wish, they had their brother Greg weigh himself on a scale they brought into her room, then carefully and tenderly pick up his mother and get weighed again, then place her gently back into bed. And guess what, not only had she made her goal..she beat it. At her death, she weighed 102-1/2.
She has 7 children (and their spouses and families). Her 7
children ages span 22 years. Although she has left them
behind, she had a lot of family waiting to greet her in Heaven. She also got to meet her father for the first time! And how glorious for her to see her Daughter Mary Ann, who had died at 3-1/2 months... her other two children from miscarriages that this week she got to give them their name. Her 5 siblings that pre-deceased her and their spouses and children. But the happiest reunion had to be the one with her loving husband George, who'd she'd been missing everyday for the last 14 years.
Agnes will truly be missed every day by her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She did take a little piece of each of them with her when she passed... But her legacy, and the memories of her will live in their hearts forever.
Agnes Eleanor Alaska passed away peacefully in her Northville, Michigan home on February 8, 2012 at the age of 90.
She was the beloved wife of the late George who predeceased her in 1998. Loving mother of Virginia Kitchen, George (Janet), Gail (Pierre), Gary (Shirley), Gregory (Edna), Gerry (Sandy) and Joan (Scott) Green. Dear grandmother of Kevin, Korey (Susan), Kraig, Andrea (Tim), Carrie, Jeff (Anne Marie), Angel, Shauna (Joseph), Brian, Danny, Brad (Grace), Shelby, Mackenzie and Brent. Step-grandmother of Jenna, Eric, Dave, Tedd and Todd. Great-grandmother of Kara, Katelyn, Kayla, Alexa, Kraig Jr., Grace, Charlotte, Sebastian, Logan and Adam. Step-great-grandmother of Trent, Trace, Ty, Jake, Skylar, Alex, Kathy, Nina, Elaine, Derrick, Jeffrey and Nick.
The family will receive friends for a Visitation on Friday, February 10, 2012 from 2-8pm with a 7pm Vigil Service at:
Harry J. Will Funeral Home
37000 Six Mile Road (just east of Newburgh and I-275)
Livonia, Michigan 48152
The Funeral Mass will be at 10:00am on Saturday, February 11, 2012, with a final viewing from 9:30am until 10:00am at:
St. Colette Catholic Church
17600 Newburgh Road (between 6 and 7 Mile roads)
Livonia, Michigan 48152
Agnes will be laid to rest, with Committal Prayers, next to her husband George in Glen Eden Memorial Park Cemetery, Livonia, Michigan following the Funeral Mass.
Memorial Donations may be made in Agnes' name to:
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105