This Thanksgiving I want to share my heart. In early November I had the privilege of visiting my hometown, Bellingham, Washington, to help celebrate my mother's 95th birthday. Not everyone is blessed to have a parent reach that age, and to have that parent be in remarkable physical and mental shape. This in spite of a stroke she experienced several years ago. Mom (Ethel Crook) was a music teacher.
One of her "fun" things was the Whatcom Jr. High Glee Club, but it didn't stop there. She taught music Fairhaven as well, then went to teach in the Ferndale Public School System. After retirement, she went to Lynden Christian schools, where she again taught music for some years.
Not everyone is blessed to have all the siblings present at such a celebration. And to catch up with family members from all over the country, as well as former neighbors from those good old days of yesteryear. And to still feel nurtured by the wonderful members of my first church home.
Mom did a lot of things during her lifetime: raised four children, went back to college, got her teaching degree, rode horses, played tennis, played music, taught music, mentored, played organ and directed the church choir, co-founded the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, raised and showed dogs, played cribbage, traveled, took pictures (sometimes she even captured the subject rather than the surroundings!), etc. She's still active in the Bellingham Music Club and attends the symphony concerts.
But more than what Ethel Crook did is what she is: If I were to use one phrase that reflects who she is, it would be, "She's an encourager." She can spot talent from a mile off. And throughout her life, she's enjoyed encouraging young people to find their focus and stick with it. Ask her kids. Her grandchildren. Her great-grandchildren. Ask Richard A. Marshall (Swil Kanim). Or hundreds of other children and adults who consider some aspect of music as significant in their lives. She made a difference in many lives.
Long after Ethel is gone, her legacy will live on through the lives of those who love listening to or perform music. Join me at my personal website, where I share bits and pieces of the celebration of her life.
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