Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Obituary revisited for me, JRLS (advance copy)


James Richard Lester Schmotzer

born: March 18, 1954


Portland born and raised

childhood of neighborhood adventures and friends

with unpredictable episodes of haunting, lingering secrets

youthful awakening brought craved for hope and direction

young love became young marriage with Connie in ’74

Michael and Kyle arrived in the early ‘80’s

family, career and faith merged

exhilarating, confusing and, at times, a train wreck

struggles with institutions said as much about him

as about the organizations

privately always a bit overwhelmed while often

publicly perceived as calm and steady

thankfully family and friendships outlasted jobs

anxious, reactive certitude gradually morphed toward reflective acceptance

faith and mystery became central guides and supports

relationships, conversations, stories, laughter, heartache, songs and poems

became air and water, bread and wine, daily sustenance

hoped, worked and waited, often impatiently,

for the day when justice and peace would embrace

and bring the fullness of shalom


died: although his death date may be established it is not yet widely known

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Obituary revisited for my Mom (BLSH)

Barbara Lester Schmotzer Higley

born: March 21, 1932


raised in “the country”

Daddy died and Mama went cold in’41

family never quite recovered

moved to “the city” during “the war”

married JES in ‘53

he argued (fought?) with his mother,

at the reception, then drank the evening away, alone

while Barbara was crying, alone

first son born in ’54 and second in ’57

worked so hard to be

the friend of the friendless

while always on the edge of her own despair

grasping for that which she could not have or hold

unmoored by divorce, fears confirmed, again,

gradually regained her footing,

new work, new friends,

eventually a new home and husband

until age and failing health brought a

darkness too soon, too long before the end,

again affirming the sense of never holding

that long desired love and security

which perished with her Daddy,

oh, so long ago


died: June 26, 2020


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Obituary revisited for my Dad, JES

James Eldon Schmotzer

born: July 23, 1932


Portland born and east side raised

by teen years he had distanced from his parents,

maybe his choice, maybe theirs, probably both

followed his brothers dropping out

and joining the military to “see the world,”

got stuck in Guam

returned home and reconnected with Barbara

she broke her engagement, to another,

and agreed to marry in ’53

after an argument (fight?) at the reception

with Estelle, his mother, he spent the night alone, drinking

Barbara spent hers alone and crying

first son born in ’54 and second in ’57

settled in the suburbs

changed jobs…frequently

eventually into management, relative stability

known for being honest and hardworking, at work

unpredictable, at times irresponsible, at home

climbed the ladder, leaving Barbara behind, far behind

the inevitable second marriage,

to Barbara’s one time best friend

quit smoking and drinking

became attentive to kids and grandkids

heart attack in ‘96 ushered in a pain filled year

with cancer having the final word


died: August 1, 1997