Age 83, of Providence Point, formerly of Mount Lebanon, peacefully surrounded by her loving family, on Saturday, September 5, 2020. Beloved wife for 42 years of the late George E. Wiethorn; devoted mother of Michael (Linda), Raymond and Patrick (Kelly) Wiethorn; loving grandmother of Mitchel, Brooke, Matthew and Anna Wiethorn; sister of John (Priscilla) Morgan, Dr. Raymond F. Morgan (Sue Ann), Daniel Morgan (Patty), Mary Frances “Miffy” Morgan, Mark Morgan (Barbara), predeceased by her twin brother Dr. Edwin J. Morgan, Jr. (survived by Naomi) and her sister Ann Heilman Morgan (survived by Will); also survived by many nieces and nephews. Elaine was a graduate of Mercy Hospital School of Nursing and for over 48 years passionately cared for residents and their families as a geriatrics nurse at the Baptist Home. She was an active member of St. Winifred Church for many years as a Eucharistic Minister; facilitated the Women’s Prayer Group which has met routinely for over 40 years which continues today. Elaine sought out opportunities to be of service to her Church and community through her participation in the St. Winifred Church choir, the annual Fish Fry and staffing the Food Pantry. When she wasn’t praying, Elaine loved to golf and play cards. She probably prayed to win too! Friends will be welcomed at Laughlin Cremation & Funeral Tributes, 222 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon on Wednesday from 4:00 until 7:00p.m. in compliance with all COVID-19 precautions. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in St. Winifred Church, 550 Sleepy Hollow Road, Mt. Lebanon on Thursday morning at 11:00 and will be Live-Streamed on Laughlin’s website. Interment Queen of Heaven Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society or the Diabetes Association.
As I look across this Church today, I see so many familiar faces. If time permitted, I am sure all of you who knew my Mom could recount numerous stories about how we all enjoyed being in her presence. There are many wonderful things about Elaine’s character we can recall. Her smile was contagious, her greeting always warm and welcoming. Mom really enjoyed being with people.
To have a friend you have to be a friend and Mom was certainly a friend to many.
You did not have to guess where you stood with Mom, she would let you know. She was, should we say, careful or frugal with her resources as my brothers and I heard often, do you need it or do you want it, if you want it, put it back. Yet, Mom would not hesitate to give whatever she had, money, time or talent, if you were in need and she could help.
I want to focus on what I believe was my Mom’s greatest attribute, the most outstanding part of who she was. A few years ago, there was a popular quote which people put on bracelets, or t-shirts and bumper stickers WWJD – What Would Jesus Do. While I never saw Mom wear a WWJD bracelet and I know she would not have bought the t-shirt as it would have been in the want it category and not the need category, Mom’s actions spoke so loudly that Jesus Christ was the foundation on which she stood, was the source of her strength and in whom she received peace.
Two scriptures keep coming to mind as I reflected to write this today, the first was from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 10, verse 43-45. “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be a slave to all.”
I do not believe Mom was motivated by a desire to be first, unless of course you were playing golf, cards or dominoes with her. I know however, Mom led a life of service, in her profession for sure and certainly when it came to family and friends.
For nearly Mom’s entire adult life she worked compassionately as a geriatric nurse at the Baptist Home providing care to hundreds of residents and their families, and doing so with joy. While I thought I knew this was a labor of love, in the last few days of Mom’s life I gained a whole new level of appreciation for what she did as Raymond, Patrick, our wives, my aunt Miffy and I became her care givers. My understanding grew of Mom’s dedication to others as they approach the end of life – this is not easy – and she did it unwaveringly for decades what we struggled to do for days.
Mom’s service to others was not limited to her profession. She would seek out opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Maybe, the best example of her efforts was her facilitating and participating in the Women’s prayer group at St. Winifred’s church, which as recently as a week ago she participated in with her dear friends. I am 56 years old and I cannot remember a time when Mom was not participating in this prayer group.
This group of women were, and I am sure will remain, a great source of strength and encouragement to one another as my Mom was for them and they certainly were for her. Often, in my Mom’s times of need this was the group she turned to, to confide in and to gain wisdom from. Raymond, Patrick and I thank you for being there for my Mom and enhancing our lives.
The second scripture that keeps resonating is also from Mark, chapter 12: verses 29-31, when Jesus was asked of all the commandments which is the most important and Jesus responded - the most important one is this, Hear O’ Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
Mom certainly loved God and her neighbor which could also be her husband, her children and grandchildren, her brothers and sisters and literally her neighbors.
When family was in need, Mom would be there, if at all possible, to lend a hand. She also looked forward to the highlight of her year, being the extended families’ trip to the Outer Banks where she would get to spend precious time with her brothers, sisters and their children. These annual trips brought great joy to her and I know missing the trip this past July because of concerns regarding Covid-19, broke her heart. Mom’s love of her seven siblings was unrivaled.
Those of you who knew my Dad know that he was not the easiest person to love. His challenges were not always of his own making and at other times they certainly were. Yet Mom loved him for over 42 years of their marriage until Dad’s death.
As her son, I heard from Mom nearly every time I saw her, as I am sure my brothers did as well, that we were the best thing that ever happened to her to which I would tease her back that she certainly deserved better, at least as her remark applied to me.
Her Grandchildren, Anna and Matthew, Mitch and Brooke held an incredibility special place in her heart as well. What I believe was the last picture taken of Mom was at Pat’s home, petting their dog Maggie so she had a picture to send to Anna at school.
I am sure given the opportunity, Patrick and Kelly can share numerous occasions where Mom let Matthew and Anna know how much she loved them. As it was most recent for me, let me share one recent experience with Mom and Mitch which I believe epitomized her love of her grandchildren. As Mom’s disease progressed her pain became increasing worse, starting with pain in her jaw initially believed to be a dental problem, little did we know she had thyroid cancer, to her last days where swallowing liquid medications became nearly unbearable. I share this not to disturb you, but to provide context. My son Mitch has nearly completed his education to be qualified as a commercial pilot. In the past few weeks Mitch was faced with taking his final stage. The stress of these circumstances is hard to describe. When Mom last saw Mitch several weeks ago, leading up to the exam, her comment to Mitch was I am offering up my pain so that you may pass the stage check.
Mitch passed the stage check and when he called to let her know brought enormous joy to her as she herself struggled to talk or swallow.
My Mom also literally loved her neighbor. During the last days of Mom’s life, she received cards daily from numerous friends offering her support and encouragement. We would open these and read each card to her. One card in particular epitomized who Mom really was when no one was looking. The card was from another resident, a woman I had never met until Mom’s last night with us. The card recounted how in the brief time Mom was at Providence Point, she had spoken to this lady about the challenging circumstances her life had presented and how through Mom’s friendship, as brief as it may have been, she had renewed her faith in Jesus and had returned to the Church. This woman, who I would not want to embarrass by mentioning by name knocked on Mom’s apartment door asking to say goodbye because of the impact Mom had made on her and helping her to restore her faith in God.
As I bring these remarks to a close, I would be terribly remiss to not express mine, Raymond’s and Patrick’s gratitude to two very special women in my Mom’s life, my aunt, Mom’s sister Miffy and Mom’s dear friend Jean Morelli.
Jean has been my Mom’s friend for as long as I can recall. Jean was my Mom’s boss, if my Mom could ever have a boss, and twice she moved to homes in the same neighborhood as my Mom. Jean was invaluable to us during my lifetime and especially during Mom’s last days. Thank you.
Miffy has been an absolute angel for Mom, my brothers and me as she provided care, wisdom, compassion and guidance through Mom’s struggle with cancer. Miffy, we could not have provided care for my Mom without you. Thank you.
Finally, my Mom’s faith has guaranteed her entry into heaven and I have no doubt as Mom is before God, she has heard well done good and faithful servant.
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American Cancer Society
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