Obituary from the Seattle Times, Wednesday, January 12, 2010:
Charlotte passed away January 8, 2010 following a brief illness. She was born November 6, 1934 in Schefield, North Dakota, the oldest child of Leo and Rose Sticka. Following graduation from St. Mary's High School in New England, ND, she attended St. Joseph's Nursing School in Minot and became an RN in 1956. On October 3 of the following year she married her high school sweetheart, Fred Zielie. They lived in Fargo for several years, with Charlotte working as a nurse while Fred attended North Dakota State University.
They relocated to Renton, Washington, a suburb of Seattle, in 1962 when Fred was hired by The Boeing Company. Charlotte focused on being a mother for a few years before returning to her nursing career in 1975, working as an Emergency Room nurse at Valley Medical Center in Renton. She retired from there in 1990 and lived the rest of her life enjoying her ever-expanding family, Mariners baseball, birdwatching in her back yard, and life with Fred. She was an active member of St. Anthony's parish in Renton, as a member of the Antonians senior group, and serving on the Funeral Reception committee.
Charlotte is survived by her husband of 52 years, Fred; children Liz (Bob) McFarland of Federal Way; Fred R. (Shellea) Zielie of Renton; Bev (Mike) Miller of Auburn; Connie (Bill) Dolezal of Federal Way; Debbie (Darrell) Dolen of Renton; 10 grandchildren and 3 great-grandsons. She is also survived by siblings Paul (Margaret) Sticka of Minneapolis; Judy Duval of Brainerd, MN; Vern Sticka of San Diego; Ruth Kain of Maple Valley; and Terry (Cheryl) Sticka of Spokane. She was preceded in death by her parents, Leo and Rose, brother Herman Joseph and sister Anne.
A visitation will be held 12 pm to 7 pm with Rosary at 7 pm Wednesday, January 13 at Faull-Stokes Mortuary, 300 S 3rd St, Renton; and a Funeral Mass will be said at 11:00 am Thursday, January 14 at St. Anthony Church, 314 S 4th St , Renton. A reception will follow at the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.
Arrangements under the direction of Faull-Stokes Mortuary, Renton, WA.
Tributes from the Seattle Times Website:
January 12, 2010
I worked with Char for 14 years at Valley and want you to know that above all she loved her family. I have vivid memories all your names and many kid related events that took place. Char could make the most inane days be filled with laughter. Her favorite saying was "don't sweat the small stuff and rule #2 is everything is small stuff". She was an amazing woman and the world has lost a beautiful soul. I am so sorry for your loss. Celia McBride
January 13, 2010
We are deeply saddened to hear of your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family during this very difficult time. We send you lots of hugs and lots of love.....
Denise, Terry, Cody and Kendal Daniels
January 13, 2010
I Was saddened to hear of Char's death. She was a friend in the days that our children were going to St Anthony's. As a co-worker at the hospital, she was always cheerful and always helpful when I needed help. She will be greatly missed by all the lives she touched. Love and prayers to comfort her family from the Herman family,
Irene and Gene
~ Irene Herman, Maple Valley, Washington
January 14, 2010
Miss Char was amazing! She was always cheerful and I truly enjoyed being her friend all the years we worked at VMC. Always in a good mood, even if the shift was difficult and always making others laugh. My thoughts are with you all.
~ Linda Bunce
January 18, 2010
i was so saddened to hear of your family's loss. i worked with char at "valley general" back in the late 1970's. she was one of the special people who always smiled and made life easier for not only the ED staff, but especially the patients. she was a true angel to her profession. my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
eugene chin, wisconsin
January 18, 2010
For many of us who worked with her at Valley, Char was a role model and friend. She was calm and cheerful in her work, centered in her faith, and devoted to her family. She and Marlene will have the angels laughing. My prayers are with you.
~Kathy Schaeffer, Renton, Washington
E-mail to High School Classmates and Responses:
E-mail, though practical and efficient, does not seem to be the proper way to inform you that Charlotte has died. She passed away peacefully on Friday, January 8th, after a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. At the time of her death, she was surrounded by her family.
She was, and still is, in many ways, a proud member of the Class of '53.
I am so very sorry to hear of Charlotte's death. You will be in my prayers and thoughts. I was not aware of her illness. God bless and comfort you.
Mildred Senn Banchy
Fred, we're devastated to get this news. We are so fortunate to have known both of you for 60 + years and visit with you guys these last years.
We pray for you and your family to get through this sad time. We will be in touch with you.
Chuck and Marge Metzinger
I'm sorry to hear that Charlotte passed away. My thought are with you and your family.
Irene Franchuk Roeder
Sorry about your loss. I remember her fondly, she was a classy lady in high school.
Pat and Jackie Gardner
We join you in mourning. I have many fond memories of you & Charlotte in high school - of you as a class officer and friend; Charlotte as a hard-working, fun-loving gal who was fun to be around. I still remember the May-Crowning of our senior year when she, as leader of the Sodality, did the honors. I'm sure that everyone in our class has full admiration for her - and always will.
Thank you for sending us the emails. It allows me to know who to pray for when I know of anyone who is ill, injured or has passed away. Sister Rachel has recently been ill with lymphoma and has not been able to continue her work with sacramental preparation for many months. I'm sure her prayers are a major reason our class members have been blessed with happy lives. I frequently tell people about our class of diverse backgrounds and our eventual low divorce rate. That didn't happen just by accident.
God bless the Zielie family.
Ralph and Marcia Kilzer
My sympathy to you & to all of your family as you grieve Charlotte's death. Be assured of my prayers for her and for all of you!!
Yes, she will always be a part of our Class of '53!!!
Sr. Rachel (Arlene) Mayer
Father Gary Zender's homily:
Today, we give thanks to God for Charlotte Rose Zielie, who from our perspective was taken from us way too early. We also know that she ultimately is not ours, she is the Lord's. So with deep sorrow and even deeper faith, we give her back to the Lord. We join in prayer and love with her family, especially her husband Fred, and her five children, her ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren and five surviving siblings.
St. Anthony's is a large parish and one of the greatest challenges is
know and feel connected to so many people. I had the gift of having a special relationship with Charlotte because our last names both begin with the letter "Z". ln fact if I had been choosing the readings I would have chosen "The last shall be first and the first shall be last." In addition to that, she is the same age as my mother, they were both nurses and she and Fred were married 1957 the same year that my folks were married. Charlotte's family chose the readings, and they are beautiful ones which speak powerfully to this moment of coming together to sort out the meaning of her death.
Charlotte's Catholic faith was part and parcel of who she was. She was raised in a large, Catholic family in Schefield, North Dakota where she attended catholic schools. When Charlotte and her husband, Fred moved their young family to Renton in 1962, she quickly became a member of St. Anthony's and all five children attended St. Anthony's school. Once she retired as a nurse, she devoted herself even more fully with the ministries of the parish, with the Antonians, coordinating the funeral luncheons, as well as with Catholic Community Services where she trained and organized volunteers. The Lord had given much to her and she in turn wanted to give back. We heard from lsaiah the proclamation that the Lord has called us by name and that we belong to the Lord. Charlotte knew this in her heart and lived it faithfully in her life. There is great comfort for us in knowing that she found her strength in the Lord. My last conversation with Charlotte was on the telephone after parishioners told me that she had pancreatic cancer and I called to offer her the sacrament of the sick. She didn't want to draw unnecessary attention to herself and so she told me: "We don't know for sure. I will get my diagnosis on Tuesday." Little did she or any of us know just how quickly she would pass from us. The family chose Jesus' departure narrative to his disciples from the 16th chapter of John. Here, he reminds his disciples that the short time of his departure and the short time of his return are very much related to one another. The disciples learned quickly just how short that time was of Jesus departure, just as we learned how quickly Charlotte's death came. And even though 2,OOO years have passed and we are still waiting for Jesus' return, we also know that for the Lord a thousand years is as one day and one day is as a thousand years. The time of his return in that sense is much sooner than we think. As quick as was her death, we also know that the day is coming quickly that we will see her again, through God's mercy. This is our hope and our consolation.
The reading from second Corinthians today called for us to be courageous, to walk by faith, not by sight. I am sure that if Charlotte could speak to us she would say the same thing. Charlotte was a woman who walked by faith, and who lived that faith with courage. The best way for us to honor her is to do the same.
Eulogy written by Liz and read by Terry at the funeral reception:
As many other families did, the Zielie family gathered several weeks ago to celebrate Christmas. One of Grandma Charlotte's gifts that day was a photo frame, given to her by granddaughter Amanda and Amanda's fiance Tim. It had spots for three photos, and the words "All Because Two People Fell in Love" inscribed on it. Mom had Dad immediately put several photos in the frame - one of the two of them, one of the five Zielie kids, and one of the extended family. Amanda probably has no idea how much Mom cherished this particular gift - it seemed to touch something in her, and she proudly pointed it out to visitors over the next few days. Little did we know that it would be serving as inspiration for a eulogy three short weeks later. But Mom's legacy is one of love, and it starts with her family, which was first and foremost to Mom.
She gave generously to us of her time and spirit, and although there were a handful of us, I don't think anyone ever felt slighted in the amount of time or attention she devoted to us. It certainly had to be a chaotic existence some 40 years ago, with five children born in six and a half years. But rarely would she let that stress negatively influence our family life. She was forgiving of childish indiscretions such as unwrapping the Christmas presents a week or two early, and then re-wrapping them so no one could tell they'd been breached; or tricking a sister into drinking perfume; or convincing another sister to crawl into a dresser drawer and be shut inside. There was a common sibling involved in all of these incidents, but I won't mention who it was so as to save him embarrassment.
She patiently taught and led us through our formative years, helping us discover the tools and skills we would need as adults. That patience extended throughout her life, as I would still call occasionally to ask her to tell me, one more time, please, Mom, how to make the perfect gravy. Once the grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) started arriving, her status as family matriarch moved into a whole new phase. Ready babysitter, on-call nurse, attendee at ball games and performances, supplier of gum - there were few roles she would not fill when asked.
Others outside the family, of course, were beneficiaries of her capacity for love. Her choice of a career was a clue to the depth of compassion and care she felt for others. She was proud of her status as a registered nurse, and although the days (and nights) could be long, and she was often very tired when she came home, we knew she was doing this because she felt called to help people. Every time I encounter a nurse they have to measure up to the Mom Standard - are they as attentive to me or mine on a personal level, as I know Mom was? Do they take an extra minute to smile, tell a joke, or just listen, as I know Mom would? Few are able to match up to her.
Her "second career" as a member of the Funeral Committee at St. Anthony's was a perfect fit for Mom in retirement, since it, too, provided an opportunity for her to show her love and concern for others. She considered it a privilege and a calling to do this small thing to help ease a family's pain at such a difficult time in their lives. And she got the rest of us involved, at least peripherally, asking us to save the random margarine and Cool Whip containers so the Committee had containers for leftovers. It seemed as though one of us was always showing up to any given family gathering with a bag of "funeral food containers" for Mom. It's a hard habit to break, and the Funeral Committee members may have to get used to us showing up at the hall with our bags.
Of course, the deepest love she felt was for Dad, her high school sweetheart, Fred. One niece called him "Uncle Fred Honey" when she was small because she had never heard Mom call Dad anything other than "Fred Honey." Their 60-year friendship and 52-year marriage provided a blueprint for us for how to forge a partnership, yet still retain some hints of the teasing and humor that were there at the beginning of their courtship. Although she was concerned for herself when she began to be ill, she told each of the girls to be sure and take care of Daddy - make sure he was eating, that he took breaks and rested.
Mom insisted on "no long faces" but that was difficult as we began to contemplate our lives without her. In addition to all of the other changes facing him, Dad wonders who will go to lunch with him on Fridays. When I see their number on Caller ID, I can no longer answer "Hello Mom or Dad" - which was a joke between Mom and me because I can probably count on one hand the number of times Dad has initiated a phone call to me.
This legacy of love Mom leaves us started because two people fell in love - and my dad, the mathematician, has pointed out that the love has multiplied, many times over. Two became seven (it's not real math, but Zielie math), which became 12, which became 22, and is now 26. Mom led the way and we will do our best to follow, even without her daily presence in our lives. She has died, but the love will not, and that was her greatest gift to us.