Theresa B. Kolodge, 97, of Dana Point died at her daughter Ann Marie’s home on Christmas Day, December 25, 2018. She was born Theresa Barbara Price to a large Polish-American family on April 14, 1921 in Cloquet, Minnesota and was the last surviving sibling of 11 children. Theresa, “Terry,” moved to Claremont, CA with her husband and five children in 1966 and lived there until 2005 when she moved in with her daughter’s family in Dana Point, CA. At the “youthful” age of 45 she enjoyed the warmth of California’s sunny climate but greatly missed the many relatives, friends and family she left behind in northern and central Minnesota. She remained a Minnesotan at heart throughout her life but developed a deep love and appreciation for her adopted state of California. As a devoted mother she was very involved in her family’s activities but always had time to lend a helping hand to a friend in need. Whether it was helping with a chore or simply sitting and talking over a cup of coffee, she was always available. Terry and her husband Ed were devout Catholics and active members of Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Claremont where they enjoyed many friendships. Throughout the years her grandchildren and great grandchildren brought her a tremendous amount of pride and joy. She always had a twinkle in her eye when they came to visit her. Terry was mentally sharp and full of “spunk” well into her 90’s and an occasional trip to the casino still excited her to the very end. She was predeceased by her loving husband of 59 years, Edmund, on July 13, 2004. She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law, Jeffrey and Cheryl of Tigard, Oregon, Ross and Kathy of Upland, CA, Craig and Colleen of Carlsbad, CA, Jon of Claremont, a daughter and son-in-law Ann Marie and Larry Eckl of Dana Point and 18 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren.
A rosary vigil will be held at O’Connor Mortuary, 25301 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA on Sunday January 6 from 2-4 PM. The Memorial Funeral Mass will be held at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church, 33926 Calle La Primavera, Dana Point on Monday, Jan. 7 at 11:00 AM. A reception will be held immediately following Mass in the church hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name to Marian Missionaries, P.O. Box 1401, Stockbridge, MA. 01262 or directly to their website marianmissionaries.org.
“Grandma was Quite a Girl”
(Memoirs of Theresa Kolodge – Jan. 6, 2018)
Born April 14, 1921
Avg. life expectancy for a woman in 1921 – 58 yrs old
3 yrs prior to my Mom’s birth:
Oct. 12, 1918 Cloquet Fire : Destroyed her family’s home and killed her grandfather – 453 fatalities; 52,000 people injured or displaced; 38 communities destroyed including family homes in Kettle River and Moose Lake. Fed. Compensation for death of grandfather was $400. Cause: spark for train + drought.
Mom’s family survived by taking a “coal railcar” out of town where her mother, a midwife, gave birth to a child while pregnant herself. She delivered my Mom’s sister Vicky 18 days later.
Also, this happening at the same time:
The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic: Killed more people than the Great War of WWI estimated at somewhere between 20 – 40 million people worldwide. Life expectancy in the US dropped 12 yrs in 1918. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded in world history.
With that as a backdrop , it is no wonder my Mom was known for being tough and spunky ,. Here are some of her more memorable recollections from her life as recorded on Oct. 31, 1984 at the age of 63.
Her parents named her Theresa Cecilia but because she had a cousin, Cecelia Bukowski, who had a “nasty mouth” she changed her middle name to “Barbara”, her confirmation name, because of it, which she continued to use throughout her life.
She also had a number of “nicknames” growing up: Kitty, Theodora and Babes. However the one that stuck and she preferred was “Terry” which was also my father’s favorite and the way she was known by family and friends alike.
Very First Memory:
Sitting in a high chair as a baby in the backyard and being bit by a rattlesnake. She almost died from the bite.
- The color Blue
- Gardenias and Roses
- Toujoure Moi perfume
- Christmas Day
- Mornings – Early Rising
- Brahms Lullaby
- Friends – Doris Sievek
- Music (piano)
- Talking to Strangers
- Visiting Shut-ins
- Going to my Aunt’s farm in Brookston, MN
- Home Cooking & Special Dishes
- Working with Flower
- Pretty China
- Small Towns
- Doing Her Own Hair
- Fruit Salad
- Devil’s Food Cake
- Her Mom’s homemade bread hot from the oven dripping with butter
- Homemade Polish Sausage
- My Dad
- Washing Pots & Pans (Vicky faked being sick to avoid it)
- Taking a Cold Bath
- Going to the Dentist
- Driving a Car
- Buying a New Car
- Moving to a New Home
- Alcohol and Drugs were America’s biggest problem
- Taxes are too high for what you get
- Smokng is harmful to your health
- Women’s Lib wasn’t working like it should
- Peace will never come until individuals make peace within their own families
Growing Up She Described Herself As:
- Lean (Skinny)
- Athletic (a tomboy) – won many races
Greatest Ambitions Growing Up:
- To be a Mother
- To be a Nurse and Work with Children
- Have a Family
- Enjoy our Family
First Time She Ever Gambled (slot machines):
- Las Vegas in 1966 on our trip to California from Minnesota. She bet $2.00
Silliest Things She Ever Did:
- Tried to walk the floating logs in the Mississippi River when the dam was open. It was extremely dangerous, she slipped and nearly drowned
- Came down a hill on a bicycle standing up on the seat with “no hands” – Disaster!
Smartest Thing She Ever Did:
- Married my Dad
Things She Wanted to See Come Within Society:
- An end to Abortion
- More Family Unity
- Less Emphasis Placed on Material Possessions
- Religious Unity
- Most couples do not put forth the time and work to make a marriage last and Yes ,. I still like for a man to open the door for me
What She Tried to Do for Others:
- Help where help is needed
- Visit the sick and aged
- Cheer them up when needed
Mom’s Favorite Poems:
“Let Me Grow Lovely” by Karla Wilson Baker
Let me grow lovely growing old
So many fine things do:
Laces and ivory and gold,
And silks need not be new
And there is healing in old trees,
Old streets a glamour hold;
Why may I not as well as these,
Grow lovely growing old?
“I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” by Emily Dickinson
I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you – Nobody – too? How
dreary to be – Somebody. How “lonely” like a Frog. To tell your
name the whole livelong day to some admiring
Note: Dickinson saw anonymity as an advantage. She proudly declared her ordinariness, her likeness to everyone else rather that her uniqueness.
Mom’s Advice to her Grandchildren:
Love God, yourselves, your parents and family.
Your parents’ advice might not always seem right
at the time but at some future time, their
good advice will all fall into place.
Remember, if they didn’t love you they
wouldn’t give it to you. It takes many years
sometimes to put that puzzle together.
But in the end, it’s always worthwhile
and only you can find that out – And Will!
Love You All Very Much, GG
Words in Remembrance of Theresa Kolodge’s Faith
January 7, 2018
The Catholic Church today asks us to share briefly, memories on the faith of my mother. This sharing is not a eulogy in the sense that we reminisce and share aspects of my Mom’s life outside the context of her Catholic faith ,. and yet, it is impossible to talk about my Mom’s life without a clear appreciation for how important her faith was to her and how she lived it day to day.
Theresa Price was born into a large Polish Catholic family in Cloquet Minnesota in 1921 and baptized at St. Casimir’s Polish Catholic Church. It was here where she learned the foundations of her faith, sang in the Polish choir and even cut hair for the pastor of the parish. By today’s standards her family would be judged financially very poor with everyone working to support the welfare of all during the Great Depression. Having come from such humble beginnings, she spent her long life reaching out to those less fortunate than her. Lonely and troubled souls often found their way to my Mom’s kitchen table where a warm pot of coffee and a caring, empathetic ear was there to comfort them and offer words of practical advice and support. In her memoirs she describe one of her “hobbies” as “visiting shut-ins”.
Her faith was very simple , it was based on the commandment to “Love God and your neighbor as yourself”. When seeing others less fortunate than ourselves she was quick to remind us that “There but for the Grace of God Go I”
Upon moving to California from Minnesota in 1966, my mother started the “Comforters” ministry at Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Claremont, CA. She saw a great need to visit those confined and often forgotten in nursing facilities. In addition to visiting them, she also took in several elderly women to care for in our home from time to time. And believing that Christian love begins with your family, relatives in need of shelter or a temporary place to stay always found a welcome mat at the front door.
At one point, Angie, a mentally disabled woman was given employment in our home ironing our clothes because my Mom felt it was important for her to earn her own money and experience the joy of feeling needed and valued.
Our Mom typically adopted souls with no surviving family so they would know they were loved, nurtured and would not die alone.
Her faith in Christ was a natural expression of who she was , she saw no reason to complicate it and for her, actions spoke louder than words as a way of spreading the Gospel message.
She and my father believed all their children would benefit by a Catholic education and although financially strapped raising a family of 5 children on a single income, they sacrificed and found a way for all of us to attend parochial schools during our developmental years laying a spiritual foundation that would serve us well throughout our lives.
Part of that foundation would find us on our knees as children saying the family rosary in the living room. We learned at a young age that true success in life begins only when we are humble enough to recognize that Love of God and Compassion for others needs to be the center of our lives and it must start at home and within the family. She reminded us that “The family that prays together stays together”.
So, it is only fitting that we end this spiritual remembrance with a prayer:
“Like the dawn coming up in the morning Dear Lord, you came to Theresa in silence, making a golden path in the stillness to guide her final footsteps into Your Kingdom. Through Your Divine Mercy, she now lives anew in Your Loving Presence in a world free from the frailities and pain of old age , as it was in the beginning , is now , and ever shall be , a world without end! , Amen”