Kathleen Anne (Gleason) Biggiam

We have gathered here to lay to rest the earthly remains of Kathleen Anne Gleason Biggiam.

Kathleen was born to Glenn Gleason and Mary Anne Gill Gleason Ruth on May 29, 1959. Kate married Harold Biggiam on October 2, 1987, they later divorced.
She received her education from LaHarpe Community Schools, graduating from high school in 1977. Her education continued at Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg, IL, graduating with a degree in nursing in 1979. She enjoyed a thirty year career as a medical secretary at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Galesburg.
She is Survived by her is daughter Lindsey (Jason) and granddaughter Alexis Kristine Huston all of Victoria, IL, former husband Hal of Galesburg,
Her mother Mary Anne Ruth and her friend, Waleri’ Neumann of Ft. Myers, FL,
Her brother, Dr. Martin “Marty” Charles (Julie) Gleason her nephew and niece Scott and Emily Gleason all of Fairfield, IA.
Her nieces and nephews Nicole Anne (Ball) Coyle and children, Tatum, Trevor and Tanner of East Peoria,
Shawn Ball of San Diego, CA,
Joshua (Jen) Ball and their children: Alanna and Cole of Washington State.
She was preceded in death by her sister Linda Kay (Gleason) Ball on September 3, 2005. And her father, Glenn LaVerne Gleason who died in 2010.

Today we look for comfort so we turn to the Word of God

The Lord said, (Isa 41:10)
do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Jesus told us,

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

This is our basis of hope today: God’s promise. This is where our strength comes from in time of loss. So it is to the Lord we turn today. Please pray with me.

Father, it is hard for us to comprehend how quickly life can to change. One minute there is laughter and the next a painful silence. Father, at this time when our emotions are so raw, help us to catch a glimpse of what is beyond the sadness. At this time when we feel so all alone help us to feel your presence. Draw us close to You, our Father. Amen

In some ways Kathleen died the way most of us would like to die. You have a great day of celebrating with your family and enjoying your grand-daughter, you lay down to sleep, and wake up in eternity.

However, it’s not so easy for the family. From your perspective a light has been turned out in life. From what I remember and have heard from others “Kate” was filled with life and energy. She was the master of the one-liner and was always up for an adventure. Life was not easy for her but she made the best of what she had. She enjoyed her job and worked hard as a Medical Secretary at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Galesburg. She wasn’t afraid to be who she was, or to share what she thought about things. She enjoyed people and loved her family. Kathleen’s greatest joy in life was her daughter Lindsay and her grand-daughter Alexis. Spending time with them filled her life with sunshine.

Kathleen loved dancing (when she was healthy she was often the first one out on the dance floor). She was a big sports fan rooting for the Cubs and the Bears (which of course means she was also a person of great endurance). When she was young she was an important part of the Followers singing group where she always kept the mood light. She loved planning fun activities. She enjoyed traveling, especially to Hawaii, Las Vegas and Florida. In short, she made an impact on everyone she met.
She departs this world much too soon, but we can say she made the most of the life she had.

Today in the midst of a feeling of shock and emptiness we can’t help but ask ultimate questions that we often push to the side such as: “Is this all there is?” “Is there any reason for hope?”

Instinctively we know that there must be more. When someone dies we immediately talk about heaven. We know that life only has meaning when there is more to life than what we see here.

The Bible tells us that what we believe instinctively is true. However, the Bible does not say that everyone goes to Heaven. It says everyone who puts genuine faith in Jesus goes to Heaven. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ died to give us the opportunity to be right with God. What we do with that opportunity is up to us. The truth is that only God knows what was in Kathleen’s heart just as He knows what is in our hearts. Our eternity is not anchored to our behavior (thankfully), our reputation, or our social standing. Our eternal destiny hangs only on Christ. If we truly put our trust in Him we will live richer lives now and we will also live even though we die.

It is tempting to think that thoughts of life beyond the grave are just wishful thinking; a way of coping with loss. However, the reason we can trust what the Bible says is because Jesus Himself came back from the dead. I don’t know about you, but I am inclined to believe someone who was dead for three days and came back to vibrant life. Jesus said there is life beyond the grave, and He seems to be a very credible witness. These aren’t the words of a philosopher or even a religious leader; they are the words of an credible eyewitness.

So as we stand here today in sadness I hope we can move beyond despair to hope.
If you read a great book you are always a little sad when you come to the last page. However, when it is the first in a series of books you don’t mourn for long. You look with anticipation for the sequel. This feels like the end of all the stories with Kathleen, however, it is really just the end of this volume.

So we comfort each other in loss even as we seek to encourage each other in faith. May God help us to live our lives with the spirit with which Kathleen lived her life. May we use this opportunity to address the essential issues of faith and to identify where we can find hope. And finally, may we find strength from each other and feel God’s big strong arms around us.

Let’s pray together,

Our Father, we mourn. We find ourselves not wanting to walk away because we don’t want to leave Kathleen behind. Yet, at the same time we recognize that Kathleen is not here. Her story in this life is over and a new story is being written. We thank you for the life which was lived even as we look forward to the reunion we anticipate in the future. Please grant comfort and strength to her family we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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