Lori Beth Marsh (Wyatt)
(1975 - 2009)

Lori Beth Marsh (Wyatt)

Nebraska, United States of America
July 8, 1975

Missouri, United States of America
June 4, 2009

Medicine, choral conducting, traditional Lutheran liturgy, travel, photography, sign language, narrative nonfiction, knitting, scrapbooking, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, babies.
"It was a sad cat who walked back into the house that night. He sat down at the piano. He thought of all the fine times that were over, and all the sad years ahead."
-Barbara Brenner, "Cunningham's Rooster," 1975

Choral conductor, singer, foreign exchange student, sign language lover, knitter, reader, mother, heavy equipment expert, self-proclaimed 'professional lupus patient'... Lori packed a lot of living into just 33 short years.

She left this earth on June 4, just two days shy of the 16th anniversary of our meeting, after a decade-long struggle with lupus and a 44-day hospitalization for pancreatitis, which steadily deteriorated to include renal failure, respiratory failure, fevers, anemia, malnutrition, and a host of other complications.

But the time just prior to being admitted to the hospital was a happy one for Lori. She had just purchased a digital SLR camera to capture the perpetual blur of her much-adored two-year-old. She had finally gotten our bedroom, where she was confined for most of her days, decorated exactly the way she wanted it. She had gotten on top of the clutter that can so easily fill an American home. She had gone through all her photos and thrown out the duplicates, making me promise to never let her order double prints again. Although she was never able to spend a night there, she had helped pick out our next house. And she had caught up on her reading in a huge way, tearing through books at breakneck pace and checking out 200 items at a time from the library, as though storing up things to ponder while lying helpless in a hospital bed.

She was able to visit her hometown and dine at all three of the 'holy trinity' of restaurants there (Casa del Rey, Chances R, and Runza). She even was able to have one of Chances R's famous chef salads, expiating Al's guilt over mistakenly throwing out the French dressing from a salad that her mother had brought down to Missouri earlier in the year. She attended her brother Doug's 50th birthday party, her niece Brianna's prom, and her great-niece Reagan's baptism. She got to go clothes shopping at Maurice's with her mother. And driving home, she was able to stay awake the entire trip -- a rarity for her -- talking with Lily and me, singing songs, playing games, and reminiscing about our childhoods (I always considered it a blessing that we shared the same hometown; it made it so much easier to tell stories when you knew the same people).

Reading over what I've written, it doesn't seem like all that much to be happy about. They're all small things. But being chronically ill makes you appreciate small things. Lori had abandoned her plans of a career when it became clear that her health wouldn't allow it. She was never able to become a doctor. She was never able to travel to Europe. She wasn't able to have five children. But she did learn, especially in the last year of her life, to savor and appreciate what she did have, to make the most of it, and to consider herself blessed.

Lori and I used to joke that she had so many aches and pains and physical limitations that death, when it came someday, would be a kind of relief for her. It was grim humor, but by the end it wasn't funny any more. It was true. Death was indeed the only relief she had to look forward to, and in the end I suppose this will apply to all of us. Being with Lori when she died was kind of a gift because I no longer fear death after watching her go through it.

Among the last words she heard, if not the very last, were these, sung by herself and her friends on a Christus Chorus concert CD:

Peace be to you and grace from Him
Who freed us from our sins,
Who loved us all and shed His blood
That we might saved be.

Sing Holy, Holy to our Lord,
The Lord, Almighty God,
Who was and is and is to come;
Sing Holy, Holy Lord!

Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein,
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below,
For Christ is coming, is coming soon,
For Christ is coming soon!

E'en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come,
And night shall be no more;
They need no light nor lamp nor sun,
For Christ will be their All!

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

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Guest Book (37 entries)

I still think of you often. I remember your patience, help & sense of humor with me with choir, our chats, the jewelry you sold, that you came to my house to do one of your 1st shows :), looking for a house. I remember the one downtown that you really liked. I don't remember now what was wrong with it, but I do remember the joking & creative ideas that we were talking about. When you came to KC and stayed at my place, the tornado, and the more I think, the more I remember. I still miss you and am so glad & thankful that you were my friend. I'm also glad & thankful that Al added this page and kept your facebook page up. I visit it frequently even though I don't say anything. I just remember....I'm so glad your last days before getting real sick were good days. That was God's gift to you after everything you had been through. I love looking at your pics! You were and still are a blessing in my life. I will always be thankful for you!!

I love you and am glad you are pain free & in a much better place now.

Love, Kay
Kay Jones (Friend)
May 21st, 2010
Never again will I see a shooting star without thinking of my sister, Lori. She appeared as a wonderful surprise; glowed bright, gifted and wondrous among us, and left us longing for more time to enjoy her presence.

I choose to remember little spinets of moments, like photo shots in my mind, indelibly etched on my heart.

It was Thanksgiving Day, 1974 at Grandma and Grandpa Wyatt’s home in Columbus, NE. Mom was 41, Dad was 42, brother Doug was 15 and I was 21. Mom took me aside and escorted me to the back bedroom. I started thinking that she did not approve of the latest boyfriend I brought to meet the family and I began making a quick mental list of all his redeeming qualities. With a sheepish grin she told me the news and I was speechless! She shared that Doug’s first reaction/question was “how come?” We broke into, very quiet, hysterical laughter. Needless to say, I do not remember the rest of that holiday.

Our parents allowed Doug and me to pick out names for the baby. I don’t remember Doug’s choice (if it was a boy) but mine (if it was a girl) was Laura Elizabeth. Mom liked it better shortened so it was Lori Beth. There were no Lamaze classes at that time but I was already an RN so Mom asked me to be with her through labor and delivery. Doug was a Junior Volunteer Fireman and a close friend of the attending physician’s son so we were all allowed in the delivery room for Lori’s arrival. I remember counting her fingers and toes through tears of joy. We were so thankful and relieved that she was healthy. The name Lori Beth seemed to suit her perfectly.

Mom and Dad had great friends who supported them and helped them adjust to “late in life” parenthood. Dad’s buddies, at the Midway café breakfast table, gave him the infamous belt buckle. It had a picture of a sway back horse with the inscription “Grand Champion Stud” on it. Bette and Mel Schulz rescued Mom several times from stressful days when baby Lori would not sleep. Dad worked long hours at his new business, WyAd Utility Contractors, I had my own new job in Syracuse, NE and Doug was a busy sophomore in high school. Mom had the challenge of spending most of her time alone with Lori when she was little. Even then Lori liked to stay up late and learned everything quickly. She spent a great deal of time with adults and knew the foods she liked at just about every restaurant in town.

Because she spent so much time growing up around adults, I think she always had in mind that she was one. Even when she was little she used big words and knew what they meant. She cracked me up when she was 3 and having trouble pronouncing certain words. She would stand in front of an aquarium and say ”shish”. When we corrected her saying: “Lori, it is a fish”, she would look us in the eye with her hand on one hip and exclaim: “Yes, I know, it’s a shish!”

It seems as if Lori hit the ground running. She always had a long list of goals, aspirations and expectations for herself. She became fluent in the Spanish language after being a foreign exchange student in Mexico. She returned to high school her senior year and was an interpreter for Kroy Manufacturing when they had foreign guests. Later in life she learned sign language. She taught baby Ellie to say “please and thank you” in sign language before she could actually talk. .

I always admired Lori’s way of challenging herself with something new when Lupus would no longer allow her to do the things she enjoyed doing. When she could no longer conduct and be the music director for the church, she tried selling and making jewelry, purses and greeting cards. She had a gift for visualizing photo and page layouts for her artful scrapbooks. Lori often put the girls to sleep at night with children’s stories she had created. The last 2 years, while confined to bed, she taught herself, and a few of her friends, to knit and crochet.

My sister was amazing and, like so many others, my life has been blessed by having known her. I miss her more every day that passes as the reality of her absence sinks in a little deeper. I cherish the memories, the beautiful daughters she left behind and her devoted, loving husband, Al who will forever be one of my heroes.
Sue Leif (sister)
October 18th, 2009
Dear Lori,

I'm heart-broken knowing this will be my last letter to you. Despite living so far away from each other since we were 9 years old, you have always been so close to my heart.

I have so many memories of you that I will cherish forever. We danced to Eye of the Tiger in the early '80s. We had countless sleepovers. We made Barbie houses out of cardboard boxes, sparing no details (including the infamous rock fireplace, the materials of which we harvested from the alley in the middle of the night!). We ate at Chances R. We got together every summer when I went back to Nebraska. You visited me in San Diego & learned the importance of head-to-toe sunscreen at the beach. You taught me to love Fred & Ginger movies. We poured through Bride's magazines planning our future weddings -- even though we weren't even dating yet. Then we shared in each other's "big day" when the time finally came. We went to Silver Dollar City and a show in Branson in the summer of '03. Through the years, we kept in touch though we always apologized for not writing or calling nearly as much as we thought about it.

I'm so thankful you were a part of my life. You will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you, Lori, for being my dear friend.

I love you & miss you,

Stephanie Henson (Friend)
June 16th, 2009
Unfortunately I didn't get to know Lori as I came into MOPS in 2007-08 and wasn't at her table. She sounds like such a wonderful person and what a loss this has to be. Your website was so moving and beautiful and a tremendous witness of your faith and trust. My prayers are with you as you go forward and I know God walks with you. In Him, Pat Hall
Pat Hall (MOPS mentor mom)
June 15th, 2009
Al and girls,
I feel honored to have been part of the choir that would lullaby Lori from earth to heaven. How could we have known...
May you all be held close by the Lord as you walk through these difficult days. I am praying for you.
~Katherine (Krumm) Clark
Katherine Clark (Fellow Christus Chorus Me)
June 14th, 2009
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"I just met Lori's mom at the nursing home in Stromsburg, and she shared this link with me. What a special lady! I was moved to tears as I read about her. I also know her sister Sue and feel a special closeness to your family. Peace be to her memor"
Jan Randell
September 2nd, 2009
"Allen, my first born nephew, and Lori, the first in-law to join our small family - I give thanks for the joy you brought to each other and to our family. I continue to keep you Allen, Lilly and Elie in my daily prayers."
Carolee Allen Grumm
July 8th, 2009
"I was a high school classmate of Lori's. We didn't know each other well but I wanted you to know this site is a tribute to Lori, but also to your relationship...you obviously blessed each other's lives. Prayers to you and your family."
Sadie (Peterson) Bohnenkamp
July 5th, 2009
"I don't know Lori or your family, I received notice from Concordia of her passing. My deep condolences to all who are missing Lori and grieving...may the Lord comfort you and keep you close. Blessings..."
Deana Siekmann
June 13th, 2009
"Although I didn't know Lori, but I received the notice from Condcordia college. it sure sounds like she was a great gal, and you and your family are in my prayers. God Bless- Summer Benoit"
Summer Benoit
June 12th, 2009
"Austin and I are holding you close in prayer. I will never forget the beautiful card Lori crafted following Eleanor's birth. Her special talents, motherly love, and gentle spirit were woven throughout the card. Our thoughts and prayers."
June Huff
June 11th, 2009
"Al, It is with great sadness that I got this news as I just started a facebook account today, June 11. My heart goes out to you and your daughter, to Lori's family and yours. I enjoyed Lori's company at our ten year reunion."
Pete Centner
June 11th, 2009
"Al, You and the girls are in our prayers! What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful, wonderful woman! We will all miss Lori! Love, Vickie Petersen"
Vickie Petersen
June 10th, 2009
"I didn't know Lori personally. As a fellow knitter, I came across the information about her passing on Ravelry and wanted to let her family know that they are in my prayers today. May God grant you peace in this time of sorrow."
Missy Hoffman
June 8th, 2009


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