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Mary's Memorial Service -


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               She knew how to stretch things and make ends meet and some of that was done by washing the plastic spoons and forks and even the plastic throw-away plates. Should be able to use those things more than once before you have to throw them away according to Mary. One daughter said, speaking of the emphasis on recycling and keep,ing America "green" .. "Mother was 'green' before green was cool."

Mary did make delicious homemade rolls and her chocolate sheet cake was everyone on the grandson's football team's favorite. Once she invited the whole football team over for breakfast .. all 27 hungry boys. She cooked a delicious' breakfast and was comfy in her house coat .. to which some of the boys said later that they must have gotten to her house earlier than she expected because she still had her house gown on. But actually that's how Mary felt most comfortable in her own home. She was just a good 'ole, down-home, country-cookin' lady whose home was your home too whenever you needed one.


She spoiled all of her kids, all the time and she spoiled the grandkids even more. She even cut up a certain child's hamburger patties and now he's wondering who in his family can

use a sharp knife and is going to cut lip his meat now? I don't know that anyone that has

volunteered for that assignment yet.

There was no one to better learn how to cook from than grandma. "Why don't you cook at home?" a granddaughter was asked? "Because Grandma has all the right enquipment at her house to cook with," was the answer. There was probably more to it than that .. but that was reason enough for her to love to go to grandma's house and see what's cookin', or what they could cook up together.

All of the grandkids loved eating at grandma's house because she would ask them all what they wanted to eat for breakfast, each one, individually, and she would make it for them. One of their favorites was "Monkey Bread" .. pancakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse. Mary couldn't wait for her own kids to grow up and get out on their own and start giving her grandbabies. That's where the real fun began. She loved to go over to the schools and greet her grandchildren after school and walk them over to her house and teach them so many things. Every child needs parents, but they certainly need grandparents too. And Mary was the best grandmother any grandchild could ever hope to have. Someone said, "Grandma's are Moms with lots of frosting." "There's no place like home, except grandma's."


Grandma and grand children all have special names for each other, many they said that I wouldn't understand but they called them "names of endearment." So when one granddaughter called her grandmother "Geezer," it really was a name of great affection and of course she got called something right back by grandma. The truth is that Mom and Grandma could out-talk and out-yell any of them. When I said something about Mary having the last word, they quickly corrected me and said, "Mary had the first word AND the last word."

She actually had the best name for herself. Since she hated her given middle name she would tell people that you could call her by her middle name, Mary or you could call her by her first and middle names, "Virgin Mary."


Mary's favorite food was seafood. She was a huge lobster fan and she loved eating at Red Lobster and there was no better package for UPS to deliver than when her daughter that lives in the state of Maine, would have some fresh lobster sent to her

mother's house in Kansas. That was awesome when the UPS truck pulled up and she was waiting at the door.

Now Bart is not a seafood fan. He has had a lot of lobster on his dining room table and has been to numerous seafood restaurants and while Mary orders her seafood, Bart orders chicken planks.

Now that's real love. As the song we just played, "Keeper of the Stars," says, "It was no accident, me finding you. Someone had a hand in it long before we every knew .. I tip my hat to the keeper of the stars. He sure knew what He was doin' when He joined these two hearts .. I've got all I'll ever need, Thanks to the Keeper of the stars. Bart may not have liked Mary's seafood, but he sure did love her.


I heard three different stories from three different people on how Bart and Mary met and got together. The one I liked best was the one Bart told about going to Mary's house to fix a window pain that one of her boys had thrown something through and that's how he met her and her children. He kind of felt sorry for her because it was around Christmas time and Mary and the kids really did have one of those "Charlie Brown Christmas trees" with not Clwhole lot of decorations on it.


On their first date, Bart when out with Mary and on their second date, Mary had something else come up to do and so Bart took all 5 of the kids out. But it seemed to work for all of them and they were married July 16, 1977, in the University United Methodist . Church. They managed one night of honeymoon in Topeka on that Saturday night before coming right back home on Sunday morning and checking on all of their children. "You marry me, you marry my kids," Bart learned real fast and he actually helped Mary fulfill her dream of helping foster children.

Mary had needed to use foster parenting herself, when she first had her young family and she wanted to repay those acts of kindness with some of her own when she got a chance to do that. Bart was just the guy to help her start opening their home to foster children .. 57 of them that came into their home and then after her own children grew up and left home, she started "Focus on the Future" with 20 some teenage kids and had a facility on east Pacific through which at least 250 kids went through. For some of them the judge had said to them, "Go to jail or go to Mary's." She helped them through her program to get jobs, save money and help them learn how to become productive people in society. She was the co-founder and executive director for 10 years and then when she left, she established and was the president of a foundation that provided scholarships for needy kids and their mothers to help so many children in Saline County that need food and care. And her work will continue to go on as you choose to give a memorial to the "Focus on the Future Foundation."


What an amazing and life-changing work Mary has done in our community with foster children and foster parenting. That takes alot of personal sacrifice and alot of total commitment to do what she has done. It reminds me of a story about a chicken and pig that were walking down the street together one day and they passed by a begger man propped up against a building sitting on the sidewalk. A few steps past the man, the chicken stopped the pig and said, "Let's do a good deed for the day. Let's give that man some breakfast." The pig was horrified as he looked at the chicken and said, "That's easy for you to say. For you it's 'cluck, cluck' and out come a couple of eggs of a token contribution. But if we are going to give that guy some bacon and eggs or ham and eggs, it's going to mean 'total commitment' for me." .

It would do us well to ask ourselves if we are "token contribution" people or if our lives are being lived the way Mary lived her life, with "total commitment."

Mary gave children, parents, Salina, much more than "token contributions." She gave an all out "total commitment" of her life to help meet the needs of so many needed young people and their families. And many of you sitting right here in this audience today were receipients of her kind and gracious and loving and BIG heart! You don't know where you might be today if it hadn't been for this beautiful lady whom we honor today. God sent her to you to give you another and another chance to get life right and give you a chance to get your life straightened out and on the right road. And you own your life to God and to sending Mary your way. Only Heaven knows how many people she saved.


When we stand before God in Heaven, the Bible says that God will quiz us on how well we did in taking care of needy people when we lived on the face of this earth. He will say we either did or we didn't do what we should have done. His words will be: "I was hungry and you fed me." We will check that one off for Mary. She fed plenty of hungry people.



Memorial Service 11 a.m.

Webster Conference Center April 30, 2009




CD: "Keeper of the Stars"



When you called Mary's house you might hear her answer, "Granny Tanny's Bed and Breakfast!" And that's exactly what her home was for her whole adult life. The door was always open at Mary and Bart's house and they loved nothing better than to have a house full of family, a home full of company .. although no one was every actually "company" at their house. You were all a part of her extended family. She never turned anyone away and she always had plenty of food on the table.

You see, Mary loved to cook. Bart told me that her life could be summed up with two words, gambling and cooking. Mary didn't know how to cook for two people, after her kids all grew up and moved out of the house. So there was always extra food for anyone who happen to show up at meal times or even inbetween.

Mary loved to cook old receipies she had gotten from her mother and aunts. Her family like just about everything Mary cooked, except yams. She forgot and left the yams in the oven one time and when they were finally discovered, they weren't too good, so yams was off the list.

Oh, by the way, there will be a meal served here after the memorial service, and yams is the main dish! Just kidding about the yams, but you all are definitely invited to join the family in a meal after the service.

One grandson said that on Sundays, the meal was called "Sunday Surprise" because Grandma took everything that she had cooked during the week and was left over and mixed it together and put it on the table and wanted you to clean it up so she could start all over on Monday.

"I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink." Check that one off for her.

"I was a stranger, I was homeless and you took me into your home and gave me room and board:' Big huge check mark for her there. "I was naked, I was shivering and you gave me clothes to wear." Check!


And for those who have done those things, Jesus will make a remarkable statement about Himself in all of this. He has already said this to Mary, "Whenever you did these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was Me .. you did it to Me!" I was the hungry and thirsty one at your front door. I was the homeless and shivering one needed room and clothes. I was the sick and incarcerated one that needed a friend who believed in me and got me well inside and out. I was that person," Jesus will say. "And if you refused to help them, you were refusing to help me. But when you helped them, you were helping me."


That reminds me of a story of an old shoe cobbler who got a letter in the mail from Jesus saying He was coming to the cobblers house the next day. So he straightened up this house

and all day Ion!) the next day, he anxiously waited for Jesus to come to his house, but by the end of the day the only people who knocked on the door of his home were a poor boy who needed a new pair of shoes that the cobbler gave to him and a poor lady who was shivering in the winter's cold and needed a big over coat the cobbler gave one to her and a hungry man who hadn't eaten for days and the cobbler gave him some soup and bread.

He was so disappointed Jesus didn't come. The next day he got another letter in the mail from Jesus thanking him for inviting Him into the cobblers home three different times the day before.


You see there was a time in Mary's early family life when she was working three jobs at the same time and trying to juggle her jobs


When Mary was the "in-office manager" of the glass companies that she and Bart owned and operated, she would at least go in on Mondays because she had to do the payroll. Mary had graduated from Brown Mackie Business College and received an accounting degree and Bart said she just had an excellent business mind .. "good business sense" he called it, and she made the money work and grow. She took Bart's checks and took care of feeding and clothing the kids.


Let's pause here and honor Bart and Mary's marriage and home and family with this song that actually Mary chose for this service today .. she chose all of the songs we are playing during the service for us to hear .. and this one honors Bart and Mary's love for each other,

"My Woman, My Woman, My Wife."


CD SONG: "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife"


I want to read from the Bible, in the Book of the Proverbs, the last chapter 31, where Solomon, King David's son, writes a very fitting description of a woman much like Mary:

PROVERBS 31 "A good woman is hard to find and is worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve and she richly

"She shops around for the needs of her family and enjoys taking care of them. She gets up early to prepare breakfast for her household and organizes her day. She rolls up her sleeves and is energetic, a hard worker and watches for bargains. She senses the worth of her work and is in no hurry to call it quits at the end of the day."


As I was talking to Bart and his family I would keep writing down phrases like this because Mary's family kept saying these things about her over and over again .. "She lived each day to the fullest." "She was full of fire." "She had tanasity and strength." "She made sure people were taken care of to the very last." "She was on the go all the time." "She lived for the good of other." "She was so proud of all of her children and grandchildre"n and foster children .. her big family." And over and over this family kept saying things like that about Mary. They did say she was stubborn .. but, no doubt, she had to be to take care of all the things and all the people she took care of.


Solomon continues to write about a woman like Mary:

"She loves her home and is quick to assist anyone in need, reaching out to help the less fortunate. She makes sure her children have warm winter clothes to wear."

"She is a woman of strength and dignity and has no fear of old age. When she speaks, she has something worthwhile to say and she always says

"She keeps an eye on everyone in her household and keeps them all busy and productive. She is not a lazy lady. Her children respect her. They bless her for all she has done for them and their children. Her husband is respected in the community and he joins in with these words of praise, 'There are many fine women in the world, but you, [Mary] are the best of them all for me.'''

"So give her the praise she deserves. Praise her for the many fine things she does. These good deeds of hers shall bring her honor and recognition."


"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly shouting, 'Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Jesus.'"




Thank You, God, for giving us Mary. You picked up a very special lump of clay, as it were, back in 1944, in Concordia, Kansas, ·and You molded and shaped Mary in Your image and after Your likeness. Then then You blew the wonderful breath of life into her that has kept her going with her very busy pace of life right on through last Monday. It was hard to see that last breath go out of her body, that air that kept her life with us, breathing her life into ours and helping us breathe better ourselves. She really did invest her life in us in so many wonderful

and caring ways and today in our sadness and sorrow, we feel soooo blessed to have had her in our lives, had her with us for as long as we were privileged to have her.

I pray for her family. I pray for Bart. What a strong love you gave to each of them for each other. Thank You for the providential way you brought them together, to fix a broken window, and together they have been able to fix broken hearts and lives in children in our community. I pray that You will surround Bart with Your love and care and may his days and nights be full of

those precious memories of the love of his life. She will always

I pray for all of Mary's family and for her many, many friends. We have all been totally touched in our lives by Mary in ways we will never, ever forget. She will truly be an unforgettable person in

giving her to us. And now I ask you to join me in prayer:


CATHOLIC PRAYER: played at the black jack table. What fun she had and she even took some of the kids and grandkids with her on their 21st birthday.

Well today we can all say it together as we bid our wife, mother, grandmother, family member and good friend goodbye from this world. "Mary, we all love you the mostest." "And we all are winners because you have been in our lives. We will never, ever be the same. We will never, ever forget you. Godspeed! Until we meet again."


CD SONG: "Holes in the Floor of Heaven"


ANNOUNCEMENT: Don't forget the lunch served here in the dining room. The family will go out first and then you can chat with them before lunch if you have to go:


BENEDICTION: And now the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and may you always know and feel His wonderful peace in Your hearts and lives every day.





CD SONG: "Ava Maria"



Mary Giroux was one of three children born to her parents, Alphonse and Ella [Comeau] Giroux. Her birthday is December 9th and she was born in 1944, in Concordia, Kansas. Her father worked for a brick and concrete company there. Mary's two brothers, Frank and Ivan, whom she loved very much, have both preceeded her in death.

Mary's daughters can still do the "C-o-n .. c-o-r .. d-i-a" cheer that their mother taught them from her High School cheerleading days. She graduated from Concordia High School in 1962. She made good grades in school and she was always encouraging her grandchildren to make good grades too. She would give them $5 for an "A" and $2 for a "B" and nothing for an "F". She would pay them by writing out a check and then she would cash it herself and write "void" on the check and give them the cash, but that way she always knew exactly which grandchild she had paid and they couldn't try to get paid twice. I don't know that she learned that system at Brown Mackie College, but she always did stay waaay ahead of her grandchildren. When I asked if Mary collected anything, Bart said immediately, "Money and poker chips! Mary enjoyed money and she loved to gamble." Las Vegas, here we come. I don't know if "What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas" for her, but she certainly must have loved that city as many times as she went. Her family said she went so often that the Palace Station casino was actually paying her to come out with a free room and her very own pillow to sit on and fan to help her keep her cool as she

Mary was an avid poker card player and made lots of card playing friends. It even got in to her family's blood because they have their own "Texas Hold 'Em" card tournaments at Mary's house for ages 8 to 24 .. and often times it's the young kids that take the big kid's money.

Mary worked several jobs in her life. She was a waitness at the Country Club and Big John's and if you will remember the Sambo's restaurant on South Broadway with those great dollar pancakes, she managed there for a while. She drove up to Minneapolis, Kansas, and worked as a teller in the Minneapolis bank. She worked at Morrison Glass, the Glass Shop and Mr. Windshield. She was the co-founder and executive director of "Focus on the Future" youth facility and she did some network marketing. No grass grew under her feet. She was one very busy lady. On top of all of that, she a member and past-president of the North Salina Business Association and she was instrumental in helping to clean up the north Salina area. She was also a member and past president of the Saline County Foster Parent Association and a member of the Kansas Children's Alliance. Let me stop and catch my breath here.

And on top of all of that, she always had time for her family. She was making a "time capsule" for each grandchild. When they would send her a card or bring some homework papers to show her, or a grade card they were proud of .. something sentimental, she would put that in their box in the basement and that box held very special memories for her of her growing grandchildren. And how special to be playing a football game in the cold months of Fall and see grandma sitting in the bleachers all bundled up watching and yelling for her grandchildern and all of the boys on the team. She would even go to their away games, traveling up to

four hours to see them play. And when they were racing in their race cars, when the race was finished they would have several messages from grandma wondering how they did. And when she went to see her new grandbaby in the state of Maine, she left Mom and Dad a refridgerator full of food for them to just pop in the oven or microwave to have some easy meals to prepare for the next weeks. Mary loved the holidays, but it wasn't as important that they got together on that day, on Christmas, as it was that they got to spend time with their families first and then all come home. She was very sensitive to her children having family holidays with their own families now, but there was nothing better and that made her happier than having them all around the dining room table all together. Keeping in touch with her family was extremely important for Mary. She loved the family reunion where she would see her Aunts and Uncles and Brothers and their families. And maybe even take a picture of the "Comeau" .. that was her mother's maiden name .. the "Comeau family curse," meaning the women in the family who have big hips. So if someone said, "You're just like your Aunt Mary," it may not have been considered a compliment .. at first .. but as the years went by, and Mary threw her hips as well as her heart into her work, it became a real compliment to have

someone say to her children, "You're just like your mother," .. or to anyone who knew her, "You're just like Mary!" . And one more thing, Mary did things in her way and in her time.

The family called it "Mary's time." She knew what she wanted and she knew how and when she wanted it done. Her family told me about a "red book" that Mary had written out about how she even wanted this memorial service to be done .. the songs to be played and the visitation last night and her viewing before the service this morning. She had attended the funeral for Bart's father. Bart is from Canada and she and many member of her family all crowded into a van and drove all the way into Canada .. I don't know how many hours and when she got there, she found out that Bart's father had been cremated and all Mary got to see were his urn and a picture of Bart's Dad. And she thought, "I could have stayed home and looked at her picture and saved the trip up here. I drove all the way up here so I could see him in a casket fora final time." So she made sure that she was present for you to see her last night and this morning, instead of just an urn and a picture of her to help you with your own closure. That was her wish and then she will be cremated and her ashes will be inurned at the the AIISaints Cemetery later in a private family service. That's why we are doing what and how we are doing this service, Mary's way. And her family said that she even died at Mary's time and in Mary's way.

POEM: "Finding Home" "Think of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven. Of taking hold of a hand and finding it's God's hand. Of breathing new air and finding it celestial air. Of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality. Of passing from storm and tempest to an unbroken calm. Imaging waking up and finding you're home!"

Welcome home, to Heaven, Mary. As you opened the door of your earthly home and let so many people in, so your Heavenly Father, has opened the door of your brand new eternal home and said, "Well done, good and faithful child of mine. You have been so faithful in your work on earth. Enter now into the eternal joys of your Heavenly rewards." The family had a special thing they would do with Mary. They would try to be the first to speak to her in different places, at different times, on different days. The first one who called her on her birthday and said, "I love you the mostest!" .. Mary would say, "the first to say it wins".

I was sick and you helped me get well" Check that off too. "I was in prison and you came to me. You got me out and gave me another chance." Big check m~rk there. and her children and working 20 hours a day and trying to make ends meet and unknown to her, God was preparing her with a great understanding of so many others in our community that were doing the same thing and needed someone to reach out and help them. God sent us Mary, a special lady who loved to give and loved to help kids and knew how to stretch that money far enough to help alot of kids as well as take care of her own. I read that "Grandchildren are the only ones who get more out of you than the IRS." Well Bart could certainly testify to that fact. He said over their over 30 years of marriage, he has never gotten a paycheck. Whenever he did get a check he gave the envelope to Mary and she gave him back an "allowance." So Bart got an allowance, but not a paycheck. satisfies the needs of his life. He never has reason to regret being with her. She treats him generously all her life long. It like she means it and you are wise to pay attention to what she has to say. But she always says it with love." "Charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn't last, but a women who [loves and takes care of her family and] believes in God shall be greatly admired and praised." Let's thank Jesus for Mary's life and for giving her to us for this little while. I want to pray for the family and then I will ask you to join me in the prayer written on the inside of your memorial folder as we conclude our prayer time. be with him in so many ways each day. Thank You for the wonderful family you have blessed him with. He has been a good husband, father and grandfather and may he find comfort in knowing how much they and we all appreciate him. I pray for Mary's children.. there are so many extended family children. 0 God, today I especially lift up before You, Glenda, Randy, Rita, Suzanne, Denny, Mary and Maria and their spouses, Robert, Nora, Kenny, Cory, Denise, Leon and Robert. What a precious mother and mother-in-law they were blessed with and their love and respect for her speaks for itself. She was always there for them in so many unbelievable ways and I pray that they will, in many ways now, continue on the love and care and work of their mother in their own homes and in the lives of hurting people. As these children used to crawl up on their mother's lap when they were hurting and had an owie and she wrapped her healing arms around them and kissed their hurts away and told them everything would be ok .. may they know, 0 God, that they can crawl up on Your great big lap of love, anytime, with any need, and You too, will hold them and kiss their broken hearts and assure them that their mother is ok with You and they will be ok too. And I pray for each of these precious grand and great-grand children, Haylee, Garrett, Douglas, David, Amanda, Patrick, Courtney, Parker, Adam, Edc, Kayla, Brook, Kaitlyn, Alex, Kelbi, Kayda, Noah and Brody and today we also remember Cayden. Their grandmother Mary loved them and cared for them and spoiled them and always believed in them and always expected the best from them. May they all grow up to be, as it were, tall and strong branches of their family tree and may they always do those things in their lives that would always make their grandmother very proud of them. our hearts and our lives. Thank You, again and again, 0 God, for

Date: February 22, 2010