In May we shared the news of Patt Rempel’s passing. The Rempel family has now provided details of a memorial service for Patt, and a touching letter written by Sue Rempel, Patt and Warren’s daughter.
Invitation: A Celebration of Patt’s Life
Aug 11, 2018 at 1:00pm
Montview Blvd Presbyterian Church
1980 Dahlia St, Denver CO 80220
A celebration of Patt’s life and a sharing of memories will be held in the Fellowship Hall downstairs, which will be followed by a light meal and time together.
My beautiful, sweet mom, Patt Wylder Rempel, took her last breath just before 2:00am on May 9, 2018. She gave us all the gift of asking friends and family to visit her in her last days. They shared stories, sang, prayed, chanted, and sat quietly with her. Those who couldn’t travel to Denver called on the phone and said goodbye as I held it to her ear.
Her final two days were quiet and peaceful. I stayed with her, and was blessed to be with her as she gently took her last breath. She was peaceful and filled with grace. As she stopped breathing and released her body, she smiled a beautiful smile. I know she also remains here in her family and friends and everyone whose life she touched.
There is a song that her Thich Nhat Hanh meditation group often sang that feels like an appropriate way to send her off into the next phase of her journey:
No Coming. No Going. No After. No Before. I hold you close to me. I release you to be free. Because I am in you and you are in me…. because I am in you… and you are in me.
Our dear friend, Joseph, who was also one of her caregivers in her last year, came soon after mom had let go to sing, chant, and play his beautiful Native American flute to help carry her soul on its journey. She seemed as happy in her departure from this earth as she was living on it. She often told me this past year, “I’m 89 years old. I have been blessed with a wonderful life, wonderful children, wonderful grandchildren, and wonderful friends. I am now ready to go whenever God is ready to take me.” She missed dad and Scott, my brother who died of AIDS when he was only 36. She said she looked forward to being with them again. I think that she got her wish.
Mom taught us how precious life is by loving and caring for others, forgiving those who caused suffering, treating all beings with dignity and love, serving others, and shining love and light on all. Mom had such a big, compassionate heart. She loved everyone.
Mom was a beautiful, elegant, kind woman who was born into a well-to-do doctor’s family. She grew up in Albuquerque, went to Ward Belmont prep school in Nashville, and attended UNM in Albuquerque where she met dad at church youth group. She went to Bishop Johnson College of Nursing in Los Angeles for nursing school where she realized that she was in love with dad. She returned to New Mexico after getting her BSN. They were married and began their life together. Dad grew up in a poorer neighborhood, and they often said: “we grew up on opposite sides of the tracks, but we knew our love was strong and our faith always guided us in everything we did.”
Mom worked throughout her life as a nurse. She also worked alongside dad, fighting for civil rights, for peace and social justice, to help those living with HIV/AIDS, and to help ensure that all beings have enough food, shelter, and safety. Our family moved around over the years – living in Manhattan, KS, Denver, CO, Boston, MA, Heidelberg, Germany and Grand Lake, CO. We spent time in Japan and many trips to Mexico on intercultural work camps. Mom and dad traveled all over the world. Her last international trip was Feb 2018 to celebrate her 89th birthday. George and I took her to Puebla, Mexico to be with our Mexican family for a baptism of her Mexican great-grandson and to celebrate mom’s 89th birthday. It was one of her final wishes. She loved every minute of it!
Mom spent 52 summers building Shadowcliff Life Center (now called Shadowcliff Mountain Lodge) with dad in Grand Lake, CO and serving as co-director along with countless volunteers who gave their time and energy to help them build their dream of a spiritual retreat center open to all. In their words, Shadowcliff represents “The nameless, faceless crowd in which we are all entangled, leads each of us to seek a new world of meaning in which we can discover once again what it means to be a person…To offer persons seeking a renewal of Spirit the sacred atmosphere of this quiet retreat. To find in this sanctuary of the Rockies a new rhythm of life—the rhythm that nature herself enjoins us to rediscover and restore to our own being.”
In Shadowcliff, mom and dad tried to “create on these few acres of God’s beautiful earth, a special environment—a spiritual culture—that embraces inclusiveness and acceptance, and a proclamation of the universality of God’s human family and the sacredness of all creation.” Shadowcliff is their life’s work and giving it away allowed it to continue their legacy into the future.
She was involved in other service throughout her life, including PEO, Bread for the World, PFLAG, League of Women Voters, and Women’s Society of Christian Service. She mentored and offered support and counseling to Pi Phi and international students, and demonstrated in support of anti-nuclear and peace concerns. Mom gave to countless charities, her church, and her sangha. She believed in sharing generously what she had with others. In her last year she still attended PEO, weekly church services, and her Thich Nhat Hanh sangha meditation group. In her last year she attended benefits in support of Standing Rock and other causes. She was an inspiration to us all.
Thank-you to all of you who loved mom, supported her and offered her life meaning over the years. She was eternally grateful to all of you and our family is grateful, too! There will be another memorial service and spreading of her ashes next summer in Grand Lake- probably late July. When everything gets confirmed we will let you know!
Love to you,
Sue and the Rempel Family
Mom and Dad requested an endowment be set up to assure the financial security to support Shadowcliff into the future. We are working with the Board of Directors to set up an endowment in Mom and Dad’s names. If anyone wishes to send a donation, please send it IN HONOR OF PATT AND WARREN REMPEL ENDOWMENT, so it goes into the right fund to help support their wishes. If you have already sent in a donation and did not designate it, just let us know so we can put it in the right account. We ask that donations be sent in lieu of flowers.
Please make checks payable to Shadowcliff, noting “Warren and Patt Rempel Endowment” on the memo line, and mail to:
Shadowcliff Mountain Lodge
PO Box 658
Grand Lake, CO 80447
Questions? Please contact Sue Rempel, 913-484-6890