Condolences and flowers may be sent at www.bjmeyer.com
For more information on Lyme Disease please watch this video.
Live Stream of the Mass is available here:
Gayle Van De Ryt’s eulogy
Today we gather to celebrate the life of a truly remarkable woman. Her impact flows through all of her 6 children, 23 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and the rest of her family and friends.
She taught us the importance of kindness, strength, unconditional love and service to others. She reminded us how important the little things in life are. Things like nature and art were never taken for granted by grandma.
She had such a deep faith and loved using her artistic gifts to decorate the church at Christmas and Easter. She made porcelain ornaments and crib sets and she painted 5 icons that required a 10 day art retreat to complete. She loved to proclaim the gospel through reading at mass, leading prayer groups and going to mass with her family.
When she was raising her children she used to take them to the grotto across the street to pray. She would say “praise the lord” so much that their pet bird started saying “praise the lord” too. Alisa also remembers that every year on her birthday mom would remind her that it was after she was born that mom became very close to Jesus.
Whenever her kids were faced with challenges she would say
“I’ll pray for you and I’m sure you will make the right choice when the time comes”.
Her adventurous side came through visits to amusement parks, boating in New Smyrna Beach and her various travels to Gethsemani, Rome, Guatemala, Germany for the passion play, Costa Rica, girls trips with Dian, Sue, Juli, Joan, Alisa and Tricia to Sue’s place in North Palm Beach, and trips to visit her out of town grandchildren so that she could “picture us in our place.” Most recently, she enjoyed a Caribbean cruise with her children and their spouses to celebrate her 80th birthday and grandma & grandpas 60th wedding anniversary.
Joe & Alisa remember the RV trip to visit Sue in New York. It was a fun adventure going through Hershey Pennsylvania but when they went through New Jersey and then ultimately New York, the scene changed. A car window was smashed close by so grandma & grandpa told them “don’t go anywhere without us.” And driving through the streets in New York in an RV didn’t work out quite as well as they thought it would.
The first year Coney Island was opened she made her girls matching sun dresses so she wouldn’t lose them in the crowd. She loved roller coasters and would take them on the shooting star. Later in life when she went to kings island with her grand daughter Megan and rode the diamondback rollercoaster she got off with laughter in her voice and said her old people’s skin was blowing in the wind and it felt like her eye was going to fall out.
She knew how to make each of us feel special. A small example: Each time I called her on the phone, she would answer cheerfully, JeSeeKa!
She loved taking her grandkids to Graeters for their birthdays and Kristin remembers how she would always make sure they took the cute little bowls home with them to re use. Brittani remembers they would see who could get the biggest chip in their ice cream.
Brittani also remembers grandma wanting to have a glass of wine with her & Ben and Stephani & Eric at their Florida condo and she pulled out a glass the size of a thimble. She asked for a refill but had to have grandpa finish it.
Lauren remembers when grandma would come to visit. She would get up early and make her breakfast before school. It was always artfully displayed with apple slices cut into beautiful shapes and later in the day carrots cut so nicely you didn’t want to eat them. She would walk her to the bus stop and enjoy lively conversation with her while stopping to admire the flowers and trees along the way.
Hana, Grace & Emi remember having tea parties with her with tiny tea cups.
She was so proud of all of her grandchildren and would talk to them about their interests and encourage them to use their talents.
She loved talking about life and laughing with them, taking them to art museums, having jam sessions with Christopher and playing the piano with the little ones.
She loved flying whenever the opportunity presented itself and always looked up in awe when planes flew over, wondering if it could be her son Joe, son-in-law Brian or her grandsons David, Collin or Scott in the cockpit.
Throughout the last decade of Gayle’s life she suffered more than anyone will ever know. When Lyme disease attacked her body and mostly her brain she struggled to be her joyful self. Through her struggles, her children grew closer to her and each other. Joan & Sue became her healthcare advocates and worked closely to trouble shoot each stage of the disease. As time went on and especially after grandpa died Dian, Juli & Alisa learned her routine and helped her get through her days. FaceTime calls from Joe & Tricia’s children always helped cheer her and put a smile on her face. Amid all of these challenges she persevered and never lost her passion for life. She was and will continue to be an inspiration to all of us.
Before grandma was sick and she would talk about dying and heaven she would say “I don’t want you to be sad when I die. I want you to have a big party, dance and enjoy each other.” In this spirit we invite all of you to join us for a party at John & Alisa’s after the burial at 3:30 today.
She lived her whole life preparing for heaven and now she is there. No pain, no suffering just pure love and joy.
I would like to close with Grandma’s own words, left in a note on my refrigerator 7 years ago, because I think it captures Grandma’s hopes for her family…
Keep being so in love with each other and those precious children…it’s the best gift you can give each other and them…Thanks for all…