Words of Remembrance


The Memorial Service for Lillian Robben Bulkley was held at the Dixon Community Church, 2:00 PM on Friday April 4. Reverend Wes Nordman conducted the service with scripture reading by Lay Minister Lloyd Ash.

The Hymn of Praise was Amazing Grace and the scripture readings Psalm 23 and John 14:1-6, 25-27. A solo, In the Garden, was sung by Amanda Quiggens and the service closed with the Hymn Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. About 100 people attended the service.

After the service a reception was held at the family home at 750 Collier Drive.

Given at the Memorial Service by Frank Robben

    I am pleased to see all of you here. My mother enjoyed a good time, enjoyed living and having fun with her friends, enjoyed joking, and she is honored by your recognition of her passing by this ceremonial event, this Memorial Service, conducted in this Community Church which provided one of the pillars of life for her.

    I have written a short summary of her life and you should each have received a copy. I would appreciate it if you would take additional copies to give to others who may be interested in the life of my mother and were not able to come to this service. Writing this is my way of acknowledging her life, her value, her qualities and to pass on a bit of this to the people who knew her. If we run out of copies more will be available later here at the church.

    My mother was very social, she loved parties, and she was part Irish. We have planned a celebration to honor her after this service at the home where she and lrvin lived, 750 Collier Drive, very near here. I do hope to see all of you there, it is an opportunity to socialize a bit with each other, and my mother would be honored by that.

    lrvin, Mom's husband, is here in a wheelchair in the back. He is in a convalescent center in Davis, I gather recovering from another hip operation and is doing fairly well. However, his memory is not good and he can get confused. He and my mother were married for almost 17 years. They were very social, traveled extensively and shared joy and happiness in this latter part of their lives. lrvin Bulkley is a wonderful person and I am most grateful that he courted and married my mother and brought a new life for them both.

    My mother was not simple even though she was a coal miner's daughter. In some ways she brought a breath of fresh air to the space and people around her, she was fun, and entertaining, and energetic. She was a good mother and I had a wonderful childhood. In later life she could at times be quixotic, her feelings could be easily hurt, from my point of view she could be rather narrow in her outlook, and she could be spiteful. She had strong feelings about many things and could at times be a bit difficult. None of this, however, detracted from her wonderful qualities, she loved her sons, and I loved her. In these last years I would call her every day, and although we generally chatted about unimportant things I will miss her.

    I am sorry that my brother Conreux is not here. Unfortunately personal difficulties have developed. I do not know what to say, but I guess I wish that he would accept life, and death, and the things around us, as they are. I know that he loved his mother, and personally I wish him the best.

    I would like to acknowledge several people who helped make my mother's life better in these last years. First is Debi Oxford, who came two years ago as a caregiver, and formed a close, personal relationship with Mom. Personality wise, they clicked, and Debi really brought joy to my mother's life and saw her through difficult times. She understood Mom. Further, her husband Gene became a buddy of Mom's, they listened to music and attended rock concerts together. Debi and Gene, would you please stand up?

    My niece Rue Robben, who was always willing to help in times of difficulty, who loved her grandmother, and who helped way beyond the call of duty. Unfortunately Rue was not able to be here this afternoon, but she was at Mom’s burial two days ago.

    My nephew Tristan Robben helped enormously at various times, he would stay with Mom continuously when she was sick, in the hospital and at home. He loved his grandmother dearly, and I am sorry that he is not able to be here today.

    Margaret Schroeder was our nearest neighbor when we lived on the farm and she has been a dear and faithful friend to Mom. Margaret is a wonderful person, all of you who have her as a friend are blessed. Margaret, would you stand?

    Toni Faith has been a good friend of Mom's and has gone out of her way on numerous occasions to help, to make things better for Mom. Thank you so much, Toni. Will you stand?

    Susan Ash, Irvin’s niece, I thank you for your kindnesses to my mother, for your respect and admiration for her virtues, for the time you have spent with her. Would you stand?

    Adrian Quyn, my stepson, took care of Mom at various times, formed a good friendship with her and understood her ways and personality. Adrian, would you stand?

    Xanthe Avdalas was lrvin's and Mom's next door neighbor for a number of years. She is a very open, kindhearted lady and both her and her husband formed a close friendship with both Irvin and Mom. Xanthe, Mom valued your friendship and support - would you stand?

    Mom was a very independent person who would fight vigorously for her rights, for respect for herself. In some ways she was a forerunner of the present emancipation of women, for more complete equality with men. For those qualities a number of her friends, younger women, admired her spunk and wit. A few that I know of are here today.

    Liz Robben admired Mom’s independence and spunk, helped Mom in numerous ways and added to the quality of her life. I remember Liz saying to me, "Your mother is a lady who will not be stepped on without a fight".

    My friend Maria Murphy also admired Mom's independence and spunk. Maria, would you stand?

    Please excuse me for leaving out others who have been good friends of my mother; my memory is not so good, and I get a bit confused as well. I hope that those of you who may have small anecdotes to share, who have good memories of my mother, may be able to get up and say a few words. Do not be shy - and my mother would appreciate it.

    The following thoughts came to me this morning. They seem appropriate, they express what I think.

    My mother has gone to her rest, her soul has played out her role in this world. It is God's will as to why we are here, where we are going. We are driven to search, often relentlessly, for God's meaning. Many prophets claim to have found the answer - if it were a true answer all would agree, and that does not seem to be the case.

    To me, some things are clear. We are each driven to play out a role on this earth - in this universe. This is true for all creatures, all living things, true even for the inanimate processes of this earth, this galaxy, this universe. As a result everything is continuously changing, for our species of human beings, for all living things, for everything in the universe, organic and inorganic. Life is neither static nor cyclical. On the scale of our lifetime these changes are generally infinitesimal, as on the scale of God's plan our lifetimes are but a flash. More importantly, as we now know, things move forward, more and more complex living organisms, inanimate objects, evolve and develop.

    It is thus clear that this is God's will, that it is God's will that more complex creatures, more complex inanimate objects, yes, that everything we see, and know, will inexorably move to a state of greater complexity, greater knowledge, greater quality, and that our role, our personal role, the role of everything in the universe, whether we like it or not, whether we agree, morally or in any way, or not, is to further this process of change, this development of more highly developed and complex structures. And we each do play out our role.

    My mother has played her role. Her contribution will continue as a result of her actions in this world. She, like all of us, brought unique qualities to life, and left some of them with the rest of us. They will live on. May we honor and treasure all that she was, and in turn all that we are.

    In God's name, Amen

Reminiscences given at the Memorial Service

Given by Lloyd Ash for Debi Oxford:

    I have had the honor of spending the last 2 1/2 years with my dear friend, Lillian. When I started working for Lillian and lrvin it was just a job, but as time went on I realized this was not like any other job. I knew there was something very special about Lillian the first time I met her. She was on her way to a Doctor’s appointment with another caregiver when we were introduced. She stopped to shake my hand on her way out the door and said "Oh no, not another one! I don’t think I can handle another person!" I took her hand and said, "I promise I won’t leave you". She looked at me, smiled and said, "I think you'll do just fine". I knew she wasn’t the kind of person to let just anyone into her world and I was so grateful that she had chosen me to be one of those special people.
    Over the past two years there have been many life changes and heartaches she has had to endure. She was partially at the mercy of other people for she could no longer have complete control of her life. But through all of these changes, the highs and the lows, she just kept moving forward looking for the next adventure life had to offer. I don’t think I have ever met such a strong and passionate person. And through these times she has been my teacher for I have watched her and learned how to overcome so many of life’s large challenges, that she herself had to endure, with awe. Many times I would look at her and see this Absolutely Beautiful Woman, so frail and yet so strong, so wise, yet so vulnerable, so demanding but so patient, and all with so much love to give. How could you not love and admire such a person. I could not believe how fortunate I was to have such a friend. In the past two years we have driven thousands of miles together, listened to a lot of music (she would be willing to hear any style of music), have had many heart-to-heart talks, have cried and laughed together. Lillian has been my friend, my teacher, my Pal.

    Through Lillian I have met some wonderful people. Her friends. I feel very fortunate to have had this precious time with her. 

    My Dear, wonderful Lillian, you will be Greatly Missed........I Love You

Lloyd Ash:

    I want to make just a comment about Lillian. Fifty-six years ago I began the third grade here and a little boy sitting in front of me was a little blonde kid named Conreux Robben. Well, Conreux and I soon became fast friends, and it was through him that I met Lillian. Over the years, as I grew up, I lost track of Conreux, but I always kept in touch with Lillian. I would see her once a year at church when the Rebeccas, I believe, would come and attend church service at the Methodist Church.

    Life is somewhat strange in a small town. Some years later I met Lillian and I said, “Mrs. Robben, how are you?” She replied, “I am not Mrs. Robben anymore, I am Mrs. Bulkley. Irvin Bulkley and I were married.” Some years later, ironically, I became Lillian’s nephew, through marriage, because I married Irvin’s niece. Small towns.

    Lillian was always very supportive of me, when she said, “How are you, Lloyd” I felt she always really meant, she really cared, how I was. When I decided to go into the ministry she was one of my staunchest supporters. In fact, she bought for me my first pulpit robe. Now every Sunday when I stand in the pulpit a part of Lillian stands there with me. Its been said, and I think it is very true, that in a small community all lives touch other lives, and I am so thankful that this woman’s life touched mine. May God give her Grace, and may God give her rest.

Bill Trampleasure:

    I want to read a poem I wrote many years ago, occasioned by the death on the second day of a newborn baby, born to friends of mine.
There is mystery in life, and the mythterys that we grow
can only go so far to set our dark aglow.
But the candle born in me, and the candle born in you,
may be just the touch that is needed to torch some pilgrim’s view.
Go and glow, touch and torch.

There is mystery in life, and our time from birth to death,
is a vulnerable variable hanging on each and every breath.
But the stillborn child’s silence and the Centenarians last gasp
are both righteous, beautiful truths God alone can truly grasp.
Go and glow, touch and torch.

There is mystery in life. Tears of joy join sorrow’s tears,
and our faith is sorely tested by our pains, our doubts, our fears.
But nothing, nothing, now, or later, nothing, great or small,
can separate us eternally from God’s love surrounding all.

Go and glow, touch and torch.

Joanne Jacobs:

    I played bridge with Lillian for 20 years, and she always played to win.

Liz Robben:

    Liz describes a trip about 8 years ago to Mexico, to Ensenada, with Lillian, Irvin and another friend to visit Frank who was fixing his boat in Ensenada. She continues:

    “and she had warned me that whenever you go anywhere with Frank and Cynthia it is an adventure, that you are going to see a lot and enjoy it, she had been on many trips with Frank and they were always wonderful. We had a wonderful time, ate raw fish, and my friend and I we would hot-tub, and Lillian had forgotten her bathing suit.

    “We went to buy her one, but, well, we really didn’t find one. So Lillian says, ‘You know, if you will loan me your bathing suit I’ll get in with you. I said, “Well, what will I wear?” She goes, “Well, just loan me your bathing suit.” Well, as it turned out I just wore clothes, she wore my bathing suit, in the hot tub. Now this was just 8 years ago!

    “But I think the biggest thing that I learned from Lillian in our many conversations, and friendship, was if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything, and a stand is worth, well, a stand.”

Bev Crosby, formerly Bev Anderson:

    Aunt Lillian, I always call her Aunt Lillian, was like a second mother to me. I don’t think we missed a Thanksgiving dinner in all the years in Dixon that I knew her, and she was just wonderful, wonderful, a wonderful person. I was very honored to have her as a family member.

Home Up Memoriam To My Mother Reminiscences Given at the Service Obituary Life Summary