Maryann and Jeanne Stopha standing in from the JACC at Notre Dame


Today, we remember a wonderful woman, whom I miss terribly every single day.

Jeanne Stopha’s Eulogy

(February 2, 1934 – September 12, 2002)
Funeral – September 14, 2002
Written and read by her son, Joel Stopha

Ground Hog’s day -1934. Did the ground hog see his shadow? The one in Allegany, NY, sure did. That was the day the Lord, in all His glory, brought into this world, and all our lives, Jeanne Marie Eaton. She was the little sister that my Aunt Marion and my Aunt Ruth prayed so long and so hard for. Does God answer prayers? He sure answered Aunt Marion’s and Aunt Ruth’s, and in addition to answering prayers, He provided all of us with wonderful blessings for 68 years of Mom’s life.

I like to think that mom provided and blessed us with three very important things:

Kindness, Hope, and Love

The kindness came forth in the many wonderful words that were written in the remembrance book at the funeral home. Thank so many of you for taking time to provide us with special words we can continue to share with Mom’s grandchildren. Spread throughout many of the recollections was the theme of kindness. Mom always had a way of providing for others she thought were in need. No coat, hat, or pair of mittens was safe in our house during the cold western New York winters If Mom had not seen you wear these items recently, it was going to some child on her bus or some adult she knew needed it. Dad saw his wool hunting coat walk down the street one cold winter day, and I saw more than one Stopha ski cap on others heads in my 20 plus years of winters in Bolivar. Mom had a heart of gold and was as kind as the day is long. If I had a nickel for every word or act of kindness Mom provided to her family and friends, I’d be a very rich man. But you know what, we are all truly wealthy if we have learned from Mom’s kindness.

Mom portrayed Hope in her commitment to God and her commitment to her family. It was not easy to act in Hope because most of the evidence, especially during my childhood, was against it. But Mom had unwavering Hope. How else can you explain the fact that she had two very unruly sons that tortured their sisters and cousins, yet she never gave up on the Hope that one day, those sons just might get straighten out and be OK.

Mom had Hope for her daughters too. This was a different Hope, though. The Hope for her daughters was that they would all grow to be happy women who loved God and who loved their family (even their brothers Mark and Joel). Because of the living example Mom set for her daughters, is there any wonder that her Hope would have manifested itself into four beautiful daughters that have wonderful self-esteem and vigor for life? Jane, Paula, Julie, and Maryann –Thanks for carrying on Mom’s legacy.

From a worldly standpoint, it may appear that Mom had a lot of courage to act in Hope, yet because of her strong faith in God, All things were possible. (even getting Mark and me straightened out) In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he instructs them to (Philippians 4:4-7) “Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!” (Today is a day to rejoice. Mom has no more earthly pain and has gone home to be with the Lord.)

Paul goes on: “Everyone should see how unselfish you are. The Lord is near. Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God’s own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus”.

This is exactly how Mom lived.

God’s peace was always on Mom’s heart, and that is why here Love was always so evident in the everyday, ordinary things that she did. In addition to raising six of her own children, she had a hand in raising the Ahls, the Paddens, the Webbs, the Lindamers, the Dempseys, the Dunns, and so many other wonderful families in and around Bolivar.

I’d be remised if I didn’t mentioned all the nieces and nephews (and their parents) that just cringed when they heard that cousins Mark and Joel were coming to spend the afternoon or weekend. The Cash girls, the Cullather girls, and the rest of the Eaton family – you must have REALLY loved my mother to put up with that.

Mom was many things to many people, but the one word that always comes to my mind when thinking about Mom is LOVE. Mom LOVED life, she LOVED God, she LOVED her family, and she LOVED People. There is a popular country music song entitled, “She Was”, and the last verse of that song has been emblazoned on my heart for the last few weeks. The verse was written about my mother, Jeanne Stopha, and the verse says, “If there ever was a picture of Love, She Was.”

She Was. She Was.

She fought the good fight, and because of her faith in God, she has won the race.

God Bless you Mom!!