MY MOM PASSED away at 0630 today and we are following her instructions for her funeral arrangements and burial next week. Along with my four brothers, we also plan to celebrate a few moments of joy when visiting mom's favorite haunts (like Eden Resort shown in the image).
[Movie Clip] Accessible through http://bit.ly/rickiemovie
On a formal note, the obituary  specifies we will hold an open casket viewing in Andrew T. Scheid's funeral home  from 1900 to 2030 on Monday, January 12, 2014. Mom wrote down and prepaid all these arrangements more than a decade ago with Andy Scheid. Mom's funeral Mass is at 10AM on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, in St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Lancaster, PA.  It's minus five cold outside in Lancaster at the moment but people can park their cars in Andy Scheid's quiet place and stroll the 300 yards up the hidden alleyway to the church. Her burial is in the family plot of the St. Joseph New Cemetery , a place some readers might remember from other family events.  You cannot walk from the church to the cemetery but if you're on Route 999 at noon on Tuesday, the 1971 black Mercedes hearse is taking my mother on a victory lap.
While at mom's bedside, I thumbed through photo albums that showed her parents, George and Anna Rickelman, of St Paul, Iowa. Mom grew up with three brothers and two sisters during the Great Depression. Her family lost the farm on several occasions.
Evelyn Rickelman graduated from West Point High School during WWII, working in Fort Madison, Iowa at the prison and later at the Sheaffer Pen Company. I remember getting gift sets of Sheaffer pens while growing up. The nibs on Sheaffer fountain pens  were too big for my left handed writing so I always smeared my pages with them. It took me 40 years to master small nibs on fountain pens.
Mom left Iowa against her dad's wishes and started working in a mining company in Denver, Colorado before entering Loretto Heights School of Nursing in Denver. Ward supervisors thought it was softer to create the nickname "Rickie" from her "Rickelman" nametag and the naming convention stuck for the rest of her life. She finished as a Distinguished Graduate and qualified as a Registered Nurse.
Mom met George Goldbach  in Denver when both worked in the burn ward of the US Army's Fitzsimmons Medical Hospital in 1952. "Who is that skinny fellow?" asked her nursing colleagues. "What is he doing coming back here?" mom wondered when dad drove halfway across America to propose along the banks of the Big Thompson River in Mount Estes Park in Loveland. They married in 1953. They hung a painting in our living room of the spot where dad proposed. Dad died of cancer on February 11, 2003 under that painting, robbing the happy couple out of a 50th wedding anniversary.
As a young boy, I remember traveling to Iowa every fifth summer to meet up with uncles Norbert and Leonard in West Point, Aunt Roseanne in Fort Madison and Aunt Martha in Fairfield, Iowa. I remember corn taller than my dad and zany cousins who use dehydrated cow paddies as bases in softball games.
Today, mom's five sons  live in cities and towns stretching beyond 7200 miles apart. I live in Ireland. Brother Greg lives in California. Brother Dave is in Texas. Bothers Mike and Pat live in Lancaster. She has six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
I will always remember mom's volunteer work, especially the days when she served as a Den Mother as her five boys climbed the ranks all the way up to Eagle Scout. A mother of five boys, all achieving the respected rank of Eagle Scout.
I remember mom making breakfast for the family at 5am on days when the entire family went to work as Goldbach's Decorators in convention centres hanging booth curtains for large shows. My grandfather seemed to revel in telling mom how to fold fabric correctly. I learned how to bite my tongue while watching mom defer to Grandpa's judgment.
Knowing mom, she would like to join in campfire songs, sing at a Mass, spin at a square dance or meet up around a table to share a meal together. For that reason, her five sons will keep an empty chair around pushed up against the table where we will enjoy a meal to honor the memory of Rickie Goldbach.
May mom rest in peace, knowing her living memory will never fade.
Details on important venues follow.
2. Scheid's Funeral Home, 121 South Prince Street, Lancaster, PA 17603.
3. Historic St Mary' Church, 119 South Prince Street, Lancaster, PA.
4. St. Joseph's New Cemetery, Charles Rd, Bausman, Lancaster, PA.
5. "RIP George Francis Goldbach" on Inside View, February 12, 2003.
6. On my wishlist: The Limited Edition Sheaffer for $28,500.
7. A Flickr photo album shows George Goldbach through the years.
9. We combed through the photo albums of the Goldbach boys and poked into online collections stored on Flickr and Facebook to create a six minute slide show in tribute to Rickie Goldbach at http://bit.ly/rickievideo