|Mother was born in 1934 to a wonderful family in Salt Lake City, Utah. My Father, Wayne, met my Mother in 1956 and after a short courtship, they married and left for the Pear Orchards of Oregon. Mom certainly took a risk in that day, believing that fruit farming would be a good environment to raise a family. She was right and learned to love every aspect of the new farm life. She served as the bookkeeper for Webster Orchards for years and was Dad’s most trusted confidant. She was extremely talented with grammar and corrected all correspondences for the business.
She was always the “can do” strength in our home. You could always count on Mom for her ability to treat each of her eight children so personally that each of us, I believe, thought we were Mom’s favorite. She was truly the apple of my eye and the strength of my life. She encouraged all of us to get as much education as possible. She also was insistent that those who enter the family business not only finish at least a four year degree, but also get experience with another company before coming back to the family business. As my education culminated with an MBA from Duke University, she was right. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I can remember how excited I was to show Mom my diploma, and I’ll never forget the look on her face. I felt like I had made her proud.
As our orchard operation passed on to the third generation, Mom and Dad were very gracious in allowing those assuming responsibility to fully take upon themselves the reigns of successes and failures. They both let go completely and simply cheered from the sidelines. They eagerly supported us as my brother Addison and I began to resurrect a gift company that our Grandfather had begun back in the 40’s. In fact, Mother let us use her basement to conduct business and her garage to pack retail gifts. She gladly gave up these spaces to give us every opportunity to succeed in this new venture. I will always remember how great it was, with any positive business news, being able to simply walk up the stairs of our parent’s home to share the good news. Dad would often just sit in my office listening to phone conversations with customers, while Mother was busy upstairs doing some type of service or preparation. I’ll never forget the many times Mother asked us to stay for lunch. With our homes only a short walk through the orchards it was always difficult to turn her down, especially when she enticed us with her hot bread and fresh strawberry jam. She would invite us to come up for breaks only to realize that she had something for us to eat. I don’t think life was any more enjoyable than during this period of time. We quickly grew out of this space and Mother always made sure that we were focused on our work and families.
Mother passed away this past Saturday on blossom weekend. This was one of her favorite times of the year, as it is mine. She passed very peacefully with many of her loved ones around her. She has been my greatest fan and always believed in me. As we are all on our own individual journey through life, I hope that my journey ends with her embracing arms. Mother, I will see you on the other side of the veil. Let Dad know I miss him.