Frances Dorothy Gartner
Born October 2, 1927
Died May 21, 2005
Buried in Block 14, Lot 7, Plot 3
GPS Coordinates N 30.49.006 W095.14.783
Frances Dorothy Gartner
by her son,
As some of you are already aware, my mother, Frances Dorothy Gartner, died on Saturday, May 21, 2005. She was seventy eight years of age. She had been a librarian at the Walter, Kendall, and Downtown City libraries for many years. She had retired from the employment with the City at least fourteen years ago. She liked writing stories and focused on those for children. She was published several times. She loved nature in all its Creation. She would have never killed a snake, for example, although she might have disposed of an occasional poison ivy plant so long as enough remained to survive for its own sake and for reasons, yet unknown. She fed animals in the city daily. In her yard at one time there might be fifteen squirrels, thirty White Wing doves, several Inca Doves, Some Mourning Doves, Blue Jays, Starlings, Black Birds, Grackles, Finches, Woodpeckers, Cardinals, and seasonally an assortment of other flying creatures all coming to feast on the variety of foods that she maintained for them. There were even visits by opossums and raccoons. Other creatures long since exterminated from the Houston landscape like moles, and voles, snakes, skunks, bobcats, rabbits and more, did not come. She kept fresh water for them changing it sometimes more than twice a day. The Blue Jays especially liked that. Squirrels were so much at home that they played around in the yard with each other and with their food, especially the young ones.
My mother grew up on a farm in South Dakota and for awhile she lived in Idaho during the dust bowl years. Each of my parents and their parents, brothers, and sisters, in their childhoods were some of the "Okies" made noteworthy in John Steinbeck's, The Grapes Of Wrath. Her mother was still churning her own milk in the early seventies. Her dad still lived on a farm and he still raised a few hogs until the time of his death in the early nineties.
It is my opinion and I felt that it was hers as well that the Earth, this precious planet, and each and one of its Creation, is dying, with a basis in the fact that human children have become separated from the relationships to be discovered and developed with Nature. Life in a city has a numbing effect. We are forgetting what is disappearing right before our very eyes. The conversion of the naturalness that once prevailed which has now become a cloned monoculture of the Live Oak tree, everything in little straight rows, having to be clipped to a height not over nine inches, or all the imported species foreign to this area being used upon the remaining spaces, are examples. Who could help but find a sense of reverence, God, if you will, for each aspect of creation having this relationship with the firmament? My mother had sensitivity and appreciation. My mother's yard was filled with many native species indigenous to this area. She never used insecticides or chemical yard treatments. (We wonder today why she was first diagnosed with lung cancer in her terminal illness. She had never smoked.) She made financial donations to many groups that devoted themselves to reversing the natural destruction of the Earth.
I know how I feel when someone I know, suffers a loss or some sort of tragedy. I decided here that I wanted to put some thought into this essay, for each of you, for your sakes. We are all too busy. We are all too burdened with issues, needs, matters tugging at us every day. Some us have thought retirement will give us more time too but it does not happen I have heard.
I think my mother would have simply wanted you to know that she appreciates being included in your thoughts. I think that she might have wanted to ask that you might dwell upon on how she found usefulness and vitality to her life, for the sake of the health of Creation. She was an educator. She was always ready to share some thought or piece of information. She felt that to impart knowledge, this would lead to wisdom.
She wanted her interment natural. She will have that wish. She said she wanted a sunny spot to rest. She will have that wish. She wanted a pine casket. She will have that wish. She did not want formalin injected into her body. She will have that wish. She would have wanted to be buried among all the little creatures about which she cared so very much. She will have that wish.
I feel so lucky to have made the acquaintance of one Mr. George Russell of Huntsville, Texas years ago. Like my mother he too is a warrior for the healing of the Earth. He has been a front line warrior for many years, literally with his body, ready to die of his body, that one creature might live to see another day. He has been blessed with a brilliant mind and some financial means. No doubt he has two parents who had the ability to nurture him well in his youth. He recently purchased hundreds of acres near Huntsville and the Trinity River for eternal protection for the sake of the life that exists there. Within that realm he also devised a plan to have part of it also employed as a green cemetery. My mother will be the third person privileged to take a stroll among this most sacred and delightful place for eternity. I feel so incredibly lucky as I said that she could have learned, before she died, of such a sweet and special effort being done for the animals and the plants, the air and the water and then blessed to be allowed a permanent tenure for the sustenance, care, and protection of this Creation. I cannot right now imagine as I write this, a greater tribute and gift to her and to her life, than to be allowed inclusion to rest in such a place as the Holy Spirit Trinity Wilderness Cathedral.
When you approach this Cathedral you will feel her presence. She will be in the air that you breathe. The beams of the sun you will feel will be her welcoming arms. The water will reflect her stature. She will be in the smile of the creatures you will encounter. I welcome you anytime to go there and dwell at a place a little closer to what once was and is what is now remembering itself and returning.
I feel certain that my mother would have felt that any material offering of condolence be employed not particularly in an offering of a potted plant or even cut flowers, although some had been recently sent to her, in my name. She was surprised as was I, and she liked them. I feel that she would like it if any of you felt that you within yourselves needed to express yourselves in some material fashion that she would have you direct your expression either to the support of this Cathedral of the Great Spirit www.salvationnetwork.org, (please see the many adjunct web sites, 275 of
them, associated with George's vision www.ethicianfamilycemetery.org, for example ), or to one of several such organizations devoted to similar efforts. The Texas Committee On Natural Resources, www.tconr.net, or The Nature Conservancy, www.nature.org , or perhaps the National Wildlife Federation, www.nwf.org , or even Greenpeace, www.greenpeace.org