Monday, May 24, 2010

Montana Trip - Day 2

Friday morning was Grandpa John's funeral.  Even through the emotion of the morning, some wonderful things stand out.  Jonette's sister Robyn wrote most of the eulogy, and Grandpa Virg read it with Kaysen standing right by his side.  Kylene, Kiera, and Kaysen also wrote some of their favorite memories of Papa John.  Kaysen read his own, and then Grandpa read the girls'.  They each captured some essential part of Papa John's personality. 

I got to lead the music, and Kiera played the piano.  We sang "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good" (which we also sang at my Grandpa Camp's funeral - that brought back memories), and I made the mistake of looking at Kylene while I was trying to sing.  Oops.  The closing hymn was "God Be With You Until We Meet Again" which we also sang at Jonette's mom's funeral (the hymn has been 'ruined' for her ever since - and every time I sing it, it makes me think of Grandma Lois and how much she was loved).  I told myself as I was leading NOT to look at Ky.  So I didn't.  And made the huge mistake of looking at Jonette instead.  Big oops.

After the services, we got to drive in a funeral procession with a police escort.  (Is that a perk of being in a small town, or what?)  The cemetery is in the most beautiful place, overlooking Flathead Lake.  I promised Kylene that I would not put any pictures of crying people on the blog, but I did want to share some pictures from the graveside portion.
Ellie fell asleep during the funeral, and so we let her continue sleeping in her car seat during the dedication of the grave.  She was so peaceful and serene.  Quite a contrast to the emotions felt by the rest of the group.
My heart is so full for Jonette and her kids right now.  Grandpa John basically lived with them ever since Jonette's mom died 10 years ago.  For the kids, it is like losing a parent.  Grandpa was part of their every day lives. 

And yet, as hard as it is, I have also witnessed many tender mercies.  Things like empathy for each other (Kiera said multiple times that it is hardest to watch Kaysen cry because he and Gpa had such a special bond) and feelings of peace and the opportunity for us to be together and watching Dan give everyone hugs.  Dan can always sense when you are sad, and he gives the best hugs.  Jonette said that it was nice to have Daniel with us because he helped things feel more "normal."

After the funeral, we headed back to check out of the hotel.  Ellie was glad to go (I think) because we didn't want her to crawl on the hotel carpet, so her activity had been limited to crawling around on the bed.
We all went to lunch at the famous Polson bakery and then headed to the Cove for huckleberry ice cream.  Well, all of the rest had huckleberry ice cream while I looked on with jealousy.  I settled for some sherbet....  Then we loaded up and caravaned to Helena.
Friday was an emotional day.  I am glad we were able to honor Grandpa John and his impact in our lives.  He will be missed.

John M. Heinrich

Helena, Montana
September 10, 1927 - May 16, 2010

John M. Heinrich, 82, of Helena, MT passed away on May 16, 2010, at home, surrounded by his family.
He was born Sept. 10, 1927 in Glendive, MT, the son of late John C. and Mary Della Heinrich.  He was the 7th of 9 children.
He graduated for Dawson County High School.  He served in the Navy for a year during WWII. He then attended Rocky Mountain College on an athletic scholarship graduating in 1950.
He went to work for KG Men Stores, where he worked his way from sales to Senior VP. He spent 30+ years with KG’s.  It is during this time he met his late wife Lois.  They were married on June 3, 1967. They had one daughter, Jonette, in Sept .1969.  In 1982, John took on a new adventure in life, moving to Polson, MT and running his own hardware business, Davis Hardware, for 9 years.
John was a very active, independent man.  He never really retired, working for numerous ACE Hardware stores in Montana and Utah for the last 15 years. He enjoyed sports of all kinds throughout his life. In Jan. 2006, he was honored at Rocky Mountain College, along with his 1947-48 teammates, as the most winning team in RMC history with a 31- 1 record and was inducted into the “ Ring of Honor”.
John was the most wonderful father and ultimate grandfather to all of his family and even to some of their friends.  Everyone referred to him as Grandpa, G-pa, or Papa John.
He was a kind, charming, loving, patient, gentle, hardworking man. Everyone he ever came in contact with only had nice things to say about him.  He was dearly loved and will be deeply missed.
John is preceded in death by his wife, Lois, of 32 years, parents and five siblings. 
He is survived by his sister Willie Ament of Billings, two brothers, Clarence Heinrich of Glendive, MT and Chuck Heinrich of Monmouth, IL, daughter Jonette Spencer (Kyle) and grandchildren Kylene, Kiera and Kaysen of Helena, step-daughter Robyn Perry (Bill) of Sunriver, OR, step-grandchildren Scott Carpenter of Boise, ID, Michelle Powell of Bend, OR, Jodi McDuff of Birmingham, AL and Ryan Perry of Parrish, FL, step-son Scott Larson (Bonnie), step-grandson, Bob Larson both of Missoula and extended family of 10 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, May 21, 2010, 10 AM at Grogan Funeral Home, 101 Sixth Ave. E., Polson, MT. Friends may call one hour prior to the services. Burial will follow at Lakeview Cemetery, Polson.  In lieu of flowers, a donation to Hospice of St. Peters, 2475 Broadway, Helena, MT 59601. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family online at The staff of Grogan Funeral Home considers it a privilege to care for Mr. Heinrich’s family.

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