I first would like to say thank you to my wife Josie, my pastor Bruce, and the entire Apt family. I knew this was not going to be easy but you, your love, prayers and supports this week really got me through, thanks.
Today we gather here to mourn the loss of Ila May Apt, but we also come together to celebrate her life, not just here with us, but more importantly, her eternal life because of her faith in Jesus.
When our hearts grieve this loss and the pain is tough, we need something to hold on to. Let’s turn to these great words from God’s Word
Psalm 23 (NIV)
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Ila May Apt, 91 of LaHarpe IL, died at 12:15am Sunday, October 12, 2003 at Heartland Health Care center in Macomb.
Ila was born in Henderson County, IL the daughter of (DAD) Christian Herman and Winifred Louden Brandt.
On June 15TH 1933, She married Franklin Apt in Macomb. He died Jan, 24th 1974.
Ila lived on the farm most her life. She raised poultry, sold eggs, and helped in the field. She also was a seamstress and sewed many wedding dresses. Ila was salutatorian of the class 1930 of Terre Haute high school in IL.
She was a member of the United Methodist Church of LaHarpe, the United Methodist Woman’s Group, and was a former member of the Thursday club of Terre Haute.
Ila loved to travel and spent several winters in Mesa, Arizona
Survivors include 3 daughters, Joan Horner Monmouth, Helen Rodefer Springfield, Judy Mueller LaHarpe; 2 sons Richard and Charles Apt of LaHarpe; 13 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; 1 brother, Lyle Brandt Sun City Arizona; and several nieces and nephews.
Besides her husband Frank, Ila was preceded in death by her parents, 3 sisters, 1 brother, 1granddaughter, and 2 nephews.
Will you stand with me as we ask the Lord to help us?
Our father, humbly we come before you today. The sting of death no matter what the circumstance still hurts. Lord, we seek you first and foremost. We ask for your comfort. Lord Jesus I especially ask for your love and peace to be placed in the hearts of Joan, Helen, Judy, Richard, Charles, let them feel your presence, your comfort when the hurt wants to overtake their emotions. Help them, help us all in the name of our savior Jesus, Amen.
The hurt of losing a loved one never comes easy whether it is someone of Ila’s age, 91, or someone in their early years.
When preparing for this service I found me asking myself. What was her legacy? What did she leave behind? We know she had 5 children, 13 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. That was the easy part. How will we remember her? There are so many thoughts and so little time to share the life of Ila, grandma Ila.
Let’s reflect back over her life.
First and foremost Ila loved Jesus. She saw to it that all of her children went to Sunday school and church every Sunday. She even taught Sunday School. Ila and Frank instilled Christian values into their children. She always seemed to have “That preacher” on the TV when we called or stopped by and could quote scripture with the best of them. Ila was a christian.
Her best years had to have been on the farm. She could do everything or just about. If she wasn’t raising those chickens, she was in the garden growing potatoes and green beans. The standard meal fried chicken (why did Charles get the wishbone?), mashed potatoes, green beans and we can’t forget dessert, a pie or a cake. If it was on the farm Ila would throw it together and it would taste good and if it didn’t she’d let you know. She bragged on her cooking. You don’t think Ila was a little outspoken, do you?
Saturday mornings were the best on the farm. The smell of cinnamon rolls filled the house. The girls would clean while the boys tended to their chores or whatever they were doing. Nothing like a break and stuffing your face with mom’s cinnamon rolls. Charles always had to have the middle piece. You don’t think that maybe Charles was the favorite, do you?
Her sewing kept her busy for years and added a little income too. Many a customers would come out to the farm to have alterations done and clothes sewn. From a beautiful wedding dress to, well, lets just say an interesting jacket (right Boyd), to swing choir dresses, to warm flannel pj’s, to curtains. Ila did it all.
But sometimes she did forget to take those pins out of the clothes and oh, did that hurt to find those when you were sitting down in church.
She got the most out of life never sitting down and always on the go.
Well, there was one exception. The only time that she would take time out would be that Sunday afternoon nap. That was a day of rest after she had fixed a big dinner.
Now supper was on your own just for that one day. She taught the kids how to work Her chickens that she raised from small chicks, the eggs that needed to be gathered daily (Joan, did you know where the coop was?) and the days that they dressed the chickens to freeze.
She taught the kids how to pull the heads off the chickens using a hoe handle, scald, singe and pluck the feathers and, of course, cut them open and takes their guts out. This was all in a days work for her, never complaining. Helen said it best. It never seemed like work for her, just a part of having fun.
Ila was quite the sports fan too. Taking time out of a busy schedule to play kick the can or playing softball with her kids in her housecoat. (Now she had to roll the ball to Judy though). She was a Cubs fan and if we could hear her now from heaven she’d probably say, hey guys, guess what happens to the Cubs tonight?
Ila was the best. A strong steady woman with a firm hand but a soft heart. Those firm hands would milk the cows, pull a bull snake from the out house and make any thing you could imagine: jewelry, lace collars, flowers, and rain bonnets. She would even be found in the field until the work was done.
There wasn’t anything she couldn’t do or wouldn’t at least try.
When Ila took time out she was involved with the Thursday Club. This made her children happy because she always would come home with mints and nuts. This was a real treat.
Ila wasn’t too fond of pets but the family did have a horse named Sam and a dog. Sam, don’t you feel honored?
Ila wasn’t shy about a paddle or two or was that a yardstick, Charles and Richard? She was the disciplinarian of the family. Now, the children did what their dad told them to do, but if you did not listen to Mom she would let you know she was upset with a slap up side your head. She was a great mom!
Ila not only had 5 children but also grew fondly of her son and daughter’s in law, Eldon, Sam, Boyd, Janet and Claudia. They could all say that Ila treated them as if they were her own children.
Ila had a few favorite sayings: “I’ll weigh heavy in the morning, they don’t know sick’m, Pretty is as pretty does.”
Grandma Ila, as she was to her 13 grandchildren and 21 great grand children was a strong family presence. Whether it was graduation, a birthday party, a wedding, or a new little baby. She loved any kind of family get together. Grandma Ila was always there.
Grandma was known to teach a few grandchildren how to drive. Were they even 16 yet? Could they see over the wheel?
She would travel across the states visiting grandchildren or taking them on trips with her. She loved her travels and loved sharing about her wonderful family everywhere she went. In her later years and her travels to Mesa, Arizona her family was still not far from her heart. I remember when Josie and I were in Arizona and grandma came out with the rest of the snowbirds. Grandma had us come over to visit all her friends at the Center. She was so proud of her family.
Grandma thought about each and every family member. She always had something to say about each one of them (usually good). She kept up on what everyone was involved in and how the kids were. How about we go out for pizza or as Grandma Ila would say pizzzzzzza. By the way what is pizzzzzzza. “I’ll drive. Oh, no Grandma we can drive. That’s ok. Grandma always had to go somewhere. But just talking with Grandma was the best.
She continued to sew and alter clothes for the grandchildren throughout the years even after she moved to town. Always, willing to help wherever she could, asking for nothing in return, except a good conversation.
A person in the community recently told Charles that they thought Ila was a proud women. She was. She was proud of her family, her grandchildren, and her great grand children. She lived a long and prosperous life.
Lets take a moment to reflect on some snap shots of her life:
- Life on the farm
- Evenings of softball in the front yard
- The sound of that easy chair
- broken yardsticks
- the smell of cinnamon rolls and applesauce
- my first car
- the slide projector on the stairs
- crawling into a warm bed because the electric blanket would be turned on
- Pins in the sewing room carpet / learning quickly that you don’t go in barefoot
- the apple tree….oh, that apple tree and all the stories that went with it
- her travels
- hey, Joe, those windows
- Up on the House Top
- play cars and that yellow track
- sweets….so that’s where we all got that love for sweets
- trimming the shrubs
- mowing the yard
- The waving a $20 bill from the front window as you continued to work in the yard
- sharing her lunch meal will all 3 of us so that we would just stay a little longer
- opening Christmas gifts
- her laugh
- her smile
There is so much more that I could say about our Grandma Ila. But we all say thanks for what legacy she left behind and may we keep with us her Godly values and zest for life.
When faced with a death of a friend, or family member we can take refuge in Gods word.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (NIV)
Our Heavenly Dwelling
5 Now we know that when the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 We live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Paul knew the Corinthians were wondering how he could endure so many hardships and difficulties (see 4:8-10), so he outlined his hope: the resurrection of his body to heavenly glory.
Paul said his hope was in Jesus and the reward of spending eternity with him.
ONE CHAPTER BEFORE IN 2 COR 4:8 PAUL SAID, WE ARE PRESSED ON EVERY SIDE BY TROUBLES, BUT WE ARE Not CRUSHED AND BROKEN. WE ARE PREPLEXED, BUT WE DON’T GIVE UP AND QUIT
We may feel a great deal like this today. It’s been a tough few weeks. But even though we may feel crushed and broken, we do not lose hope. Paul reminds us that our hope is found in Jesus Christ.
He tells us that we can know one thing for sure: we will all die. We can’t escape it. It’s going to happen to all of us.
4:6-8 SAYS WE DON’T HAVE TO FACE DEATH AFRAID WE CAN BE CONFIDENT.
Paul was confident because He trusted Jesus Christ. He believed God’s promise that there is life beyond the grave for anyone who puts his or her trust in the Savior will have eternal life with him.
I know these words sound like wishful thinking, but they are based on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Because He lives, we also can live.
For if you truly believe in Christ, death is just a prelude to eternal life with God. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul said, “for me to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Phil 1:21) I wonder if that’s the way Grandma Ila felt these last couple of weeks. She seemed unafraid to die and yet I know she wanted to remain with her family. She was ready to meet Jesus but she wanted to see her Grandchildren grow up too.
I have to be honest, the Bible doesn’t say that everyone goes to Heaven when they die. The Bible says only those who put their trust in Jesus go the Heaven.
Let this hope, hope in Jesus give you confidence and inspire you to faithful service.
V: 9-10 OUR AIM TO PLEASE HIM.
Paul said, because of this belief, he was going to live his life to please the Lord. Paul wasn’t trying to earn eternal life, eternal life is a free gift from God, and you can’t earn it. From my readings of the bible It’s pretty simple: you put your faith in Jesus and trust him with all your heart.
ROMANS 10:9-10 says it best if you confess with your mouth and believe with your heart that JESUS died on the cross for you sins. And that God the father raised him from the dead you shall be saved.
That’s how you aim to please God. The bible says we will stand before God one day. Each of us will have to give an account of our lives. We will have to answer the question: Where have you put your trust and faith? Did we trust ourselves (a bad idea) or did we trust Jesus. If we want to make it through this judgment, we must trust in Jesus.
I know that this has been a difficult couple of weeks. I commend you for the love you showed to Grandma Ila. You honored her wishes as to how she wanted to die. You showed selfless love. It would have been easier for you to keep her longer, but that was not what was best for her.
Today, I believe Grandma Ila is with Jesus. I am convinced that she had placed her faith and trust in Jesus and He was Lord of her life. I will always remember praying with her in the hospital. We rejoiced in her faith even in that difficult time.
I believe Grandma Ila is better off now. I believe she has heard these great words from Jesus: WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. That is what we all should strive to hear from our LORD, WELL DONE.
Grandma lived to please God. She put her faith in Jesus and there is no doubt in my mind that she heard those words we all want to hear, WELL DONE ILA, WELL DONE ILA here is your reward.
Grandma you’ll be missed, but I know your having the time of your life, eternal life
Our father we thank you for Grandma Ila. We thank you for what she left us. Help us all to always remember her life as a believer and the reward of spending eternity with you. Be with us in our time of sorrow and heal our pain.