Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Willow Tree Quilt Included in Celebration of Life

January has been a very difficult month, and the last two weeks were most difficult. Stan Uffner, father of my dear friend, Sarah Uffner, passed away after unexpectedly suffering a heart attack when leaving work at Intel on Monday, the 14th. I spent most of the week in the hospital with family and friends, hoping for a miracle, and then we learned there wasn't going to be a chance for a meaningful recovery. Stan was taken off life support, and he passed away on Friday, the 18th, just around midnight. I drove over to the hospital one last time to give hugs and offer a few words to help comfort Sarah, her brother, Damon, and our friend Kevin.

The memorial service was on Saturday. It was actually a celebration of life more than a memorial service, and was held at Jenkins Estate, in the stables, the same location as the annual Mother's Day Barefoot Quilt Festival. Sarah had mentioned she'd been there with her dad during the quilt show, and I thought it would be fitting to bring The Willow Tree Quilt to display. To read more about the quilt, click here.

Stan Uffner
The celebration was lovely. There were stories and memories from friends and colleagues, and there was music, including a final song by Cat Stevens, performed by a local musician who was a friend of Stan's. I had put the quilt up on a stand in an alcove downstairs near the coat rack. There were tables close by, and cubbies filled with family photos and other mementos. There was a printed description of the quilt, and a tribute to Stan, which read,

"Stan Uffner certainly would have approved of the group gathered here today to celebrate his life. I think he would’ve enjoyed this quilt, too.

Last week, his daughter, Sarah, and I were talking about being at Jenkins Estate. Sarah had happy memories of visiting Jenkins with the family, and they often went to see the annual quilt show. Here is where they wanted to be today.

Stan wasn’t necessarily into quilts, but he was really into everything. His wonderful sense of curiosity led us – Stan, Sarah, Mason, Damon and I – to many antique shows at the Expo Center. I look back on those times fondly. He took his time and savored everything he saw, and it said a lot about him.

When Sarah and I were talking about today’s celebration of his life, I asked if I could display this quilt as a tribute to Stan, and I thank her for saying yes. It’s just a small thing, but something unique I can offer. Stan appreciated the unique qualities in each and every individual.

Even though the quilt could be seen as a mourning quilt, I’m sure that’s not how Stan would see it. He would recognize the willow as a hopeful symbol, not a sad one. He wouldn’t want us to cry. He would want us to smile and laugh. That was Stan’s whole approach to life. He was warm, happy-go-lucky, quick to flash his winning smile, and eternally optimistic."

During the ceremony, I stood up, said who I was, talked a little about how I knew the family, and told everyone about the quilt. I hadn't planned on getting up and saying anything, but it seemed like people were a little shy at first. I had to help get the ball rolling. And roll it did. Sarah got up and offered some inspirational words, "Be present," she said. I really admired her for having the strength to speak, and she spoke most eloquently.

Later, during the reception, I noticed people looking at the quilt. It was nice to offer something unique to the celebration, and I was happy it could be a quilt. Stan was a unique man with diverse interests. He would've loved it. Rest in Peace, Stan, we hardly knew ye.


  1. What a great tribute. Sounds like a wonderful man - and what a great smile!

  2. Thatʻs what friends are for. To love, inspire, support, appreciate, then love some more.