Today, Easter Sunday, while we celebrate our risen Lord, we mourn our loss. Our friend, Stuart A. Fenneman, left this world for her eternal home that was not made with hands, to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The graveside service was held out in the country at Lee. Having never been there, I followed directions to get to the little cemetery. So many cars were already parked there that I and quite a few others had to pull off the dirt road and walk a good way to the actual site. That was fine, as it was a beautiful, quiet stroll during which we could clear our heads of other, less important things, and be ready for the service.
As the family gathered under the tent, scores of friends stood around the site to remember this lovely lady. I tried to count and estimate, but it would have been a pitiful attempt. Suffice it to say, there were many, many folks.
The ministers and the family spoke so tenderly of her attributes, and for Stuart, that was a great pool of talking points. What a dear, sweet woman who lived her life well.
One of the things that was a common theme was that she lived her life with bigger goals in mind. The way she guided her children to know and experience important things that would benefit them for their whole lives was surely a primary example of how she was always looking at the big picture.
However, I would say that the main theme that was talked about was her love for the Savior. Her children spoke tenderly of her bringing them up in the knowledge and practice of loving him, and how that faith that she taught and lived is still in them today. The community members and ministers all remembered her example of faith. She truly was a woman of God, in love with Jesus.
On a personal note – when Stuart heard what we were trying to do with storytelling and our vision for how it could be a positive force for change in our community, she stepped right up and dove in. You see, she had been to Jonesborough many times, and so she knew how a little town like ours could, over time, be transformed by the power of story. Being a teacher, she knew how the power of story could transform lives. She worked hard to spread the word, well, not just spread the word, but to enlist friends and community groups to see that vision, too, and to help us. Believe me, that precious, gentle retired school teacher could be so very sweetly and firmly persuasive.
Our 6th Annual Festival will be coming up November 15-16, and we plan to dedicate it to her memory. Our little story-world here in Madison will miss her.
Jim and I will for sure.