In October 2000 a touching article appeared in the pages of truth magazine entitled “Eulogy for Mom”. I can only assume this was delivered by Lewis Willis at the funeral of his mother Wilhelmina Elizabeth Thompson Willis. With Mother’s Day approaching and some discourse occurring in the political arena regarding the value of stay-at-home moms, this piece is especially poignant. This article has several stories which tug at the heart strings, will make you smile, and remind us of the importance of this irreplaceable role both to the family and to society at large. there is a link at the bottom of this page to the entire article, which I will heartily recommend. In the interest of space, I had included some of the paragraphs below. – tdk Apr. 2012
…I thought for some time for a word or expression that would somewhat sum up the life of Mom. I finally settled on “family”; I think her family was the essence and substance of her life. Make absolutely no mistake about it, her first interest was God and the Church. But after that came her family. Anyone who knew her soon learned that her heart was centered on her children and grandchildren. Thus, I call to remembrance some memories about the Family.
Of course, the beginning of a family is the marriage. Mom and Dad had been happily married for 68 years when he died exactly one year ago to the day that Mom died, August 2. What an irony! She was never the same after Dad’s death. It is inevitable that such is the case. Two people who have been together so long do not function normally when one has gone. Theirs was a good marriage. If it experienced any major problems, I was never aware of them. Oh, there were the usual fusses and disagreements, but never did Dad abuse Mom in anyway, nor she him. She was the reason for his life! She loved and respected him, and they stood beside each other until the ravages of age separated them with his death. Mom’s failing health concerned him greatly and the changes brought by her decline he was never able to understand or accept. I am convinced that his confusion over nursing home living accelerated his death. You will remember he was hospitalized for the last time when, left alone the first night at a nursing home in Ft. Worth, he tried to get to Mom to comfort her in her distress. We would all have been surprised had he been indifferent toward her plight. But he never recovered from his anxiety over her condition.
There were times when discipline was required. Switches were the order of the day; she could use one better than most mothers. On a bare back, her switches seemed almost lethal. Psychologists and psychiatrists today, with all their psycho-babble, tell us how damaging discipline is for kids. However, I’ve now seen several generations of children who have been raised on their philosophy, and I prefer Mom’s child-raising philosophy more than theirs. I believe her approach worked better and I think my brothers and sisters share that same view. None of us was permanently damaged by her discipline.
…Mom’s love for the Lord and the church must also be remembered. She did something special which certainly none of us understood at the time. You see, until Cecil, and then Don, started preaching, Dad didn’t go to worship. She always took us to every worship . . . alone! I do not believe there was a family in the church more faithful than ours. During the critical, formative years of her children, she was determined they would know the Lord. That was the principle work of Mom. Dad was off somewhere else at worship time. He was usually working on one of his trucks all day, getting ready for Monday morning and his logging work.
The preaching of Mom’s sons has been far-reaching. In those days, she could never have imagined the impact her family would have on the church of the 20th and 21st centuries. From this small town of about 1000-1200 people, her boys have gone forth. We have preached in most parts of Texas, into many different places in Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Hawaii, Alaska, and Wisconsin. Probably other states as well. We have preached in Eastern and Western Canada, in the Philippines, in Israel, Germany, and in Greece. We have had opportunity to teach many more through religious journals we have edited, articles we have written for publication, church bulletins we have edited, radio teaching we have done, published debates we have conducted, and books and tracts we have written. Who would ever have dreamed that a Mother living in a small East Texas town might touch the lives of so many, in such distant places, as Mom did through her sons? She put us in a place to be taught the Truth, and was determined we would know how important it is to teach and defend it. It is a tribute to Mom, for without her direction, such would never have happened.