Today my Aunt Gwen would have celebrated her 80 birthday. She slipped away from us 12 days ago. Aunt Gwen was one of my more interesting relatives. She knew how to heat up a conversation with her liberal views and strong opinions. Over the years, we’ve had many email exchanges that, surprisingly brought us closer together in spite of our different views about the world and God’s plan for us. I love that Aunt Gwen respected me even when she didn’t agree with me. She was always open for conversation on interesting topics. She listened and was interested in my point of view. I’ll miss her.
Here are a few photos I’ve collected of Violet Gwendolyn Doyel Laemmlen:
This one was taken Thanksgiving weekend, 2014:
R.I.P. Mama Gwen – My dear sweet Mama passed away yesterday afternoon after a long battle with cancer. She was surrounded by people who loved her, held her hand, and hugged her until she took her very last breath. She fought this disease like I’ve never seen anyone fight something before. She was one tough lady and the matriarch of our family. These family photos were taken last Thanksgiving and we knew at that time these photos were going to be precious. She was the best mother, wife, and friend anyone could hope for and soooo much fun! I slept on her side of the bed last night, next to her best friend that she shared her life with for the last 55+ years and in the home she and my father built over 50 years ago. It was as if she had taken that warm down comforter and tucked us into bed herself. They had a BEAUTIFUL life together. She helped me raise my three daughters and always told them they had to be “self-sufficient women who could take care of themselves.” Before she passed she told me she knew they were going to be ok; as if her work were done. We are going to miss her like crazy and will have to learn how to go on without her, but we are going to be ok, too. Mama Gwen, thank you for everything. Thank you for all the great food you always cooked, the advice you always gave, the great laughs, your love, care, and friendship. You will forever live in our hearts!
Her wishes were not to have a funeral. Our plans are to have a celebration of life party in the spring or summer. And if we have our way, it will be one BIG party! Just the way she would have wanted it!
–Elly Laemmlen Alvarado, daughter.
In this moment, I can’t fathom how any child survives the death of a parent. I learned innumerable lessons from my mother, as a teacher and as a parent, but none were as powerful as watching her painful battle with cancer these last two years. Her desire to live was fierce, her love for her family and friends even stronger. I witnessed the strength and love that made her such a beloved teacher, parent, neighbor, friend. May she take the love we all have for her and wrap it up in a big pillow of eternal peace. Violet Gwen Laemmlen 11/28/35 – 11/16/15.
–Donna Laemmlen Moorehouse, daughter.