In Memory of Fern Ebertz (1914 – 2010)


Aunt Fern with Sylvia and me

In memory of my aunt, Fern Ebertz, I dedicate this entry.  Aunt Fern was the wife of my mother´s brother, Bill.  When my sister and I were children, they would come out to California to visit us and my grandmother.  It would always be fun to see them, since our cousins were close in age to ourselves.  Bill was a United Church of Christ minister, having last served at the First Congregational Church in Sheridan, Wyoming.  Shortly after he announced his retirement in 1974, he died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving my aunt with their 4 children.  Fern continued as a teacher throughout her life.

In her late 60s, Aunt Fern made the decision to go to the Philippines for a year as a missionary at Dansalan College in Marawi City, Southern Philippines.  There she taught English to 45-50 students in the High School Department.  I always admired that decision to go overseas to help others and it played a role in my decision to join the Peace Corps.  Aunt Fern returned from the Philippines with a treasure trove of experiences which she readily shared with others throughout the rest of her life. 

A few years later, she moved to Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California.  Pilgrim Place is a retirement facility sponsored by the United Church of Christ.  There she moved into a small house, where she thrived alongside others who had also served overseas in their earlier years.  My sister, Charlie and I visited her there on several occasions when she celebrated milestone birthdays.  Her four children organized festive events where we and her friends at Pilgrim Place could gather to enjoy each other´s company. During those years, she served as scholarship chair for the International Christian Scholarship Foundation.  She always relished the chance to give scholarships to deserving students from foreign countries.

On two occasions, Aunt Fern traveled back to Washington, DC, which gave Charlie and me a chance to show her around the city.  One of the times she stayed with us, we had a problem with our gas furnace, which required us to turn it off overnight.  The house got down to 55 degrees, but it didn´t seem to faze her in the least! 

I always admired Aunt Fern – her decision to go to the Philippines to volunteer when she was in her 60s; her continuous desire to help others; and, most of all, her caring nature.


4 Responses to “In Memory of Fern Ebertz (1914 – 2010)”

  1. Alan Says:

    Beautifully written . . . I’m so sorry for your loss.

  2. Diane Says:

    We are sorry for your loss. What a remarkable and inspirational woman.

  3. Kimberly Jackson Says:

    I am sorry for your lose. She was an angel who loved to help people. Now she is your angel in heaven. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

  4. Roger Says:

    Thanks for the wonderful words about our Mom!

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