August 26, 2022

Celebrating in heaven

Jim and Mary Jo Roberts, seated at center, pose with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren for a 2021 family Christmas party in the parish hall of St. Roch Parish in Indianapolis. (Submitted photo)

Mary and Francis Geswein smile after a Mass celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary on Oct. 20, 2018, in Holy Family Church in New Albany. (Submitted photo)

(Editor’s note: The following reflection was submitted near the time of the archdiocesan annual Wedding Anniversary Mass, which took place on Aug. 14 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. It seemed fitting to honor this couple’s 73rd anniversary, as they were called to heaven a few months prior to the Mass.)

By Kathy Wilt (Special to The Criterion)

My parents, Francis and Mary Geswein of Holy Family Parish in New Albany, were 94 years old when they celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary on Oct. 20, 2021. They have seven children, 18 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.

Daddy was born one week before mother and died three weeks before she died. Basically, they were on this Earth during the exact same time in history.

Their life spanned five different southern Indiana parishes. They started their married life together in St. Mary Parish in Lanesville, Daddy’s home parish. They moved to St. Mary Parish in Navilleton, Mother’s home parish. They moved to St. John the Baptist in Starlight after starting a family, and during retirement they moved to Holy Family Parish in New Albany.

They grew up next to and knew many people from St. Mary-of-the-Knobs Parish in Floyd County, where many of their grand- and great-grandchildren attended—and still attend—the parish school.

To know my parents was to love my parents. You were always greeted with a smile. Mother was a seamstress for many weddings, proms and people’s wardrobes. She made purses, bags, stuffed bears and pillows. She crocheted, knitted and gardened. Daddy framed pictures, made rosaries and did some woodwork.

They both shared their faith, time and treasure constantly with the archdiocese, Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, and many parish ministries and groups in the surrounding communities.

My six siblings and I promised them that, if it was in our power, when they needed extra help, we would keep them home. We cooked, cleaned, took care of bills, dressed and nursed them for two years. Daddy wanted to pass in his recliner, and Mother wanted to “wake up dead” in her bed. We were able to keep them both home until they were called to heaven.

Mother had a miscarriage in the early 1960s, and before Daddy died, Mother asked him to say “hi” to their baby for her. We also found out in that moment, Daddy had named the baby Francis.

They were doing so good but, while it was not unexpected, they both passed in the spring, Daddy on March 23 and Mother on April 14.

If you asked Daddy what he attributed his long, happy marriage to, he would tell you he learned to say, “Yes, dear.”

He looked down from heaven after he died, turned to Mother, held out his hand and said, “Come home with me, Mary.” Mother looked up at Daddy and answered, “Yes, dear.”

(Kathy Wilt is a member of Holy Family Parish in New Albany.)

Related story: Couples say faith, commitment are keys to a fruitful marriage

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!