Today was the day we lay my grandma to rest… My heart aches. Today, of all days, was her 81st birthday. She was such an amazing woman. Such a kind soul that didn’t deserve that ending. But through the pain and discomfort she always remained faithful in god and knew that he didn’t guarantee trials and tribulations or pain and suffering, but what he did guarantee was that if you accepted him into your heart that you would live a pain free wonderful life in heaven. I hold peace in knowing that she is no longer suffering or in pain, but rejoicing with her brothers up above. I love you Grandma….so so very much.
Today marks my fourth eulogy given.. and I can only hope it will be my last….
Wanda Jannett Lamb
May 9, 1935 ~ May 5, 2016
Hello. My name is Stacey Decker and Wanda was my grandmother. I am honored to be able to stand up today and give the eulogy on behalf of the woman I admire and respect so much. My grandmother had an amazing story to tell. Her life journey was a path of difficulty and triumph. Throughout her journey, she continually persevered and always remained faithful to God.
Her story began in a small town in Middeltown ohio where she was born in 1935 to the late Corda Hensley and Daniel Boone. She was the middle child. The only girl with two brothers. She was the last living sibling.
Grandma’s stories were always ones that belonged in a book. The life she lived was unlike any other. I would like to share just some of those stories with you today. To help you understand the woman she was and the life that she lived.
At the young age of 3 she fell ill with pneumonia. She was very very sick and they did not know if she would make it. Her mother and father, who were not members of a church, called a local church group to come over, hold hands and surround her in prayer. As they prayed, her father stood up, walked over to the pot belly stove, and took his pack of cigerattes and threw them in the fire. He prayed that he would dedicate his life to God and he would never smoke again if God would save his baby girl. It was within minutes that she would sit up in her bed and start coughing up the infection and this made her well and she thus survived. And Her father stuck to his words, never smoked again, and dedicated their life to the church and god.
Her parents then moved the family from Ohio to Arizona in an effort to save her mothers sister, Braidus, who was suffering from tuberculosis. Her only hope by doctors orders was to move to a dryer climate. Unfortunately Braidus didn’t make it very long and her mother Cordia contacted tuberculosis from her sister. Her mother ended up dying when Grandma was only 11 years old.
After her mothers passing, her life would take a turn of events. Her mothers dying wish was for her father to give her children a mother and so he remarried. But sadly, this woman didn’t share the love for his children the way their mother did. Her father knew she wanted to leave home and paid a member of their church to get her get a ride back to Ohio, where her older brother Charles lived
At age 16, she got a job at Cheerios as a waitress. There, she met a man name Clyde Lamb who at age 17 she would go on to have her one and only child with; my mother, Melba. Because she didn’t have much money she would collect flour sacks and use the cotton bags to sew together her own maternity clothes from it.
She would go on to marry Clyde but then later got divorced. While raising Melba and needing to put food on the table, she would often find that Clyde would spend the little income he earned to get intoxicated. She would have to use soup beans and rice to feed her and Melba for days on end. The abuse from Clyde was so severe that back then a saleswoman would knock on her door to sell her a Stanley vacuum cleaner. After seeing the bruises all over her, she told her to pack her bags and moved both my grandmother and mother in to her own home.
Grandma then raised Melba, who was just 5 years old, as a single mother. Melba still recalls driving in the car where the bottom was so rusted that she couldn’t put her feet down on the floor board because you could see the pavement beneath her. Grandma would tell me the story of having to go out in the cold winter blizzards to collect coke and beer bottles to return for just a few cents. She would do this night after night to save enough change to give Melba one single doll under the Christmas tree.
Grandma strived for a better life. Because this was a small town there were not a lot of employment opportunities. So she went to the local factory, Robbins and Meyers, and begged for a job. She put in her application and said they were not hiring but would call her if they had a position. This wasn’t what she wanted to hear. She was determined to get a better job and provide a better life. So she would go every single day and sit in the waiting room for hours and hours. After about 6 months of persistency, they finally gave her a job in which she worked her way up to be an overhead crane operator and retired from her career after 33 years as a master machinist.
Grandma may of been little at only 4’ 11, but she was strong. And fierce! And a bit feisty at times ;) She would go on to buy her first and only home in the country of Springfield Ohio. She then met a man that I have always known as my grandpa, “Grandpa Chris”, who at 85 years old traveled by himself from Ohio to be here with us today. They spent 27 years together. They traveled in their motorhome, and fished on the boat, and he helped raise my mother. They had many great memories together.
They would watch my brother, Jamie, on the weekends when he was just a baby. This was her first grandchild and she always carried a special bond with him. Melba moved to Virginia when he was only 3 years old. This was so hard for my grandmother but she would call often. She somehow always had premonitions if Jamie fell or got hurt, which was often!She was his biggest fan.
After losing her oldest brother, Charles, Grandma wanted to move to be closer to my mom. She moved to Chesapeake VA in March of 2006 to a retirement community just down the road from Melba.
This is where she would meet so many of you here today. In the short amount of time she lived in this area, she made more friends than most make in a lifetime. She became active in the church here and loved to go on trips with Pastor Larry and his ministry. She enjoyed playing cards weekly with her girlfriends, and loved more than anything to spend time with her family.
She would always show her support by going to Zach’s soccer games, Skyler’s cheer competitions and Emma’s dance recitals. She was always there for us and enjoyed doing so. She became known by all of the great grandchildren as “babaw Lamb”, thanks to the first-born Zachery.
Just a few months ago, I had come over to grandma’s house and brought the girls for a visit. Grandma and Emma would sit down and play a card game of “Go Fish”… Grandma pulled out a bag of handmade contraptions that she created as a way to easily hold a hand of cards. She told me she would sell these at the clubhouse for $5 a piece. At 80 years old, she was still coming up with ways to earn her some money. I couldn’t be more impressed!
Though she had a hard life and often had to live without, her later years were spent comfortably and she was beyond grateful. Through her journey in life, there was one thing she carried with her…and that was to always be humble and kind.
My grandma touched so many hearts in this world. The outpour of condolences and sweet remarks have shown me just how much of an impact she made on people. People old and young, all walks of life, people she met so so long ago that would remember the stories she would share with them. She would deeply and sincerely care for each person she met. Her body so little but her heart SO big. And if you knew my grandma, she could cry at the blink of an eye. But those tears were so very genuine.
On this exact day, one year ago, we celebrated her 80th birthday with a BIG BIG surprise to her. She had no idea, that with the help of her good friend and neighbor Toddy, we would invite so many of her friends to celebrate this milestone of a birthday. The emotion on her face was a memory that will never be forgotten. Family flew in from all over to spend this special day with her including her youngest brother, James, also known as “Pee Wee”. They hugged and danced and cried and spent many days together reminiscing of their childhood. It was such a blessing to be able to reunite Grandma and her youngest brother who passed away this December.
I find peace in knowing that when she finally laid her eyes to rest, that both of her brothers were there in heaven, accepting her with open arms.
Grandma was loved by many, and will never be forgotten. I feel so fortunate that my girls were able to know their great grandmother, hear that sweet pitch in her voice, and know that she not only passed on her legacy but she passed on those bright blue eyes to my daughter allowing me to see my grandma every-single-day.
Video from service today: