Tuesday, February 14, 2012

John and Frances Glessner: A Love Story

John and Frances Glessner were married for nearly 62 years and shared an extraordinarly close and loving relationship.  A few months after Frances Glessner died in October 1932, John wrote a loving tribute to his wife and helpmate.  Several copies were printed and bound in elegant blue leather, complete with slipcase, which were presented to family and intimate friends.   In honor of Valentine’s Day, we present a few excerpts from that tribute.

She was a home-maker, a home-preserver – that was her first ambition, that was her most desired and profound success.  But the home was not to be confined within its own four walls.  It was to bring other friends within its sweet influence.  She was a home-making woman who sought not public applause.  Wherever she went she took her workbag and work-basket and hung them in the room where she was, even in the sleeping cars, and they made the room a home.  These are not idle words: they are true in every sense.

She was attentive to her obligations in every Society or Association of which she was a member: she was never known to neglect any duty, however disagreeable it might be.

She was a broad-minded, generous, charitable woman – admirable in every way, with all feminine graces and attributes.  She was not a worldly woman, never vaunted herself, always ready with some helpful suggestions; ready to share her good fortune with those less fortunate – a woman of strong individuality, a rare character.  Everybody who came in contact with her admired her.

A day or two before the funeral came this verse by mail, with nothing to identify the author except that it was in Mrs. Paul Shorey’s envelope:
“The crowding memories of the past,
The bonds of love that cannot end,
The ties that life and death outlast,
To such as these, no words can lend.
The essence still eludes the will,
Finite and infinite cannot blend,
Our grateful hearts can but distil
The simple words, ---
She was Our Friend.

At the regular concerts of Thursday evening and Friday afternoon, October 20 and 21, Mr. Stock added to the program, out of respect for her, Bach’s wonderful Chorale Prelude, very impressive, after which the Orchestra and audience stood for a few minutes in silence.

And now her busy hands are still; her active brain is quiet; her heart and soul have passed beyond this earthly sphere.  None knew her but to love her, none named her but to praise.

What would she have thought could she have stood beside me and looked down at that placid countenance in its last sleep.  It was dignified.  It was impressive.  It was lovely.  It was not the same.  Its spirit had fled.

After sixty-two years of happy married life, no tribute that I can offer seems adequate to her merit.  Rarely shall we look upon her like again.

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