My cousin sent me my aunt’s obituary shortly after the funeral. The monsignor had referenced it during the funeral mass, but I hadn’t read it. I asked if someone could make sure I got a copy.
I didn’t realize until I got ready to post it here with the thoughts that follow it that there was also a picture that went with it. My email program doesn’t always automatically open them.
SoI manually opened it and was shocked by the reaction I had to seeing my aunt’s smiling, vibrant face.
That was my Aunt Alice. Not the lady I’d paid my last respects to in her coffin. That version of my dear aunt looked fake and unreal, like a mannequin.
But the lady smiling in the picture was Alice E. Kotso. Known to some as “wife,” to others as “mom,” to their children as “grandma,” to her brother as “sister,” to others of us as “aunt,” to her husband’s side as an “in-law” (though many dropped that and just called her “sister” or “daughter”), to her longtime friend Irene as “BFF,” to many others as “friend.”
And here’s what was written about her:
It is with deep regret that we advise our Membership of the passing of Alice Kotso, dear wife of OFCC Member Joseph Kotso.
Alice E. Kotso (nee Mroch), age 75, of Munster passed away Saturday, July 24, 2010 at Northwest Memorial Prentice Women’s Hospital of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). She is survived by her loving husband, Joseph of 51 years, 5 months and 17 days; loving daughters: Kimberly and Katherine; loving son, Michael (Leticia) Kotso; nine grandchildren: William and Elizabeth Sears, Nicole Mammano, John-Paul, Teresa, Joseph, Mary Alice, Christopher, and Rebecca; one brother, Ralph Mroch of Denver, CO; several nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law, and sisters-in -law; and friend of 56 years, Irene Henry of Alexandria, VA, she was a college roommate and sorority sister. Preceded in death be her granddaughter, Claire-Marie Kotso.
She lived for the love of her family and especially her grandchildren taking them on trips to Europe and beyond for life experiences. Alice and her husband travelled to over 40 countries, most recently this past May travelling to Korea, China and Tibet. She was the owner of the former Hoosier Travel Agency.
Alice served as first district Vice-Chairman of the Indiana Republican State Central Committee in 1971-72. In 1984, in Dallas, TX, she was a delegate to the Republican National Convention when President Reagan declared the ‘84 convention “The Year of the Woman”. She was also in attendance at five additional national conventions with her husband.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 10:00 AM at St. Thomas More Church, Munster, IN with MSGR. Joseph Semanchik celebrating the mass.
Friends may call at the Burns-Kish Funeral Home, 8415 Calumet Ave., Munster on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 from 2:00-8:00 PM. Entombment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests any memorial contributions in her name be made to a Cancer Research Fund or Carmellite Fathers in Munster. www.burnskish.com
It’s a wonderful obituary. It covers the bases. Her family was always her first and foremost priority. She loved to travel. I do believe some of her happiest years was when she ran her travel agency.
But then there’s the stuff that’s left out.
For instance, I once remember her telling me a story about how Uncle Joe suggested she join some kind of women’s group. (I forget exactly what it was about.)
She did. She gave it a go. She said she lasted one meeting and never went back.
“I didn’t have time for all that nonsense. I saw right away the politics, back-biting, and other shenanigans. I don’t have time for that. I have a family to take care of.”
That sort of surprised me. After all, Joe was so involved in politics. It seemed there lives were one social occasion after another. I figured she’d want to be out there as much as possible making more connections for him.
Not so. She’d pitch in and help in limited ways, but she wasn’t going to head anything up on a permanent basis.
And as for friends, other than her very dear friend Irene, she didn’t really let people get close. She’d let them in a little, but not all the way.
Then there’s the other stuff. Like how she knew how to drive a truck (the moving truck/semi kind of truck, not just a regular ol’ truck). That was mentioned during her funeral mass.
Or her love of golf and the hole in one she made on a course in Palm Beach. She told me that story on our vacation to St. Lucia. Her eyes absolutely lit up with pride. (As well they should have. She’s the only person I’ve ever known personally to make a hole in one!)
Or how, when I once asked her of all the places she’d been, where was her favorite and the one she couldn’t wait to get back to, she responded by stating her home address.
“I love to see the world, but there truly is no place in it like home.”
And her obit certainly doesn’t convey the grace, sass, warmth, wit, style, and elegance she had. Or the way people just couldn’t help smiling and laughing when they were around her. She had that certain kind of magic to just lift people up.
But that picture finally made it hit home she’s gone. I’ll never get to be in my aunt’s enchanting presence ever again. None of that had hit me quite like it had until today seeing her picture
Aunt Alice, thank you so much for all of the love and memories you’ve tucked in my heart. I am missing you so much.