Today with great regret we inform the world of the passing of our Mom, Anne M. Gilbert.
Anne entered this world June 21st, 1931. Born to parents Katharine Agatha and Steven A. Moore in Portland, Oregon, Anne was a middle child. She had both an older sister, her "partner in crime ", and a much younger sister who she spent many years helping to raise.
Mom asked that there be a cremation and no memorial service. In order to accommodate her wishes, this obituary will be our way to honor her in the community.
Anne's father was one of the architects on the Bonneville Dam and later a consultant to the Bonneville Hydropower Plant and as a result, she spent childhood summers playing on the banks of the Columbia River and running through the apricot orchards enjoying the summer air.
In her later teenage years, she moved to Southern Oregon with her mother and step-father. This is where she would meet the love of her life, Buster, who eventually became her beloved husband and partner.
On July 22,1950, Anne married Buster F. Gilbert in a ceremony in her parents' rose garden. The next couple of years were busy ones. Francie was born in 1951 and they bought a property to run cattle on. Buster continued to work as a mechanic and Anne as a stay at home wife and mother. Many neighbors first met Anne while she was wrangling independent cattle out of the road. They always knew when it was mom and not a hired hand because she was the one with the toddler sitting on her shoulders hanging on to her hair like handles.
Within a few years, Anne’s life took some turns. In 1957, Dad had a major heart attack, new baby Carol was born, and Anne's mother-in-law passed away.
This year marked another turning point in her life. Dad had never wanted her to leave the children with a babysitter in order to get a paying job, but she convinced him she needed to do this. So in the next year she went to work for J.C. Penny which prepared her for bigger things. When Rogue Valley Memorial Hospital (now Asante) opened, she went to work in Central Supply and worked her way from Central Supply to the head of Surgical Scheduling, then on to Short Stay Surgery and then retired as soon as the Eye Surgery Department was set up and running smoothly. Mom retired after 34 dedicated years.
Mom was never a warm and fuzzy stay-at-home mom, but during that time, she never once let any of us down at home. She was a Room Mother for Francie for 4 years straight until she threatened to do bodily harm if ever volunteered again! Then it was Carol's turn. Mom couldn't be a girl scout leader because of her work schedule, but she could provide transportation and did so for many years. She also was everyone's Avon lady for years and still found time to create most of our clothing, hunt game with Dad, help with the cattle, skin and tan hides, fish out of Gold Beach, and can salmon and fruit while running carpool for Sunshine Girls and 4H. And of course, rushing us to all those doctor’s appointments for broken arms, legs, feet, and knees. Mom also offered her time and delicious food for all the extended family that showing up for holidays or provided a warm bed while as they were passing through town while stretching their legs and finding their way in life. Mom always welcomed them in for a meal and a pat on the back.
Mom's belief was that we all possess an inner strength that we’re not aware of until tested. And when that test came, instead of feeling sorry for yourself - stand up, focus, then put that foot out there and step forward and GET IT DONE. There is always a way to get it done!
After 35 years of beating all the odds against them, Buster passed away and Anne continued to work for a few more years. Finally when she retired from the hospital, she decided complete retirement just wasn't for her quite yet. She couldn't stop getting up at 5:30 AM and finishing all the housework by 7:30 AM. She had a succession of "Retirement Jobs"; none were very satisfying. Then, she found herself volunteering at St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Shop. While there, she saw a great need for someone to help young women figure out how to write a resume, dress for a job interview, and how to perform during the interview. This need inspired her to get permission to set up a program for just that. The program even provided for "working style clothing" to be set aside, "since they no longer see fit to teach such things in school." Like we said, she was never warm and fuzzy.
When she was working and the children were still in school, Mom always thought that the ideal job would be working in the school kitchen because then you could be home with your children. Somehow that opportunity came to her much later and she took it. She ended up being the person who worked the menus and the funds. As a result, Lone Pine School had breakfast, lunch, and an after school snack. She became known not only by the children, parents, and grandparents but throughout the community as The Lunch Lady.
After moving on from Medford Public Schools, she and a group of her cronies from the V.F.W. Auxiliary decided there were opportunities to improve what the veterans at the White City Domiciliary were being offered so they set out with that in mind. With oversight from the veteran's Service Commission, the group gained permission to make a few changes. The rest is literally history. The Veteran's Commission gave them a large room with three desks and three chairs. The women managed to get some huge cabinets donated and moved to their White City Office. They went after donations of everything to fill those cabinets and they got them. Everything from toothpaste and underwear was donated. Every veteran there is entitled to anything they might need, including a quilt or afghan for their bed. These ladies run chess and checker tournaments, bingo and movie afternoons every week - complete with homemade refreshments. Once when I was on vacation and donating some time and quilts, a young man walked through the door of their office and he said he had been told in Fla that this was the place to come for medical treatment and the men at registration had sent him to their office. He had hitch hiked there. Everyone stood up and gave him a hug then started filling his goodie bags and told him to pick out a quilt or afghan for his bed, his choice. It was pretty amazing. After I had returned to my home I received a letter from the Veteran's Service Commissioner thanking me for my donation and telling me how proud I should be of my mother's vision and the work of the women at the Medford V.F.W. Auxiliary for making their program so successful. It is the only one of its kind in the country and the Commission is going to use it as an example to overhaul all offices. This is a lesson to us all in what a small group of 10-15 people can do if you just put your mind and heart in it.
Like we said she doesn't believe in warm and fuzzy.
Mom's idea of relaxation is an afternoon at the casino dollar slots and she was often successful! She and Dad would travel on her "Reno Money" with the help of daughter Carol who was a schooled Travel Agent. Mom and Dad traveled to Alaska, Hawaii, and Mexico. They drove cross country to Francie's home in Ohio in their motorhome and went on to Kentucky to my Dad's Army unit reunion. They loved their road trips. After Dad's death, Anne started traveling with her good friend, Elsa. They cruised the Panama Canal and toured New Orleans which was a trip she loved.
During her 20 years of retirement, Mom overcame many late-stage illnesses. "Just stay strong and keep your eye on the prize" she would say. Unfortunately, while she beat the illnesses, being strong put a great strain on her heart which decided it just couldn't go on anymore.
In life, Mom loved a good bargain and with her passing, she took her memorized QVC phone number and QVC account number. She also loved all things iris! During her move from her family home of 60 years, she had her nephew and great nephew spend a day digging up her precious iris bulbs to be distributed to any family member who wanted them from Oregon to Ohio.
The one thing Anne disliked was the idea of "Funeral Flowers". So, we ask that in lieu of floral arrangements, please look around you with a pragmatic eye and see who could use a little help right now. Whether it would be putting some money toward someone's utility bill or buying a couple of bags of groceries and leaving them on a neighbor's front porch or dropping them off at a non-profit food bank, or maybe just taking some time to visit with the elder person on your block, all would be a great tribute to Anne and her sensible, "get it done" attitude.
When her doctor told mom that she didn't have much time left, Mom said that was probably o.k., she never did much anyway except she thought she raised two pretty good kids. We disagree; Anne touched many lives during her stay here, and with her V.F.W. work, will continue to touch many more.
Anne leaves behind to mourn, her two daughters, Francie Gilbert-Miller (Barry) Lakemore, Ohio and Carol Lichlyter (Tim) Medford,Oregon. In addition, she leaves two grandchildren, Kayla Lichlyter of White City, Oregon and Sam Lichlyter (Aleksa) of Portland, Oregon along with three special grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren all in Akron Ohio. A niece and nephews, along with several great nieces and nephews sprinkled throughout Oregon, Idaho, and Ohio.
Thanks, Mom for all the special things you have done for all of us; even
though you never really practiced warm and fuzzy, we know it was in there!
This tribute given with much love always,
Francie and Carol