Eulogy to Barbara Brobst McCurley - Kay's Family History and Genealogy

Kay's Family History and Genealogy

Eulogy to Barbara Brobst McCurley
Cortland, Ohio, October 13, 1990

On behalf of the families of Marcea and Kathy, I would like to thank you for being with us today.

I'm Bill Brobst, nephew of Barbara Faith Brobst McCurley. First a little history. Barbara was the daughter of Martin Brobst and Ella Bensing, the sixth of their 15 children. She was born in Defiance County in northwestern Ohio in 1899. When she was 10, the growing Brobst family settled on the Brobst farm in Johnston Township on Route 5. She has lived in the Cortland area ever since.

I'm sad but glad to be with all of you to tell you what a remarkable person my aunt Barbara was and how she will continue to be an inspiration to me and her brother and sisters, nieces and nephews, daughters, grand and great grandchildren and her many friends. Her kindness, her gentleness, her beliefs, her warm smile, her marvelous laugh and her love of life will long be remembered by all of us.

I feel half-qualified to offer these words of praise because I knew my aunt Barbara for only half her life. I was born when Barbara was about 46. I never knew her in the early years the way her brothers and sisters did, as her students did nor as many of you did as friends. But her attitude toward everyone, which I'm sure her mother and father taught her, was "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

My first memories of her were as she was driving around in one of those big cars we rarely see today. I didn't understand then how anyone so little could handle one of those big Buicks, cavernous Cadillacs or luxurious Lincolns she drove. But now I realize she did not look upon these cars as big. They were simply opportunities for great social gatherings which she loved so much.

For these cars transported her, her daughters, her sisters and any others who wanted to come along for the ride. And oh what a ride it was! With jokes, songs, stories, giggling much laughter and one or more sisters yelling--ever so politely--to be heard. Trips throughout Trumbull County, around the Buckeye State and all over this big beautiful country that she never tired of exploring. The ride could be to the Hartville flea market near Ravenna or to Mexico. It didn't matter where, because you knew you would have fun no matter what the destination.

The next recollection of Barbara was at the McCurley home in Mecca in the early 50's, where the extended Brobst family-- remember Barbara had 14 sisters and brothers--would gather, invited by Barbara, on New Year's Day to watch the Rose Bowl parade in living color on one of those rare early color TV sets. Of course, we would have a great time seeing relatives--meeting some we didn't even know we had--and eating delicious food. But color TV was the marvel that Barbara and Carleton shared with us.

Now that doesn't probably sound very rad or awesome to today's generation, but those color pictures were really neat--a highlight of the year to me and many in that family who wouldn't have a color TV for several years. And Barbara shared it with all of us just as she did with so much else in her life.

It's this kindness and generosity that was our Barbara. And it included our Fourth of July celebrations we all enjoyed at Lake Erie thanks to Barbara. Each year Barbara and her family would open their large cottage to those same 14 brothers and sisters and their families and assorted friends for a great time of swimming, food, fun and most of all games.

Not your average run of the mill board games. There were stars through a coat sleeve; blindfolded dueling with rolled up newspapers; what's under the blanket and many others all affectionately run by Barbara and her sisters. And those of you who know Barbara can see her joining in the fun, but also consoling those eight and nine year olds who were near tears and almost drowned after looking up at the stars, or others who were generally being embarrassed beyond their wildest dreams.

Mixed in with all of this warmth was a physical toughness--a true love of life--that was amazing, especially in these recent few years. Despite her small size, I compare my aunt Barbara to a huge hard maple tree we had in our woods on Route 46 near the Howland cemetery.

Both the tree and Barbara cradled me in their arms along the way. Barbara, like that maple, had a constitution that wouldn't quit, and Barbara, like that magnificent tree, offered a special sustenance. The maple's was the clear liquid that my brothers gathered each March and boiled down into syrup and candy. Barbara offered nourishment for the soul that was just as sweet. It was kindness, generosity and caring that continues to sustain us.

That big maple never died. In my mind it never will. Barbara has not passed away. She is here among us still. And the memories of how much she cared for us, the countless things she lovingly did for us, will stay with us--forever.

This page was last updated on: , Copyright© 1998-2013
by Kay Starr Schaney