On The Wings of an Angel
A loving Eulogy for Elaine Samas
By Jim Samas
How do we measure the “love” of a mother?
Do we measure it by the number of times our mother wiped away our tears?
Can we measure it by the countless times that she sacrificed for us, or encouraged us?
Can we simply add up all the moments that she provided us the many wonderful things that we simply took for granted?
The truth is we begin measuring the “love” of a mother long before the moment we take our first “breath” in our lifetime.
Today, along with family, friends & relatives, we celebrate the life
& remember the “love” that our mother, Elaine Samas, so willingly gave others.
At a young age, she already felt close to God.
She in fact, at one time, hoped to become a catholic nun.
And I can tell you, my 7 brothers and sisters and I are glad that she didn't…
Because it would have been very difficult for us explain to our friends. ?
Her love for God, and her endless faith, was evident throughout her lifetime.
Mom always felt that “prayer” was the answer to many of our problems.
And she knew the proper Saints to pray to, regardless of the situation, whether it was to help find a lost item, or to help overcome the loss of a loved one.
Prayer was an important element of her life, and she patterned her life after it.
I remember fondly as a young child, praying the rosary with my parents, who continued the tradition, long after all the children of our family left their nest.
Like our family, our mother Elaine was born to a large family of 7 children.
She being the oldest of 3 other sisters, she also had 3 brothers.
Growing up in Wisconsin, she was close to her sisters & brothers.
Seeing her at reunions with her 3 sisters, it reminded me how incredibly fun their sisterly bond was.
Upon graduation from High School in Wisconsin, she became trained to become a
Grade school teacher in the 1940's.
Amazingly, she taught several grades of students, at the same time, in a small brick school house with a single room in Wisconsin.
Teaching was a natural for her, as she had a wonderful way of connecting to both young people & old people alike. She went on to remain in touch with some of her former students from the 1940's, Friendships that lasted over 70 years!
Eventually she elected to join the US Navy during World War 2, to proudly serve her country.
It was during this time, while stationed on Treasure Island, California, that she met her future husband, Victor Samas, who was also in the US Navy at the time.
They both eventually left the US Navy, returning to get married.
She followed her husband Victor, our Dad to his hometown of Cleveland, OH.
They continued to be happily married for the next 58 years, until the passing of our father Victor in 2005.
Growing up, one of my earliest memories was when I was barely tall enough to see over the edge of the kitchen table. Holding on to the table top with my two small hands, eyes watching attentively, it was at that time that I soon discovered the magic of our mother in the kitchen.
Our mother was a miracle worker in the kitchen, so often spending her time making incredible delicacies for our family, her friends, and our neighbors.
She learned & perfected Lithuanian recipes to please her husband Victor, who was Lithuanian.
She loved to bake & cook. And she had plenty to cook for. With 7 children, she made sure we never went to bed hungry, and we also always had fresh clothes for school.
For over 2 decades she owned and managed a professional cake decorating business.
Working from home, she decorated cakes of all kinds, anything from birthday cakes, to wedding cakes.
It was a rare day that I couldn't bury my face into a leftover bowl of cake frosting.
She absolutely loved being involved in the celebration of others.
If the family in need of a cake was short of cash, or struggling, she would “donate” the cake, so the celebration could move forward.
As a young child I marveled at the popularity of our mother.
Growing up across the street from our parish church & school, St. Francis, our mother was a very active & popular member there.
She continued her grade school teaching career there, for several years.
She was also an active member of the church choir, and an active member of the St. Francis Community Theater. In fact she & I both appeared in the Community Theater in 2 shows together. It was so incredibly wonderful to share that time with her.
Growing up, it wasn't difficult to find our mother. You simply just had to follow the singing. She just loved to sing. And she had the voice to “back it up”. Whether she was in the backyard under the grapevine, or on the front porch sitting near the rose bushes, her beautiful singing voice was not far away.
She also found time to teach some of the neighborhood children how to play piano.
One of her prized students back then, was Marlene Piszczor, now married as Marlene Anielski, who went on to find great success in her own life, first as the Mayor Of Walton Hills, Ohio, and now as a Member of The Ohio House Of Representatives.
Mom was so proud of her former students' success!
Mom's popularity with people stretched across all age groups.
She experienced life long friendships, including those with former students that she taught in the 1940's, 1960's & 1970's.
Our mother Elaine had an incredible ability to engage people in conversation.
Whether she knew them or not, she felt comfortable striking up a conversation with just about everyone.
I always marveled how you could take an elevator ride up with her and others, and before we reached the top floor, she would know their names, where they were from, and the size of their families.
What a social butterfly she was!
You could put her in a room full of total strangers, and before too long she could exit and tell you so much about them all.
Her lists of friends are legendary in size. A special event or holiday never went by without mom receiving dozens and dozens of greeting cards, even into her 90's.
Our mother Elaine had so many dear friends, and you all touched her life in your own special way. And to avoid the risk of leaving anyone out, I won't try to name them all.
You certainly know who you are, and what you shared with her.
But I would like to personally thank 2 of her dear friends, Dave Burneson, who she often referred to as her other “brother”, and Judy Kawano.
Our family owes a debt of gratitude to our sister Theresa (Terry), who along with her husband Bob provided our mother a home for the last few years of her life. With Bob performing as my mom's “personal” chef, and Terry doing everything in her power to help mom to be comfortable, safe & happy, mom's life was certainly extended.
Terry, you were mom's personal guardian angel here on earth.
And we are really grateful for that!
Lastly, special thanks to the staff at Arbors at Fairlawn, who provided mom with loving care in the last few months of her life.
Today, our mother Elaine flies on the wings of an angel, to her heavenly home.
Enjoy the ride dear mother, enjoy the ride!
Thank you all for coming today!