This is the oldest photo, of which I know, of my Mother... from around 1946, possibly a year or two earlier. She was attending Duke Divinity School, where she met my Dad. In the lower right, you might (if you click to embiggen) be able to make out the words, "Loves Ya, Mary" that she signed on the picture for my Dad. Mom was the first woman to graduate from Duke Divinity, and in fact had to push the dean of the school to create a "Women's Program", because back then there just weren't any women ministers.
There is a matching photo of my Dad, and the two were framed and hanging on the wall of their bedroom when I was a kid.
The photo to the right was taken about ten years later, still before I was born, when my family lived in Alaska. There still weren't any women preachers in the Methodist Church, so Mom was a Preacher's Wife, and mother of four young kids. Well, in Alaska she was an Administrator's Wife, because the family moved up there for Dad to be Administrator of the Jesse Lee Children's Home, which was then in Seward.
In this last photo we have Mom, taken this past Christmas when Jen's parents stopped by for a visit with my folks. Mom was already in the Special Care Hospice of Arbor Acres, suffering from congestive heart failure.
Mom lived a life pledged to service: to the family as mom, to the church as minister's wife and lay leader, to the community as teacher and volunteer. She was a wonderful woman (not that I'm biased) and lived a long, full, happy life, and she told me several years ago that she was looking forward to what came next... and now she knows.
My Mother, Mary Luke Rutledge, passed away this evening.
10 February 1921 - 3 September 2010
Years and years ago, I asked Mom what her favorite tune was. She didn't hesitate a bit before telling me it was Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius -- also known as "This is My Song" or "Be Still, My Soul". I hoped to post either audio or video of the hymn being sung in memory of my dear mother. But since this is the internet (and because I couldn't find such), I have a video of a group Chinese university students in Hong Kong singing the original words, which can be seen over at Wikipedia -- in, apparently, Finnish (I don't speak either Mandarin or Finnish, but based on the comments at YouTube... well, you get the point).
Here are the words, as written in the Methodist Hymnal, that I know for the tune, and that Mom knew and loved:
Loves Ya Mom,
This is my song, oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
This is my song, oh God of all the nations;
A song of peace for their land and for mine.
This is my prayer, oh Lord of all earth's kingdoms
Thy kingdom come on earth thy will be done.
Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him.
And hearts united learn to live as one.
Oh hear my prayer, oh God of all the nations.
Myself I give thee; let thy will be done.
Your Baby Boy