May 21, 2007

Edith Stelick

by David Makar
for Living in Dryden

When I was fifteen my maternal grandfather passed away. He struggled through most of 1990 and 1991 with the complications of diabetes. I watched as he grew weaker and weaker until the late winter when he said good-bye. At his wake I sat in the front row watching the column of family members and family friends pass before me. I noticed my next door neighbor Mr. Smith was in the line. In those days we were living in Berlin, Massachusetts and the funeral home was about an hour away in North Smithfield, the hometown of my mother.

A few days after the funeral I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mom. I asked her,
"Did Mr. Smith know Dziadzu (djah-djoo, Polish for grandfather)?"
"Did Mr. Smith know Babci (polish for grandmother)?"
"No, he didn't."
"Why was Mr. Smith at the wake if he didn't know Dziadzu?"
"He wasn't there for Dziadzu. He was there for us."

It took me a long while to understand that we come together in death to support the living as well as remember the people that have passed. By the time my maternal grandmother passed away in 2000 I understood and the impact of having those who never met her in person around for my mom and her two brothers.

Today, in Dryden, I traveled from my home to a funeral home. Last Thursday, Edith Stelick, the mother of fellow townboard member Steve Stelick, passed away at age 84. The Ithaca Journal's published the obituary online:
EDITH MARTHA STELICK DRYDEN - Edith, age 84, also known by many as Grandma Stelick, died Thursday, May 17, 2007, peacefully at home from heart failure. Edith was born on April 21, 1923 in Elmira, New York, to Mabel Bell Comfort and Jeptha Oliver DeGraw.

Edith loved life and was a kind person to all. She enjoyed visiting with people (especially babies), talking with and watching animals, and enjoying nature. Grandma was known for her fabulous cabbage rolls and for making yummy sweet treats for her family to enjoy. Grandma Stelick (Edith) was a friend to all and will be dearly missed. Her family was the center of her world. In fact, a recent goal of hers was achieved when she made the 6-hour round trip car ride to Buffalo on May 11-12, 2007 to see her oldest grandson, Brandon, graduate from college. An added bonus of this trip was for her to see the engagement ring that Brandon had recently presented to his fiancée, Ellen. Edith attended Candor Central School District. She resided in the Dryden area for over 50 years. Edith retired in 1988 from the former Harold's Army & Navy store that was located on The Commons in Ithaca, NY, to be with her grandchildren. She enjoyed this job as it allowed her to meet and to help customers with their purchases and find clothing in the correct size. Her former employment included Treeforms, Morse Chain, Smith Corona, and National Cash.

For the last 9 years, Edith resided with and was lovingly cared for by her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren: Stephen, Jr. and Lisa and grandchildren, Brandon (Ellen), Travis, Trevor and Kendra. She is also survived by her daughter, Sharon (Tom) Keegan and grandson, TJ. Edith is preceded in death by her parents; and her sister, Betty. Memorial Services will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, May 21, 2007, at the Perkins Funeral Home with Rev. Allan Kinney officiating. Burial will follow in Willow Glen Cemetery, Dryden. Edith's family will be present Monday from 1 to 2 p.m. to receive their friends at the funeral home, 55 West Main St., Dryden. Memorial contributions in Edith's name may be made to Dryden Ambulance Fund, PO Box 397, Dryden, NY 13053; or Southworth Library, PO Box 45, Dryden, NY 13053.

Other things happened today in Dryden, roads were repaired, gardens were planted, writers and potters worked, but this is what I'll remember from today. Posted by david at May 21, 2007 8:54 PM in
Note on photos


Mike Lane said:

Beautifully put David. Edith Stelick was one of those quite, unassuming, and totally important people of our community. Everyone knew and liked Edith, for her devotion, above all to her family. What an example she set for us. We will certainly miss her.