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Friday, 20 September 2013


By Nancy Leitz

Just in case you have wondered where I have been recently, I want to let you know that my beloved husband, Roy, passed away on May 1st after being ill since Thanksgiving Day 2012.

We had gone to Connecticut to spend the holiday with son Jerry and his wife Holly and son, Quentin. It is a four hour drive and we usually stopped for a rest and a light lunch at the friendly's restaurant in Suffern, New York. This day, as usual, we stopped and shared a sandwich and continued on to New Milford.

Roy was feeling perfectly well and was looking forward to seeing Jerry and family for the nice big turkey dinner we knew Holly was preparing. We were also in a festive mood because our other grandson, Andrew, who is now living in Brooklyn was also coming to be with us on Thanksgiving.

Holly was looking for us as we arrived and after many hugs and kisses all around we settled down to a quiet afternoon.

Roy had invited everyone to go out to dinner at the Hearth restaurant because he did not want Holly to have to cook another dinner before cooking the turkey the next day. There were seven of us for dinner that night and no two people had the same meal.

On the way home Roy got violently ill and was very sick at his stomach. We thought it would pass and went to bed for the night but he just felt worse in the morning. By that time we all had diagnosed him with a slight case of food poisoning because none of the rest of us who had eaten at the restaurant had the same meal that he had ordered.

We picked up Andrew at the train station the following morning and he was such a welcome sight we all thought Roy would feel better when he saw him. But that was not the case.

We muddled through a delicious dinner but Roy ate not a bite. We were supposed to stay through the weekend but he was so sick I decided it was best to drive him home to his own doctor as soon as possible.

His doctor also thought it was food poisoning and sent him home to rest and let it clear. But he felt even worse later that day so I took him to Einstein Medical center which is our local hospital.

There he was diagnosed with an obstructed bowel. He was operated on immediately and from that minute on he was never the same. He seemed to be getting better but fell and fractured five ribs, then had to go to a rehab center (read: nursing home) which was not the place for him and I took him home as soon as they would release him.

It was all downhill from there. By the time he died in May, he had an ostomy, an iliostomy, was being fed through a PEG tube and was generally miserable. Toward the end he was unable to speak and that was the sad part because everyone loved hearing his stories.

Someone would ask him about something that he would ordinarily have a long story for and he would just look at me with sad eyes because he couldn't speak and I would ask, "Do you want me to tell them?"

He would nod and I would say what Roy would have said if he could. We had been together for 67 years (married for 63 years) so I knew all the stories. In fact, my kids call me the human juke box. They said that I should have buttons across my chest and someone could push #45 and get the AT&T Building story or #12 would be the Barrett Tar paper story, etc.

Roy would not want to be remembered for his last illness. He would rather we smile when we think of him because he tried so hard to make everyone happy - and he did!

He had the most wonderful disposition and was always agreeable and funny - really funny. Laughter at short notice was his specialty. I don't know how he did it but he could say the most humorous things in almost any situation.

No matter where we went, everyone wanted to sit near him because they knew he would have them laughing all evening.

I have already told you about his Walter Mitty stories of driving in the snow and some of you know some of his "wooden leg" stories. He had lost his right leg to diabetes in 2004 and it didn't slow him down a minute in the humor department. In fact, it gave him more things to joke about.

We went to California in 2006 to see the Pasadena parade and while there decided to go to the Crystal Cathedral to see their Christmas Pageant. Roy was seated on the main aisle and I was next to him.

The usher came down and was cautioning everyone to keep their feet out of the aisle because the live animals who were part of the extravaganza would be coming in that way. He came back again and was further making people move away from the aisle.

He stopped at Roy and said, "Keep your feet in, sir, the camels are coming in this way and they can be very mean."

Roy did not miss a beat. He pulled up his pant leg, tapped on his artificial leg and said, "I know, I was here last year."

So we all miss him and the fun and stability he brought to me and our children. He was a wonderful husband, father, uncle and all around good guy who always worked hard and made us feel secure in the knowledge that he was here for us and we could rely on him for almost anything. Especially a smile.

We had a memorial service for him and all four of our children spoke so fondly of their dad, telling about 100 guests various stories of their relationship with him and how he guided them in their formative years to do the right thing and always be kind and honest.

They told all the funny things he had said to them in different situations so there was quite a bit of laughter mixed with all the tears.

In August, we had a family gathering at the cottage Roy loved so much. We had a beautiful park bench made with his name on a bronze plaque which we placed under a lovely old tree facing the water so people can sit on the bench and watch the children play in the water and the little canoes go by.

The children placed his ashes around the base of the tree and then we all did what we always have done at the cottage over the past 60 years; we opened the bar and lifted our glasses high to the guy who built it and kept it in beautiful condition for all of us to use and enjoy and think of him when we do.

Here's to you, Roy!

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:20 AM | Permalink | Email this post


A lovely tribute to a lovely man. How lucky you were to have him for so many years! Thank you for sharing this with us.

The two of you were meant for each other. You shared a sense of humor unmatched and brought so many smiles to all of us. You will never stop missing him but you will always have those buttons for all of us to push in order to hear a special tale. It sure would have been great to see that usher's facial expression at the Christmas Pageant when Roy bared his artificial leg:) Love you Nancy.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Oh Nancy...what wonderful memories you will always have of Roy. Your life together was special...not everyone can say that. Here's to Roy...and here's to you sweet friend. ~Joy xo

Nancy, Roy's stories are safe with you, as are his memories since the two of you created so many together. You and your family are tributes to him, and he never had to guess how much you all loved him. How satisfying and wonderful that all of you can know that. Thank you for sharing your dear Roy with us all.

Beautiful tribute for a life well lived...nice to start t he day with...

My sincere condolences & prayers to you & your family, Nancy!!! I've always loved your 'Roy' stories.

A wonderful story of a terrific man (and his wife). You always tell the best stories, Nancy...you must have learned it from Roy. I am sorry you lost him in such a manner; sorry that he suffered and lost the ability to talk. Knowing how he was, that must have hurt him worse than anything else. Now he is at peace, and I hope you can rely on your good memories to sustain you. You had a good life together.

What a lovely tribute to a life of joy.

Nancy - Wonderful tribute to a wonderful man, who we have all gotten to know through your wonderful stories. - Sandy

Nancy, What a wonderful tribute to your beloved Roy. Sixty seven years together of story & memory making, will stand to you in the dark days of winter. I laughed at the wooden leg story Jack had a war injury to his left leg from his days in Burma, he too liked an aisle seat. He often referred to it as his 'wooden' leg.

Nancy, we were so fortunate to know and love good men. Blessings and Hugs.

Lyn: Yes, Lyn, I was lucky to have Roy for so many happy years. Thanks for your nice comment.

Annie: Thanks for your kind words, Annie. I know that you just lost your wonderful husband, Ron,and I am sending the same love and condolences back to you.

Joy: You always wrote such touching words about your husband, Joel, and how much you missed him.
I thought I knew then how you felt when you lost him, but now I really know how that loss felt. Thanks for writing.

Nance: Thank you, Nance. You always know just what to say.As far as sharing Roy, it is very easy because he had such a big personality there is a whole lot to go around.

Mary: Thank you, Mary. I appreciate your kind words and,yes, it is a nice way to start the day; telling the World how much someone has meant to you.

Kay: Thanks, Kay. I always enjoyed your comments when I wrote "Roy" stories and I appreciate your thoughts today.

I am so sorry for your loss but it sounds as though those wonderful times with Roy will forever be remembered by you, your family and your friends. Cling to them, as I know you will.


Your lovely story of your life with Roy brought to mind this quote from May Sarton:

I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seeds every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. It is the tree’s way of being. Strongly rooted, perhaps, but spilling out its treasures on the winds.

Dear Nancy I relate so much to what you have written.
You had more years than I did with a wonderful man
but we were both blessed.
It is heart-breaking to see our loved ones gradually fade and in the end I think we have to be thankful that the process didn't continue.
As long as was we live they will be in our hearts and I pray we will be reunited one day. God bless.

Lyn: Yes, Lyn, I was very lucky to have Roy for so many happy years.

Annie: Thanks for your kind words, Annie. I know that you just lost your wonderful husband, Ron, and I am sending the same love and condolences back to you.

Joy: You always wrote such touching words about your husband, Joel,and how much you missed him. I thought I knew then how you felt when you lost him but now I really can identify with you.

Nance: Thank you, Nance. You always know just what to say. As far as sharing Roy with all of you,I want you to know that that was very easy because he had such a big personality, there was a lot to go around.

Mary: Thank you, Mary I appreciate your kind words. Yes,it is a nice way to start the day; telling the World how much someone has meant to you.

Kay: Thanks, Kay, I always enjoyed your comments when I told one of my "Roy" stories. You always seemed to enjoy them.

Judy:Yes, it was very difficult for Roy toward the end when he could no longer speak, but all of us had enjoyed his stories for so many years we knew almost exactly what he wanted to say and were more than happy to say it for him.


How nice of you to be able to recognize what a "Life of joy" Roy had just by reading this post about him. How great is that?


I remember once when I showed Roy one of your comments to my story about the motorhome catching fire on the highway.

He laughed so hard at your remark about us going into a campground and having to set up our folding chairs with a cardboard "Nancy and Roy"sign propped up on the chair
so everyone would know who we were.

We both agreed that the Motel 6 would have been better.

GM:Roy and Jack were very much alike in their ability to take a serious disability like the loss of a limb and turn it into something to make others smile.

When we drove anywhere, the first thing Roy did was take off his leg and put it in the back seat. When we stopped for any reason it was my job to walk around the car and retrieve the leg and take it to him in the driver's seat.

If you could have seen some of the looks I got walking around the car with a man's leg with a shoe and sock on it.But I always just gave them a big smile so they knew it was all right to comment and we ended up some really great conversations about it.

Thanks for writing....

Jackie: Yes, I will always remember the wonderful times we had during the many years we were married.

All of my stories are in print and my children have a great time reading them and reminiscing about Dad and the good old days.

Nancy, this is a wonderful piece about a very special man, and you. Take care of yourself.

What a blessing to have so many tender, loving reminders of your husband and of his great humor. May you find joy in all these memories for as long as you live.

I am so sorry for your loss and I know how tough it is to grasp that he is really not there to tell those stories. Thank goodness you have the family and the many memories. Roy's sounds like a life well lived.

Deb: Thank you for the lovely quote from May Sarton. It is a beautiful sentiment and I have copied it down to remember it.

This is the sentiment that I had printed on Roy's memorial Card.

"I'd like the memory of
me to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
of happy times and laughing
times and bright
and sunny days.
I'd like tears of those who grieve,
to dry before the Sun
of happy memories that I leave
When my life is done.

Pat: Yes, Pat, I was lucky to have so many years with Roy, but the years you spent with your loving husband made up in quality what you lost in quantity.

Marcy: Thanks so much for your kind comment. I will soon be back with you and the others ESP friends, reading each other's stories.

Johna: Yes, I was blessed. Roy made me smile almost every day we spent together,
except the day I made the spaghetti sauce and put it in the fridge for later, I told him to be very careful when he opened the door, but he forget to do that and the sauce went all over our ceramic tile floors with the peach colored grout.
I was furious!

We began to mop it up and he was so contrite and apologetic, I started to feel sorry for him and had to think of a way to break the ice and be friends again. So, I looked at him, scratched my head and said,"A fine mess you got us into ,Ollie." That did it. We both laughed and the tension was over.

Everything was fine except for the peach grout which was now red and had to be regrouted.

Olga: Yes, it was the worst part of Roy's illness that he couldn't speak at the end. It was so frustrating for him because he was still thinking very clearly.

Thanks for your nice comment.

Yes, I often wondered where you were and had no one to ask. So sorry for what took you away, but glad to hear from you just the same.

Oh to live is such a way that when mentioned people will have honorable things to say. I speak an Amen to the much that has been said before me and I embrace you with loving empathy we all understand in the passing of a loved one.

I press C7. :-)We love to hear the life stories that touch and enrich us. Thanks for sharing even this one.

Thanks so much for writing this wonderful story.
I missed seeing it on the day you wrote but am so glad I decided to look back.
You write so well and I hope you'll continue.

Herm: I am so happy to hear from you.Your comment meant a lot to me.

I always enjoy the stories you write about Lonnie and hope we all continue to share our lives with each other for a long time to come.

Claire Jean:

I am glad you went back to the ESP again and found my story about Roy.

I always enjoy your stories,too, and the nice comments you write to mine.


You've inspired me as to how to handle my post-death wish. A park bench! Under a tree! Wonderful! Thank you so very much.

Yes, Arlene. Everyone loves the park bench.

Our cottage is white with a Colonial blue trim so we had the oak bench painted the same blue and the bronze plaque that is attached says.

Forever in our Hearts
He loved this place

Thank you for writing.

Nancy, I came over here from Nance's blog. I was so sorry to hear about your loss - but my goodness what fabulous memories you have! Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

The Bug:

Hello..It was nice of you to take the time to read my story and post such a nice comment.

See you at Nance's....

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