The Eulogy of
Barbara J. “Bobbi” Procter
June 17, 1943 – February 28. 2018
By Ross Procter
Thank you for coming. It’s good to see you all. My name is Ross Reeder Procter, son of William Ross and Barbara Jean Procter, or in my mother’s words, “my son, my son”.
After Mom was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer we had a conversation about her funeral and the services. Mom said we didn’t need to have a service, because people are busy and maybe we should have a summer barbeque or something. She went on to say their won’t be that many people there, definitely not as many people that came for your dad. I told her Mom, those people didn’t come for Pa, they came for you. Well with Ma and Pa both gone this service is for us to honor her memory and to share stories of our experiences with her. So again thank you for joining us.
Mom had a poem she wanted to share with us. It’s in the handout and it’s titled “Cry No Tears”. Well, that ain’t gonna happen; sorry Ma. But, she asks us to not cry for her because she is at peace and she has lived a joyous life. I will share a part of her joyous life I know, and when I’m done I invite any of you to share a story, or a thought, or a prayer about Mom.
And Mom also had some written instructions for this service for the family. And I quote, “Men of family. I will expect to stand tall and strong and say something. Patti and women of family; sit tall and smile.”
Her name was Barbara J, as in Jean, Procter. June 17, 1943. As a young child she was known as Barb, later she was known as Bobbi. Patti and I knew her as Mama, Mom, Ma, Mother, and Mudder. Others of you knew her as Gramma Bobbi, or just Gramma. She had many titles and played a loving and rewarding role in each of our lives.
She was born in Calistoga California to Don Patten, Grandpa Don, and Norma Jean Frazer, Nana. She grew up in Vallejo California. And she had a childhood like many children of her time; she was a Brownie and a girl scout. She rode around on her bicycle and played outdoors with her big brother Dan and her friends. Grandpa Don worked 2 and 3 jobs at a time so Nana could be at home to raise their children. They were a happy, loving family.
Nana went to work when Mom was out of elementary school and Grandpa Don and Nana grew apart. They got divorced when Mom was 14. Mom went to live with Grandpa Don in an apartment, and Dan stayed with Nana in their home. Shortly after, Grandpa Don got a job in Livermore California and Mom went to live with Grandpa Don’s mother, Grandma Coolidge, in Calistoga. That’s when Barb became Bobbi.
Mom was a very fun outgoing girl in High School; and she was a looker. She was the team mascot, a Calistoga Cat. She had many friends in her class that she kept in touch with her entire life. And she met my father, Ross. They dated in high school and after graduation Pa went into the United States Navy, and Mom went to beauty school. After a short time in the Navy, Pa came back to Calistoga and asked her to marry him. They were married on February 10, 1962, and moved to his duty station in San Diego. Ten short months later Mom had a perfect, handsome son named Ross. (I may have sensationalized a little bit there). And 14 months later Mom did even better and had a beautiful, caring daughter named Patti. Their family was complete.
Patti and I had a fun, loved and wonderful childhood. It was just the four of us growing up at Navy duty stations from Sea to Shining Sea. We had no Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles or Cousins with us. But we had a marvelous life. Pa was an outdoorsman and an adventurer and we dived for rock lobster from our boat in the back yard in Key West Florida, fished for bass in Ponds in Charleston South Carolina, and snorkeled over remote beaches in Hawaii (back when they still had them) and collected coral and observed all the beautiful colorful fish. We camped and boated, hunted and fished, went to the movies and stock car races, and experienced and enjoyed life to the fullest.
Ma and Pa were very giving and sharing. From my youth we always had guests at the house. Family, young sailors, friends, and at times people who needed a place to stay while they got back on their feet.
But Pa was only their half of the time. The other half of the year he was on a Submarine off the coast of Cuba, sailing the Atlantic to Rhoda Spain, and in the Pacific out of Pearl Harbor and Guam sailing with Russian submarines in situations Pa did not talk about. He was a Proud Submariner.
Mom was with us all the time and Mom kept our childhoods very active. We attended Catholic grade schools and attended church every Sunday. I was an altar boy. We were baptized and had our first communion. Mom brought Jesus into our lives the day we were born.
I played little league baseball and football. Patti was a cheerleader, basketball player, and a Hula Dancer. And Mom was a very active Team Mom. Mom gave us plenty of Love with just a little discipline to keep us on the right path. We were never bored.
When Pa retired from the Navy we moved to Federal Way. I was a senior in High School and Patti was a sophomore. My life because of mom and Pa continued to be a joy. In one year I made lifetime friends, two of which are present today. But I have a group of 8 very close friends I communicate with and see regularly. All of them have met and remember my Mom. When I told them of her Cancer they were all saddened and one sent this special message. “Your family joined ours that fateful day you walked on campus at TJ and started playing football as a Raider. Mom and Pops and your sister were all part of this great package deal that you brought into our lives expanding it, making it all the more fun and enjoyable”. As many of you have heard me say before, “I come from great breeding stock.”
Patti and I went off to college, pursued careers, got married, and started building our own families. Mom and Pop stayed in Federal Way where Pops worked in the shipyard at Elliott Bay, and Mom worked at Sears where she made lifetime friends; Gerry and Kathy. They continued to have a strong presence in our lives, and loved their grandchildren.
In 1992 they moved to their final stop in Port Orchard. They had the home of their dreams. They built it on 7 ½ acres from the ground up with the lead of George; Patti’s husband and my brother,… in law. They built two ponds, a pasture, and outbuildings filled with boats, an ATV, every tool you can imagine and a motor home. And there were also animals; Chickens, Turkeys, Ducks, Peacocks, Hogs, Cows and Horses. They had plentiful food gardens and beautiful flower gardens. Their home was also filled with Grandchildren: Jerrid, Kyle, Brittney, Sarah, Hannah, and Vann; Donna’s and mine, Patti’s and George’s children.
But there were many more Grandchildren:
Jansen and Briana
Andrew, Tahaji, Brady, Dillon, Trent, Shannon, and Turk
Joe and the Chester brothers
and Will and Joseph.
And Ma and Pa’s house was the sight for all Holiday dinners, and boy did Mom enjoy her holidays. New Years day, Valentine’s day, St. Patrick’s day, Easter, the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas were all events that required a celebration with special decorations for the house and yard, a special wardrobe, and of course, a change in her fingernail colors. She especially enjoyed the fireworks celebration and the Christmas decorations at Jules house.
And Mom recognized everybody’s birthday. I don’t believe a person in this room has not had their birthday recognized by Mom.
Pa went to the Lord in 2008. He and Mom had been married for 46 years, but had known each other since they were 5 years old. She missed him every day. She had bouts of depression, but she would bounce right back and be “On the Road Again”.
Mom travelled to visit family and friends in Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Alaska. And she went to Tennessee to see the home of Elvis and the Grand Ole Opry.
And Mom kept in contact with all her lifelong friends; Her high school buddies in Calistoga, Gert Stanley her friend from Charleston who lives in New Hampshire, Inez Rowe her friend from Hawaii who lives in Texas, Gloria and Cindy Lively her friends from Hawaii who live in Port Orchard, and John Mannetti, her little brother and a shipmate of Pa.
Mom and her best buddy Gale met at the Curves fitness center and quickly became friends. They bowled together with Jules, Lenell, Peggy, Celia, Cathy, Linda, Robi, Lisa, Joyce, Krystal and Crystal, and many other great friends. Mom loved bowling and the camaraderie with all her pals. Mom and Gale went to plays in Seattle with Cathleen and Jennifer. Mom loved the plays so much she postponed her treatments until she saw her last play. And they travelled to Reno and Vegas together.
Gale was with Mom at many of her doctor appointments, waiting for her after every procedure and surgery, and with her every day in the final days until her passing. Mom was happy to have her best buddy with her. I love Gale not only for what she did for my Mom, but for the knowledge and love she has given me. I am proud to have her as a part of our family.
Through her bowling and fireworks buddy, Jules, Mom met Lenell, who was special to not only Mom, but me, in her final days. Lenell is a home health care professional and spent many days with Mom helping her with her medication, diet, and numerous projects. I came to spend the weekend with Mom on what turned out to be her last days at home so Lenell could take a break and be with her family. Mom had challenges, and later we learned she had a stroke that weekend before I had her taken to the hospital. I called Lenell many times that weekend for advice on how to care for mom. Lenell is a caring, patient, compassionate person and loved Mom as much as Mom loved Lenell. Lenell and I developed a special relationship in Mom’s final days and I love her like a sister. I’m happy to have her as a part of our family.
And there is my wife Donna who had a sometimes challenging, but at the heart, a loving relationship with Mom. Donna took Mom’s favorite son and gave me the same love and caring Mom did. Mom would sometimes have resentments against Donna, but she also would confide in her and share her feelings, and ask for help. Mom and Donna loved each other very much. And I am truly blessed that God put Donna, our 3 loving children; Jerrid, Brittney, and Hannah; and our 6 beautiful grandchildren Hailey, Emmalee, Aliyah, Ashley, Braden, and Lillee in my life.
My Sister Patti carried the load of taking care of Mom while I was in Kelso, Arkansas, and Idaho. She helped mom with her medication and doctor visits, helped her with her bills and finances, and even mowed her lawn. Patti did for Mom, what Mom did for us when we were kids. I was like Pa, only there half the time. Patti was there always. She loved Mom, and cared for her, and helped her in any way she could to enjoy life. I love my sister Patti with all my heart.
After Mom’s diagnosis with Cancer people would often ask me, “How’s your Mom doing?” I would answer “she’s handling it bravely”. That was how she handled every day since Pa’s passing.
Near the end, when the pain and suffering of cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure were at their peak, Mom said some tough things, words that hurt people’s feelings, including mine. But after she said some things I thought about them and I reflected on the Lord’s prayer. Specifically where we ask the lord to forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Some of the words mother used were trespasses, but I know she loved us all. And I also recognized these were just words. And I realized how can I ask God to forgive me of my trespasses, if I’m not willing to forgive the trespasses of others. To me those words were water under the bridge. Mom loved us all very much despite some things she said.
As you know Mom’s sign in the horoscope is Gemini. Gemini are Greek twins. Their definition: “They are expressive and quick-witted, and represent two different personalities in one and you will never be sure which one you’re gonna get. They are sociable, communicative and ready for fun, with a tendency to suddenly get serious, thoughtful and restless”. Yes mom was a Gemini and she was proud of it.
She was never at a loss for a word, from either of the twins. She was loving, caring, and giving. And she was brave, determined, and fiercely defensive of her family and friends. And as a Gemini Mom she had some unique expressions: discumbuberated, double check – cross check, neither here nor there, and One day at a time.
In her last days the loving Gemini came from Mom. Many of you came to visit and her first words always were “How are you”, and “Thank you so much for coming”
Mom will be laid to rest recognizing her Gemini personality. Half of her ashes will be placed next to Pa here at Haven of Rest, and the other half next to her Grandpa Jack Frazer at Pioneer cemetery in Calistoga. The ashes of her beloved dogs, Lightning and Zita will be with her.
On the last day she talked, she said words fitting of a Gemini. Patti and George were leaving the hospital and Patti said to her, “Good Night Mom, I will see you in the Morning”. Mom’s reply, “The good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise”. That was Mom. Those words will be forever remembered on her headstone.
Later that night mom woke abruptly and sat up trying to get to the side of the bed. I helped her hang her legs over the side of the bed and sat in a chair and held her hand. Her vision was poor, and she didn’t speak. I said a few words to her but we mostly sat there for half an hour looking at each other. I finally said to her “OK mom are you ready to go to bed?, her reply “no, I’m fine”. So I began telling her “remember when” stories from my childhood. Most of them made her smile. One question got a response. After an hour longer mom lay down and went to sleep. She never spoke again.
God was present for me, Mom, and all of us through her final days. On her second day in the hospital I saw her Nurse, who I had previously met from another special place of God. Of all the hospitals, all the nurses on the staff, and all the patients in the hospital, this one special nurse, I had briefly met, was assigned to take care of my mom. Was this a coincidence? I think not. She was chosen by the Lord for me, mom and our family.
She displayed sincere compassion and caring for mom and all the people who loved her and came to see her. And she was not unique. All of the nurses, doctors, physician’s assistants, Palliative care nurses, and chaplains showed care and concern for mom and all of us while she stayed at St. Anthony’s hospital.
But what is even more special about this nurse is when I met her after mom’s passing she asked if she could be at this service. She is with us here today. I thank God for that, and I thank her for joining our family.
Mom had another special, spiritual experience when Father Dennis, the hospital’s father came to visit. Father Dennis was her former father from St. Gabriel’s church in Port Orchard. Mom recognized him and remembered him, and he remember her. Father Dennis blessed her and we, including mom, said the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary. And she took her last communion. While there were tears during this experience I also felt great joy and fulfillment that mom could show her never-ending faith in the Lord.
I want to close with this lesson I learned from God. As I observed, God was ever-present after Mom’s diagnosis with Cancer. I have had experiences that cannot be attributed to coincidence, but I believe are the result of his knowledge, his love, and his intervention. While I was in Gig Harbor when she was getting her initial treatment, I was drawn to go to church. I chose to go to Chapel Hill Presbyterian, the church of my friend and brother Tim Payne and his family. I had attended Chapel Hill with Tim and his family on previous occasions, but this Sunday, he was out of town. For the first time in my life, I was drawn to go to church by myself. Pastor Mark did a sermon from the Book of James, written by Paul the Apostle. I’d like to read the part he shared from the book of James Chapter 5 versus 1-5.
Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand,
and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations,
knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
and perseverance, character;
and character, hope.
Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
What I believe this says is we will have tribulations, hard times in life, and if we persevere through these hard times with love for the people around us, and with bravery, it will build our character. And this character will give us Hope in the Glory of God. And our belief in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to overcome these tribulations knowing that our faith in him will give us everlasting life in heaven. Tribulation, Perseverance, Character, Hope that will not disappoint.
Was this a coincidence? I think not; because I was going through the greatest tribulation in my life. God knew and directed me to his house to hear these words and give me strength to handle these tribulations. Now Pastor Mark said we should rejoice tribulations, in fact he was very emphatic we should rejoice tribulations, and Paul says in this testimony we should rejoice tribulations. Well I could not rejoice over my mom’s condition, but I could recognize that if I persevered with patience, and consideration for my family, and all the people who knew and loved my mom, this would strengthen my character and bring me closer to an everlasting life in heaven.
So the message I give to you is to recognize your tribulations. Have the serenity to accept what you cannot change, because I could not change mom’s cancer, and persevere with patience and consideration for your loved ones, knowing this will bring you closer to an everlasting life in heaven.
Thank you all for being here to share this day with me. I love you all, and God Bless you all.