Sunday, December 20, 2009


Have you ever met someone with a personality that sparkled? A person who made you feel like you were the most interesting, most important person in the world? Aunt Tressa had such a way about her! Whenever I spent time with her, I felt like she thought I was the most special person in the world. I suspect that my siblings - and everyone else who interacted with her - probably felt the same way. I honestly don't know how she did it. Perhaps it was just her sincere interest in people, especially in those she loved.

Aunt Tressa is Tressa (Doyle) Wilson, my father's half-sister. They shared the same father, Gust Doyle, but different mothers. Aunt Tressa was named for Gust's mother and her own grandmother, Tressa Rose (Froman) Doyle.

Though she was short, perhaps not more than 5' tall, every inch of Aunt Tressa was packed with enthusiasm, energy, and joy. She once told me that whatever work she had to do, she just decided that she would enjoy it. And I believe she did!

Aunt Tressa provided me with generations of names and dates, and the stories to bring my family to life. I met my grandfather, Gust Doyle, and his parents, William and Tressa (Froman) Doyle, through her. I'm so very grateful for her generosity in sharing her memories and for the time she took to do it. On one visit, she gave my daughters and me a tour of the farm where she and my father and their father grew up, sharing stories, memories, and answering our questions; she took us to the cemetery and showed us the graves of family members whose memories I hope to preserve; she shared photographs that I treasure; and she gave us a tour of Stoneboro, where she and my dad grew up.

I am also grateful to her for her enthusiasm, her love of life, and her great example. I cherish the memory of having an aunt like her. If she were still with us, she would be celebrating her 88th birthday. She passed away from cancer a few years ago at much too young an age. What a loss to those of us still here. I miss her.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Tressa!

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