Saturday, August 10, 2013

She Sowed Bountifully: June Marie Weaver 1930-2013

June Marie Weaver 1930-2013
Along with hundreds of other mourners, Alma Jean and I attended the memorial service of June Marie Weaver, 83, last Tuesday at the Harrisonburg Mennonite Church, where she had been a faithful member for 60 years.

Since neither of us knew this quiet, unassuming woman well (husband Ken was the more outgoing one), we were especially impressed by all we learned from those who paid their last tributes at the service.

For example, we hadn't known about the many people she corresponded with and prayed for on a regular basis. She not only remembered the anniversaries and birthdays of her many friends and family members, but for decades faithfully wrote or emailed members of her 400-member congregation who were away at college or in some service assignment. One of my colleagues at work told me she kept in touch with her brother from the time he left their congregation decades ago right up to the time of her illness, even though he had been abroad and not maintained any ties to HMC or to any church.

 A registered nurse and an avid reader, June kept a log of all the books she read in her retirement from 1998 to 2013, a total of nearly 600. Her goals for her senior years were: 1) To be remain optimistic, 2) to never complain, 3) to become a better person, and 4) to grow old gracefully.

She was remarkably successful in realizing those goals.

When June was diagnosed with acute leukemia, only weeks before she died, she emailed the following to the many people with whom she corresponded:

Dear Friends

Thinking of you today in your little corner of the world, and hoping that all is well.

I have enjoyed corresponding with you over the past year/s.

Just writing to let you know I was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia 
several weeks ago. It is an aggressive form. No standard intensive chemotherapy is recommended for my age. There are some lighter treatments which seem to add a few months to the average life of persons with this cancer, but come with serious side effects.

I have chosen to be treated with 'comfort care' measures to maintain 
as good a quality of life as long as possible.  I am not in pain or 
other discomfort, only very tired and weak. I am at home in our apartment, close to family and friends.

So the abrupt ending of my e-mails will not be because 
of my lack of love and interest.

Wish you the continued presence of the love of God in your work and lives.

  Love and prayers,

  June Marie

As one of her pastors noted, June Marie was someone who sowed bountifully and reaped bountifully. The following are just two of the many the notes she received after she sent her last email:

"I recall how much it meant to receive a letter from you across the seas and miles. You more than anyone have been the most faithful these 26 years in missions".

"We truly have been blessed beyond words the many times you have taken to write. You remembered our birthdays, anniversaries, and significant difficult times with your prayers and words of encouragement. Thanks for your inspiring, loving, and caring words over many years."

The words of Proverbs 31:28-31 come to mind:

Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise...
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