Eulogy of Ina Jean Cessna Bailey
There is no greater feeling than to think that after ninety-three years of life, that your family and friends would come to see you off to the promised land.
Thank you to all of you that have travelled to both mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Ina Jean Cessna Bailey.
Mother was born to the rich, black soil of Illinois on the second of July, nineteen twenty-seven. She was the third child of five born to farmers Mont and Ina Tillotson Cessna. Preceding her in death were her brothers Robert, Mont and John Cessna and her sister Nancy Ellen Ramm Vermillion. Her brother David Cessna survives her.
Ina graduated from Armstrong High School and went on to St. Elizabeth School of Nursing in Danville. The school was said to be “where ordinary people become extraordinary nurses”.
In her final year of training, she met my father over a spaghetti dinner with her girlfriend. They eloped to Kentucky as Dad was leaving for an armed service posting in nineteen forty-nine. They were both twenty-two years old; and before them lay a life of travel, work and five children.
Mom was a country girl, full of energy, with a big wide smile and she had some very thick, naturally-wavy, brown hair. She had the can-do spirit and no matter where we lived in one of seven different states and Japan, she brought her own brand of sunshine.
She had all of us getting up at five am every Easter Sunday for the Sunrise Service, stuck us out in the snow on winter days in snow suits to and told us to ‘go play’ and loved to bring a pie she made to any event.
She always talked about her love for the poet, Robert Frost and Mom would tap dance when she dried the dishes after dinner. She would laugh and say, “Hop-one, two, three. - Hop one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.” as she demonstrated her only dance routine at the kitchen sink.
After Dad retired from service, they settled down in Tucson, Arizona for the next forty-five years. There she had time to devote herself to her church, Dad, gardening and writing about her young life on the farm.
Mom had a ‘green thumb’ as they say and once stuck a stick in the ground in Florida and it grew. She turned the dry desert of their Tucson backyard into a citrus grove of grapefruit and lemon trees. Jean took pride in the enormous vine of pink Tombstone roses she grew against the house wall and came face to face with many different sizes of wildlife and rattlesnakes over the course of gardening there. They had wild Javelina pigs running in small noisy herds in the gully behind their house in the evening or early morning looking for food and it made her love the desert even more.
She loved them all except for one creature, a particular woodpecker.
Mom said she could never get any rest because he was, as she put it, ‘he was out there hammering’. One day when she was home alone she thought she heard someone knocking at the door and when she opened it, the only thing there was, a door peppered in tiny, beak-sized holes.
Our Father died on September nineteenth nineteen ninety-two and Mom missed him greatly as have all of his children and she carried on without him.
As Jean returns to the ground of her prairie homeland, we remember the last verse from one of her favorite poems by Robert Frost.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Now, she has kept all those promises and more.
Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 23, 2021, at the Blurton Funeral Home, in Potomac. A Celebration of her Life will begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 24, 2021, at the Hope United Church of Christ, with Pastor Randy Holden officiating. She will be laid to rest following the services in Embury Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Hope United Church of Christ. The family has entrusted the Blurton Funeral Home to assist them in honoring her life. Condolences may be shared with th family on her everlasting memorial page at: www.BlurtonFuneralHomes.com.
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