A Memorial Tribute to My Mother

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In Memoriam

Pauline Ann Waggoner

October 16, 1928 – January 26, 2012

Pauline "Polly" Waggoner

Pauline Ann (Polly) Waggoner, a native of Boise, Idaho, beloved mother, grandmother and friend, died on January 26, 2012.

Mom with Her Parents, Carl and Lucile Vocu. Photo taken about 1929.

Mom was born on October 16, 1928 to Carl and Lucile Vocu, and lived in Boise most of her life. She met her life-long love, Earl, at Boise High School. After graduating in 1946, she High School Graduation, 1946attended the former Boise Junior College. On September 21, 1947, she married J. Earl Waggoner. In those early years, she worked for the Retail Credit Union Company in Boise and then also in San Francisco while dad attended mortuary college. He graduated in 1952 and they returned to Boise. They lived briefly in Twin Falls, Idaho. After they returned to Boise, dad went to work for McBratney-Alden Funeral Chapel, which later became Alden-Waggoner.

Polly and Earl, Married 21 September, 1947.

They were baptized together in 1956 at the former Boise First Christian Church, now University Christian Church. They remained active members until their deaths, dad having passed away on August 14, 2006.

Mom and dad had three children: David, Scott and Beth Ann.  She also has four grandchildren, with a fifth on the way.  It breaks our hearts that that child will never have the chance to know mom in person.

The Waggoners, Easter, Probably 1966.

When we were growing up, mom was a homemaker, but after dad had a heart attack, she went to work with him in 1967 where she served as the Chapel’s office manager and bookkeeper. Both of our parents were very service-oriented.  Her interest in giving back to the community led to volunteering for many years on the Idaho State Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Advisory Board. She worked alongside dad at the chapel until her retirement in 1990.

Polly & Earl at the Funeral Chapel, 1973

During our elementary school years, mom volunteered at church, our school and in the community. She was past president of the Franklin Elementary School P.T.A. and Boise Jay-C-Ettes. She worked with Cub and Boy Scouts while dad was pack leader, as well as a church youth sponsor and chaperone for choir trips. Later on, she also served as a Deaconess, Church Clerk, Membership Department Chair and more recently, part of the Welcome Committee.

One of mom’s life’s joys was her Birthday Club, which started in 1961.  This group of ten women, since then, have held a monthly lunch-time gathering sharing their birthdays. It was one of the most important activities in her life and she rarely missed meeting with them. This loyalty was so typical of her personality and we see it as a tribute to the value of life-long relationships.

Mom and Beth on the Great Wall of China.

Mom and dad loved to travel, especially road trips. They regularly drove to California, Utah, and Oregon to see relatives, and from those visits we have a lifetime of cherished family memories (and nearly as many pictures–Mom and her camera were rarely separated).   On her first international adventure she flew to China while Beth was teaching English at a university in Shanghai.  It was a dream come true; she had wanted to

Mom & David Mazatlan, 2008

visit China all of her life. Scott, and his wife, Brenda, accompanied her on that expedition. Her second big international trip was a cruise to the Mexican Riviera to celebrate her 80th birthday.  The cruise’s staff gave her a delightfully special birthday party. David, his wife, Lorette, and granddaughter, Bethany, sponsored that trip.

Polly, With Her Ubiquitous FILM Camera, in Mazatlan, 2008.

Once dad retired, they took advantage of their new-found freedom. They bought a 5thwheel RV and and hit the road.  No short day-trips for them! Over several years of three-month-long treks, they visited every state in the continental US as well as several provinces in Canada, documented in mom’s extensive photo albums.  It would be remiss not to note that mom firmly resisted making the transition to digital photography.  She liked film, and had a fairly good eye for getting nice shots (We have been bemused over the fact mom passed away and Kodak declared bankruptcy within a month of each other). During the winter, mom and dad escaped the cold and sometimes harsh climate in Boise at a sunny and warm RV park in Cathedral City, California.

Mom and Scott at the Mariners' Stadium in Seattle

Besides traveling, mom was a voracious reader and sports fan.  It has been an ongoing joke in the family that while some people read books, she consumed them.  It was nothing for her to read three books a week, and that is perhaps a conservative estimate.  Do the math on that for over 70 years!  She also loved sports, although there was not an athletic bone in her petite frame.  Some of the earliest memories Scott and David have is her watching Monday night boxing announced by the inimitable sportscaster, Howard Cosell. Later, her sports interests shifted to football, baseball and golf. This was not idle time for her, however.  She could multitask with ease.  While watching the games she would knit, tat, or make one of dozens of afghans using the Swedish weaving method, which then she gave away.

Mom’s death closes a chapter on an amazing life that touched countless others across many decades.  She was a lady in the truest sense: gracious, gentle and patient. As a friend, she offered commitment and caring to essentially all of those she encountered. (She was aptly suited for that Church Welcome Committee!).  We, her children, find it easy to sing her praises and can’t imagine a better mother – and her grandchildren join in the song.

It is as a wife, however, that mom shone brightest and in that light we can learn from her on so many levels.  Don’t, however, think she was anything close to “the little woman.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  She had a mind of her own and occasionally asserted what she called her “Bohemian stubborn streak.” (The Vocu family came to the United States from what was then Bohemia–now The Czech Republic–in the 1880s).

Polly & Earl...Really. About 1947.

Mom and dad, though, were a complete package when it came to their marriage.  To put it simply, they were crazy in love with each other for all 59 years they had together.  Through the storms of life, trials and triumphs, years of dad’s heart troubles, her own battle with breast cancer, and wherever the road might take them, their love remained strong and true.  On every anniversary or birthday, they signed cards to each other, “all my h.b.s.” (heart, body and soul).  Without question, her life and marriage stands as a testament to the epitome of what married life can be and model to all of us of what unwavering love can be–in all of our relationships.

Thanks, Polly—mother, grandmother, and friend—for  showing it is possible. We love you and miss you.

David, Scott, Beth Ann, and the rest of the Waggoner Clan.

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In Memoriam

This post was adapted from Polly’s obituary published in the Idaho Statesman.

In Memoriam: Phoenix Lander, Discoverer of Water on Mars

Phoenix Mars Lander. Artist's Conception. Image: LibraryTechie.com

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The Tool that Made History:

The Robotic Arm (RA) is 2.35 meters (just under 8 ft) long with an elbow joint in the middle, allowing the arm to trench about 0.5m (1.6ft) below the martian surface, deep enough to where scientists believe the water-ice soil interface lies. At the end of the RA is a scoop for digging and acquiring loose soil. On the bottom side of scoop is a scraping blade for scraping hard icy soil and protruding from the backside of the scoop is a circular rasp used for acquiring icy-soil samples by pulverizing the icy soil and ejecting it into the back of the scoop for delivery to TEGA. Citation: http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/science_ra.php:

Phoenix Mars Lander Robotic Arm. Photo: JPL/NASA

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Trenches with Proof of Water Ice:

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Phoenix Lander Images--Proof of Disappearing Water Ice. Photo: JPL/NASA

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Mission’s End: Mars Has Given Up its Most Precious Secret…To Date:

The JPL Press Release, 24 May 2010: PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander has ended operations after repeated attempts to contact the spacecraft were unsuccessful. A new image transmitted by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows signs of severe ice damage to the lander’s solar panels.

“The Phoenix spacecraft succeeded in its investigations and exceeded its planned lifetime,” said Fuk Li, manager of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Although its work is finished, analysis of information from Phoenix’s science activities will continue for some time to come.”

Last week, NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter flew over the Phoenix landing site 61 times during a final attempt to communicate with the lander. No transmission from the lander was detected. Phoenix also did not communicate during 150 flights in three earlier listening campaigns this year.

Phoenix Mars Lander. Photo from Orbit Confirming Irreparable Damage to the Lander. Photo: JPL/NASA

Earth-based research continues on discoveries Phoenix made during summer conditions at the far-northern site where it landed May 25, 2008. The solar-powered lander completed its three-month mission and kept working until sunlight waned two months later.

Phoenix was not designed to survive the dark, cold, icy winter. However, the slim possibility Phoenix survived could not be eliminated without listening for the lander after abundant sunshine returned.

An image of Phoenix taken this month by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests the lander no longer casts shadows the way it did during its working lifetime.

“Before and after images are dramatically different,” said Michael Mellon of the University of Colorado in Boulder, a science team member for both Phoenix and HiRISE. “The lander looks smaller, and only a portion of the difference can be explained by accumulation of dust on the lander, which makes its surfaces less distinguishable from surrounding ground.”

Apparent changes in the shadows cast by the lander are consistent with predictions of how Phoenix could be damaged by harsh winter conditions. It was anticipated that the weight of a carbon-dioxide ice buildup could bend or break the lander’s solar panels. Mellon calculated hundreds of pounds of ice probably coated the lander in mid-winter.

During its mission, Phoenix confirmed and examined patches of the widespread deposits of underground water ice detected by Odyssey and identified a mineral called calcium carbonate that suggested occasional presence of thawed water. The lander also found soil chemistry with significant implications for life and observed falling snow. The mission’s biggest surprise was the discovery of perchlorate, an oxidizing chemical on Earth that is food for some microbes and potentially toxic for others.

Phoenix Mars Lander. Trench Shovel Photo From Phoenix Onboard Camera. Photo: JPL/NASA

“We found that the soil above the ice can act like a sponge, with perchlorate scavenging water from the atmosphere and holding on to it,” said Peter Smith, Phoenix principal investigator at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “You can have a thin film layer of water capable of being a habitable environment. A micro-world at the scale of grains of soil — that’s where the action is.”

The perchlorate results are shaping subsequent astrobiology research, as scientists investigate the implications of its antifreeze properties and potential use as an energy source by microbes. Discovery of the ice in the uppermost soil by Odyssey pointed the way for Phoenix. More recently, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter detected numerous ice deposits in middle latitudes at greater depth using radar and exposed on the surface by fresh impact craters.

“Ice-rich environments are an even bigger part of the planet than we thought,” Smith said. “Somewhere in that vast region there are going to be places that are more habitable than others.”

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Phoenix Mars Lander Mission Patch. Image: UAriz/CSA/JPL/NASA

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We now wait with some impatience for the next mission to cross the great void that separates us from this sister world in hope that from an era of warmer eons, liquid water, and powered by the dynamo of the Sun’s solar engine, that the potential for life was realized.  Well done to the thousands whose individual efforts crafted this small but amazing space-faring robot, flung from our own watered world to descend onto Ares’ dry and dusty surface, scraping its frozen crust to reveal the most precious element of life as we know it: plain old frozen water.

Μπράβο πουλί του πάγου και φωτιάς

In Memoriam–Rev. R. Edward McIndoo, 1936-2010

In Memoriam

Ray Edward (Ed) McIndoo

1936-2010

 

Ed McIndoo, Pastor, Professor & Chaplain. Photo: Northwest Christian University

Obituary from the Eugene Register Guard:

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, March 29, at the First Congregational Church in Eugene for Ray Edward McIndoo of Springfield, who died March 24 of leukemia. He was 73.

He was born July 12, 1936, in Jewell County, Kan., to Ray and Theda Aubushon McIndoo. He married Connie Pierson on July 18, 1955, in Caldwell, Idaho.

[It should also be noted that Ed was a graduate of Northwest Christian College (now University) in the Class of 1958, and completed his seminary work at Phillips Graduate Seminary.]

He served as pastor at churches in Oklahoma, Colorado and Ontario, Ore., as well as Springfield Christian Church and St. Paul Methodist Church in Springfield. He served as [hospital and] hospice chaplain at Censored by Corporate Social Media Policy* and as professor at Northwest Christian University.

Survivors include his wife; two daughters, Pamela Starks of Bonaire, Ga., and Lynette Greco of Folsom, Calif.; a brother, Cecil of Greenleaf, Idaho; a sister, Hazel Macy of Newberg; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Hope was one of the keys to Ed’s spiritual life as a minister of the Gospel of Christ.  This video on Hope is set to the music of Secret Garden and the piece “Celebration” from their album “White Stone.”

 

Shalom, my friend, mentor, colleague and brother in Christ.

 

*This post has been redacted and censored to comply with my employer’s Social Media Policy as of Nov. 1, 2010.  All references to my place of work and the system it is part of, as well as photos have been removed.  This action appears to be only recourse I have to preserve my Constitutional rights to free speech and the free expression of my views on Extreme Thinkover.