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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Life sketch of My sweet Aunt Delene.

Thanks to Cindy and my Dad for this one.

Nancy Delene Houskeeper
“Aunt Delene”

Delene was born in Provo, Utah, the Second child of “goodly parents”, Dean and Arlene Andersen Houskeeper on February 19, 1948. Aunt Delene returned to her Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, her parents and beloved grandparents, uncles and aunts on March 2, 2010.

Delene inherited her very happy disposition and infectious smile from her mother, and her determination from her father. She loved her Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and was absolutely dedicated to the church and what it stands for. Church attendance and tithing were essential to her life. Sister Houskeeper was a missionary to Brazil in 1971 – 1973. She set a goal to obtain a degree in elementary education from B.Y.U. and to become a schoolteacher. Delene taught in Oakley, Vernal and 23 years in Panguitch. Miss Houskeeper loved the hundreds of children she taught in kindergarten, first and second grade, and Sunday School. She retired from teaching in 2003, sold her doublewide home and returned to Provo to be with her family.

Delene struggled with many health challenges all her life, but always persevered. She started out early with vision problems and sick a lot, subsequently endured several eye operations. Her latest illness started out with what appeared to be a cold and difficult breathing and fatigue. However, it was the result of a very enlarged heart, heart failure; blood clots developed which resulted in a series of strokes. Even during this last illness she maintained her sense of humor and at one point was able to share a few moments of unspoken banter, love pats, finger squeezes, and wiggled toes, with Michael and Tanya. Aunt Delene’s last Face book Status that she recorded was on her birthday February 19th was; “I love my family, they are great people.” Delene was the best friend to her sister Nedra Bourne and her family.

Nedra and Delene shared their very small bedroom in their little home on 8th East in Provo. As a little girl Delene loved to play in the lawn sprinkler (her dad really kept his lawns beautiful.) One day her mom was outside hanging up the laundry to dry and the mailman came back to tell her that “I’m not sure you want your little girl to run around like that.” Her mom, Arlene, said “It’s o.k., she does that all the time.” Later she thought she better go out and check on Delene –there she was as happy as could be, running through the sprinkler,-and naked as a jay-bird. Mom wasn’t sure she wanted to see the mailman the next day.

Sometimes, on Saturdays, their dad would give them some change to go downtown (about twelve long city blocks) to buy a little treat such as a bag of Spanish peanuts at Penny’s candy counter. Nedra remembers that Delene’s little short legs would keep up all the way and that she was so happy.

When Nedra was working in Salt Lake their dad would bring Delene up to stay with her on weekends and they would have fun going to the big stores in the city. Trips to see the grandparents, uncles and aunts were an important part of life in Delene’s family. One trip to grandma and grandpa Andersen’s farm in Axtell resulted in an oft-quoted family story. Delene got up early to help grandpa Leo milk the cow. They brought the milk back to the house to the separator. Then grandma Lizy served up her usual hearty farmer’s breakfast including the fresh milk. Delene looked at the milk with some disgust and declared that she didn’t want milk from a cow – she wanted milk from the store. Family reunions, deer hunts, family dinners with uncles and aunts and grandma and grandpa Andersen were important memories to her. Family reunions with the usual arguments between her dad and uncle Clifford were also a part of life. Memorial Day and visits to the family cemeteries were important to the family. Fishing and hunting are an important part of Utah culture and Delene enjoyed hearing the fireside tales. Arlene would cook trout in the back yard, which Delene, and her dad had caught up the canyon. Trips up the canyons in her dad’s camper with Nedra and her family and prepared by Grandma were happy occasions after Nedra and the family returned to Utah.

Delene’s first trip out of the U.S., without her parents, was when she traveled with some B.Y.U. students to Canada to spend the summer with Nedra. When Delene returned from her mission Cindy was a little girl that looked up to her aunt with much awe. For days she would follow Delene everywhere – even to the bathroom.

Delene loved coming home with Lacey for summer vacation to the home on 1200 north in Provo where she knew and loved all of the neighbors in the ward.

Delene enjoyed to travel and took Nedra, nieces and nephews on vacation trips to Disneyland, Disney World, Alaska, and Hawaii. One trip with Tanya and her family to Disneyland brings back many joyful memories of Colin’s forgotten backpack and the long return trip to retrieve it. When they were back on the road Delene said that she had lost her place in the book she was reading (a book she said she hated) Michael immediately told her the page she was on as she flipped through the book – more laughter ensued. She had many friends and always loved her bishops, church leaders, and neighbors. Delene could strike up a cheerful conversation with a perfect stranger, anywhere, any time. A grocery store line would give her a chance to tell what was going on in her life and in the world.

Christmas was her favorite time of year; she was so excited to buy gifts and fill stockings with fun things for her loved ones and thoroughly enjoyed the all-day Christmases with Nedra, Sid and the family. She not only gave presents at Christmas, but also all year long. She shared whatever she had.

Family gatherings such as July 4th brought her much joy and a chance to “chatter” with the clan. She always giggled her way through “hand and foot” and other family games “Auntie Deeny-Poos”, as her brother called her was always happy to come to dinner on Sundays and whenever she was invited over. Before she went home she always stopped at Sid’s chair to give him a love- pat on the shoulder. Sundays will never be the same without her happy spirit. One of the memorable feasts we enjoyed was when she brought fresh salmon back from Alaska. She always appreciated Nedra’s and Sid’s meals. Christmas and Thanksgiving turkey with mashed potatoes and all the fixing’s made by her mother was her favorite and continued to be so with her family after Grandma and Grandpa left us.

Aunt Delene has 4 nieces, and a nephew and also is a great -aunt to 12 nieces and nephews, and a great-great aunt to four others. She was so proud of all her family and loved them very much. She is Aunt Delene to Nedra Delene Leavitt Fleming, Dean Cordell Bourne, Tanya Elisa Robinson, Jacinda Melrie Bourne, Celeste Kaylene Bourne and spouses. She is a great aunt to Sean, Jayson, Tyler, Jordan and Marlei Leavitt and spouses; Matthew, Rachel, and Rebecca Bourne; Natasha, Collin, Kendra, and Abbie Robinson. She is a great - great aunt to Noah, Ellie, Tobi, and Rachel Leavitt. Delene has a very large host of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins on both sides of the veil, both on the Houskeeper and Andersen family, whom she knew and loved in this life. Her 93-year old uncle, Dean Andersen was buried on the same that she was.

Delene loved her precious pets, Skeeter, Lacey, Sasha, Nicki, Taffy, and Trixie and all of the other pets our family has had. Candy, Pixie, Kirby and Nemo Bourne loved to jump up into her arms.

Aunt Delene was very proud of her beautiful little new little home and neighborhood and enjoyed her independence. She would often times share loving stories of her neighbors. We as her family loved to stop by to see her and keep her company. Aunt Delene had many hobbies that she took pleasure in, including: stamp -collecting, cross -stitching, knitting,” stamping –up,” collecting, weighing and identifying small gemstones, and, most recently scrap booking. Her favorite outing was to go to all the craft stores in the county, with her beloved sister Nedra. These excursions will never be the same for Nedra and the girls who went with her.

She spent many years following in her mother’s footsteps, working on Andersen and Houskeeper genealogy, helping others learn how to do family research and doing extraction work for many thousands of individuals. She also loved playing “Hand and foot” with her family, giggling and making her unique witticisms that brought much laughter and loving teasing. One of the most comical was when she mixed up the term “hissy-fit”, which became “tizzy-fit” which then morphed into the third form “fizzy – t –t.” What a red face she displayed when she realized what she had said. Crossword puzzles, sudoko, computer games and T.V. filled in any blank time.

All her family will sorely miss Aunt Delene, especially by her brother Sid, who enjoyed discussing political events and issues with her. Aunt Delene had a unique way of relating to each member of the family and discussing with each one, individually, their personal interests and activities. Each of us will love and miss her always.

Her 4- year old grand niece Abbie’s prayer expressed it only as a child can do, “Bless Aunt Delene, help her feel better and bless her to resurrect”

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