Eileen Gendron (Barttels) was born on April 10, 1943 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Yakima, WA to Harry and Juliette Gendron, the fourth of five siblings. Eileen attended elementary and secondary school in Moxee at Holy Rosary Parish and East Valley High School, graduating in 1961. She passed on January 22, 2014.
Eileen is survived by no spouse. No parents. No children. And no grandchildren. Instead, she is survived by her three siblings, Carol (husband Dick), Jerry (wife Lana), and Joe (wife Barb), several nephews and nieces, and subsequent generations of extended family. Eileen was preceded in death by my beloved cousins, her daughters Kristine and Leanne Barttels. Her parents, Harry and Juliette Gendron, have also passed, as has her oldest brother, Bennett. She recently lost a longtime partner and friend in Jerry.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit her hospital room after not having seen her for many years. We got the rare chance to talk. And laugh. And cry a bit, too. When I left, she thanked me for coming and told me she loved me very much. And I got a rare and precious moment to make sure she knew she was loved in return. What a gift that was.
The things we want at the end of our lives are almost never the things that seemed so important while we were living them. The day I saw her, Eileen wanted three things: Pepsi, tapioca pudding, and for her wishes for her final resting place to be carried out. The first two were easy enough, just a simple trip to the store. It will be my honor to join my father Joe, his wife Barb, my son Samuel, and other family members in ensuring that the third thing happens, too.
Rest, Eileen. You were, and are... loved. Remembered. And will be missed.