JANUARY 7, 2003

(Read by Donna on behalf of the kids)

We are here to pay tribute to the life of my Mother, Molly Teresa Lee, and I am up here to speak about some of the memories we all want to share with you.

We kids had many nicknames for Molly. She was always Mom but she was also affectionarely referred to as Machine Gun Molly, Cocoa Butter, Mother Mccree, Thunderdome and The Hawk. As a matter of fact, Mom had a sign on her bedroom door that said Hawk's Nest. Believe me, the name fit. As a single parent with 7 kids, she really did have eyes like a hawk because she certainly knew whenever one of us kids was up to something.

Anyone who knew Molly also knew of her love of music. Mom would listen to anything from Mel Torme to ZZ Top and loved it all. As a matter of fact, she was once caught while visiting Peggy in Tumbler Ridge, listening, at full volume to Motley Crue by herself. She surprised and delighted her grandchildren by knowing all the current hits and artists. They were always amazed by the fact that they could ask her the name of the artist of a current song that they didn't know, and Grandma would. When Ray first started having musical aspirations, he started out drumming on the bottoms of banana boxes and Mom was the driving force behind him getting his first musical audition. She was always singing because she loved it, and we loved listening to her. She left a legacy of love and appreciation for music with each and every one of her children. I can still remember calling Mom on the phone to ask her how a song went so I could play it on the guitar. Near the end, when she was in the hospital, she would ask me to sing her favorite song until she fell asleep.

Mom had a sharp wit, she was strong-willed and gregarious. She had a lively and out-spoken sense of humour and she always spoke her mind. She never once gave up on her children and always gave her support during the many ups and downs of life. She loved us all unconditionally, but never held back the punches either. She said what needed to be said, even if at times it was the last thing you wanted to hear, but she also said those tender words during times when we needed encouragement and gave us laughter when laughter was the only thing that held us up. Mom's words were always spoken in true Molly fashion and we loved her for them. We went through good times and bad times with her by our sides. One of the most difficult times we shared was when her son and our brother Jim died at the age of 17. It was an overwhelming experience but Mom weathered it and kept the six of us and herself together. She truly was an amazing woman.

When she was younger, Mom had a way of walking, purposefully and with a spring in her step and to this day Dot can still remember the sound of Mom walking down the hall of the hospital to visit her. She always knew when Mom was just around the corner.

Mom was fastidious and neat. I'm sure Uncle Jim can still remember going to pick up Mom and waiting patiently for her to finish the dusting or stopping all the way to the car to pick up every leaf that had fallen on the sidewalk. But things changed a little with time, because Cheryl now remembers how when she went to pick up Mom, she would be waiting not too patiently outside the door, keys and purse in hand, ready to go. We all remember our turns at housework and yard work and how everyone was expected to do their share. With 7 kids in a single parent household, that was just the way it had to be. Everyone had to work to keep things running smoothly.

Mom loved family gatherings and I especially remember Sundays when Grandma and Grandpa came over to our house for the traditonal family favorite - spaghetti and meatballs. Sundays were always a great family night, with the whole family watching Disney World, Ed Sullivan and Front Page Challenge. Mom shared memories with us of her childhood and spoke often about the times when Grandma would bake dough-boys and cinnamon buns.

Mom started a career in nursing at the request of Grandpa but knew very quickly that it was not the life for her. She then attended Teachers College and started teaching. She gave up her career after her marriage and the children started coming. Ever the teacher, though, Mom faithfully proofread our homework and as a result we were always at the top of the class in spelling. Mom never could abide errors in spelling or grammar and would even edit our letters that we wrote.

Mom was a stickler for details and at times would drive us and our other halves crazy with questions. But that was Mom. She knew as much about Regina as any politician, she knew more about current world events than anyone I ever met and could always speak with intelligence about any topic and believe me, she could back up her opinions with facts. But she was a great listener as well and if someone had a different opinion, she always wanted to find out why. She faithfully followed the news, watched CNN and loved to watch Regis and Jay Leno for the lighter side.

She leaves us with so many memories of our visits to her in the house she lived in for 40 years, her visits to Tumbler Ridge, Prince Albert and Vancouver to see her children and grandchildren. She leaves us with memories of the times she was there to help us. She leaves us with the memory of lessons learned through love.

Mom's last wish was to see all of her children and against all odds she waited until that happened. For the first time in 34 years, all her children were gathered around her for what was to be the final week of her life. She waited for us and we came and we are so thankful to have had that time to share with her and each other. Above all, my Mother was strong. Close to the end Cheryl said to Mom, "I'm not as strong as you, I don't think I can handle this." Mom replied, "It's okay honey, you can reach me at H.E.A.V.E.N."

We are going to miss you so much, Mom. You are loved by your children and grandchildren and all those whose lives you touched. We know we can keep you close to us always in our hearts but we'll miss the calls and the visits. This is not goodbye, but see you later. You are free at last Mom, rest in peace.

Your loving family - Cheryl, Dorothy, Donna, Ray, Peggy and Judie

Mom and Earl - October 13, 2002

Mom in the 1960s at 914 Queen Street