Becky Fleischer was a member of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection for over thirty years. She maintained a special relationship with three pastors – Streng, Zorn, and Kelly – and with many members of the congregation throughout that time. Several months before her death, August 2, 2018, Becky shared with me that she was leaving a legacy gift to the church from her estate.
On Mother’s Day, as we read the story of Tabitha (Acts 9:36 ff.), the only named female “disciple” in the entire New Testament, it seemed appropriate for us to publicly acknowledge Becky’s gift to our church. The presentation was made by the eldest of Becky’s five children, Suzanne Montgomery, during the 9:30 a.m. worship service. Walking in the footsteps of Tabitha, Becky sets an example of faithfulness, generosity, and stewardship to encourage and inspire every one of us. The majority of Becky’s gift has been given to our Endowment Fund. Every time that we make a disbursement of funds from the Endowment Fund, Becky’s faith will be remembered. The remainder of the gift was given to LCR’s music ministry, one of Becky’s true joys in life. A transcript of Suzanne’s presentation during worship follows.
Good morning. I would like to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who are worshiping here today, and it is my pleasure to be with you. This morning I am here representing my family and to celebrate my mother, Becky Fleischer, by honoring her wishes. This is my first Mother's Day without her, and I feel it is an appropriate day to be here - doing this and thinking of her. The church, and more specifically the Lutheran church, has always been a part of my mother's life. She attended the Lutheran church in Tipp City, Ohio, when she was growing up, and actually, when she was in high school, she accompanied the service on the piano. My parents were married in that church after my Mom graduated from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. A little over two years later, I was baptized in that church.
My mother took us to church when we were growing up, although it was Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church. My father never really attended church except on very special occasions like Christmas Eve, our weddings, and funerals, so whatever religious education we received was due to our Mom's effort. Even though we attended Mt. Washington Presbyterian, she never forgot her Lutheran upbringing. When we all left home, she began attending Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. I am not quite sure how many years Mom has been a member here, but I believe it was at least thirty and maybe a few more.
The church sustained her through many of life's joys and tragedies - marriages of children, births of grandchildren; the loss of her father, her mother, brothers, sisters-in law, our own father, and two sons-in-law. But more importantly, Pastor Zorn, Pastor Nicole, and the congregation walked with her and us during the most difficult time of her life. In the summer of 2017, she received a diagnosis of lung cancer. She bravely chose not to have treatment and was given only a few months to live, but she continued on for a little more than a year.
She was absolutely amazing during that time. During that year, she celebrated her 90th birthday with the help of this congregation. I will never forget what all of you did. Many of you rallied to our request of sending birthday cards. For the month of February leading up to her birthday on March 3, she received a card at least every day it seemed, and sometimes more. It was as if she was celebrating her birthday every day leading up to her birthday. And on the day of her birthday, my sisters and I attended church with our Mom, which was possibly the last time, and we celebrated with cake and ice cream in the Fellowship Hall after worship. Pastor Zorn presented her with a twelve-pack of beer, because he had learned from us that she drank one beer a day, every day, declaring that must be her secret to long life. All in good fun! That's what fellowship in a church is all about: showing love not only in the good times, but also in the difficult ones.
So today I am honoring my Mom and honoring the second of her bequests. The first was presented to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, where my parents first met. This church and its congregation were a vital part of our mom's life, and she wanted to remember you and everything you do. So, with that being said, I would like to present this bequest to Pastor Zorn, on behalf of our Mom, Dad, and family, to do whatever good work Christ directs you to do. My Mom would like that.
Thank you, Pastor Zorn and Pastor Nicole, for allowing me to share this with the congregation on Mother's Day. It is a special moment for me to remember my Mom.