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Rose Petals

The Passing of a Matriarch

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Kathleene Runnels is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or

February 18, 2012 | 14,381 views | 4 comments

Mother (Estelle Canion Van Treese), lived and went to school in Smiley, Texas, and she met Daddy one summer after going to Bergsmill to visit her cousin, Ruth. She stayed there and made friends with a girl named Kathryn. Eventually, she lived with Kathryn and her family in San Antonio on Cherry St. The two of them became waitresses, and they would walk two blocks to work at a bar on Hackberry St. Kathryn was dating Daddy at the time and he worked there on Wed and Fri nights, playing the mandolin in a western band. Then Mom and Dad started seeing each other and married in 1939. He got her a job at the Lighthouse where he worked part-time. During the war, and before I was born, Mother worked at Duncan Field, the forerunner of Kelly AFB, but she loved working with numbers and over the years did bookkeeping for various businesses, eventually retiring from payroll at Lackland AFB.

Last summer my friend Portia, daughter of Mother’s blind friend, Annis, and I took Mother (now 93) to visit the Lighthouse in San Antonio. When we walked in, Mom said, “This isn’t where it used to be.” I said, “Yes, Mother, of course it is.” Well, she was right; why would I doubt it. The very first Lighthouse was located on South Presa St, and that’s where Mother worked! The Lighthouse had a government contract to sew pillow cases for the military men (before the war) and they needed a sighted person to help. So that’s what Mother did! I am quite certain that Mother is the oldest living person who ever worked for the Lighthouse, or living person to actually remember its first location! Neat, huh?

A few years ago, Mother developed a severe form of macular degeneration in both eyes, rendering her almost completely blind. Ironic that she was the sighted one, yet she was reduced to needing help seeing.

As I write this entry, Mother’s mind is still sharp, but her body is failing. She is under Hospice care, suffering from pulmonary disease. We doubt she will make it to her 94th birthday in June, but her life has been rich with amazing accomplishments, and I honor her for it. She had a tremendous work ethic; she was a talented artist, especially pen & ink and pencil drawings; she was a perfectionist in everything she did, including her house and yard keeping; she was an accomplished seamstress and a world class artist at crochet, embroidery, and cross-stitch.

Everyone who knows her thinks of my Mother as a stately lady, carrying herself with pride and dignity and always beautifully dressed in stylish clothes and jewelry. Although she would disagree, we saw her as beautiful. She is the Canion Family matriarch, the last of seven, and her children, grandchildren, church friends, and a host of nieces and nephews, (Aunt Sissie to them), will sorely miss her. May God give her peace in these last days.
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Your Opinions and Comments

Kathleene Runnels  
Hondo, TX  
February 20, 2012 6:38pm
Portia, those words touch my heart. Thank you for your love and treasured friendship. Kathleene

Portia McKown  
Oglesby, TX  
February 20, 2012 7:41am
Kathleene and Travis, Your mother is/was all this and more: humorous, creative, inventive, resilient, compassionate, loving, caring, etc. Wish I would have asked her how she was able to be all this and do everything, but as ... More ›

diogo happy  
February 18, 2012 10:32pm
Hello Mr.s Runnels . I enjoyed reading your story. Your mom is indeed a great person, and she also raised a great daughter, i can tell.. I hope your mom gets to live as long as she wishes, and in good health. Take care. God ... More ›

Elaine K.  
February 18, 2012 9:30pm
New column posted.

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