Obituary for Colleen Lister
Thank you for being here to celebrate the life of Colleen Lister. From here on I’ll refer to her by her nick name 2 Bit … don’t ask where it came from we have no clue.
So this will be a brief highlight reel of 2 bit’s life. I say brief not because her life wasn’t full, but more because I’ve always felt talks like this are always best when they’re short, simple and right from the heart … so here we go.
Just an FYI ... if my voice quivers or crumbles, don’t worry about, I’ll recover and we’ll get through it
When 2 bit passed, my mind was flooded with all kinds of thoughts. Initially, I was overwhelmed with sadness, partly because I was too focused on her later years while she was in decline. But thankfully the spirit moved and I began to think about the total picture. And I saw a long, productive and fruitful life well lived.
2 Bit was born in Aug 1929 in Roanoke AL. She was one of 7 siblings (#5 of 7) born to Henry and Fannie Lou Moore. They were raised on a farm in the depression era, so not an easy luxurious upbringing to say the least. We heard sometimes they would get a piece of fruit for Christmas. She went off to school and eventually married my father, Charles, in 1957. She had me in 1958 and Renee in 1965.
Here are a few memories & life lessons:
When Renee and I were kids, I played a lot of baseball, football, swim team. Renee was a cheerleader, swimmer, and band member. 2 Bit was always there to take us all over creation. Even in football where we had 2 practices per day, she was there. One of my fondest memories: after football practice, she would take me to the 7 Eleven store to get me a Slurpee and Slim Jim. Lesson – little things matter a lot.
One day as a kid I caused a little trouble in the neighborhood. 2 Bit got a call from the neighbor and not a good call. I got clobbered on the head with the heel of a hard shoe … all I remember is seeing stars literally. In today's world, I would’ve been in concussion protocol. But I didn’t do it again. For whatever reason, we called this getting scobbed. I looked up the word scobb up in the dictionary and there’s no such word, but basically, it’s getting the hell knocked out of your head with anything hard. Lesson – discipline is good for us all, especially kids.
In high school I suffered an injury to my kidney during summer football practice before my senior year. But I wanted to resume playing later in the year and I made a super big deal about it … it was devastating to me at the time. But what I didn’t understand was that if I happened to injury the other kidney, the injured one might not carry the load and it could be life-threatening. I was young, focused on the here and now, but thankfully my Mom and Dad overruled me and it literally might have saved my life. Lesson – Be committed to doing the right thing for the long term even if it results in short-term disappointment.
When I graduated high school, I wanted to go to UGA. My Dad who paid all the bills, wanted me to go to junior college for 2 years, then to UGA. 2 Bit spoke up on my behalf, and eventually, my Dad changed his mind, and I was allowed to go. I think back on that often & wonder how different my life would be had I not gone. Lesson – Understand there’s a time to speak up or stand up like 2 Bit, and understand there’s a time to back off, like my Dad.
In her middle age years, 2 Bit played tennis, walked a lot, loved to travel, going to Europe, Rocky Mountain National Park, Bahamas, among other places. Lesson – an active lifestyle often correlates to good mental and physical health.
In 1979 at age of 55, my Dad passed unexpectedly. While 2 Bit went through some hard times, she picked herself up and showed amazing resilience as she re-created a new life. She got involved in various women’s groups like Egress for widows. She loved to go to singles dances sponsored by groups like Solo’s, where she would go “shake her tail” as we called it. She was in a walking group called Road Runners. In later years she was involved with NTO group. And she got involved in a program through Embry Hills United Methodist Church called Snax Sax for Kids, which provides weekend healthy snack bags to local elementary schools throughout the year for food-insecure children. Lesson – never feel sorry for yourself, keep a positive attitude, and keep on going, offering help to the community
2 Bit exhibited a quiet, but strong faith in God. One sure-fire way to tell this was her consistent financial gifts to her church. I say this because growing up poor, she had had a very frugal mindset, and I know she didn’t write checks easily. But it was one way to demonstrate her faith was real. Lesson – actions speak louder than words.
2 Bit was very well organized with her will, finances, and estate information. She and my Dad were very good stewards of their money. I had an attorney look over her information one time and his comment was “she’s amazing” referring to her organization in this area. Lesson – details matter.
2 Bit was uniquely devoted to her family. One thing that stood out was she had a sister that never left their country home, was a bit of a loner. 2 Bit was always visiting her, and when the sister had to go to a nursing home, 2 Bit stood closely by her. Another example, there was some family friction one time which was headed for some division … she spoke up and made her opinion known that you never, ever give up on family. That really stuck w me.
This modeling of family devotion served her well, coming full circle. Because Renee has been a real blessing to her the last several years. Renee has been an absolute saint, taking her to social outings, church & other places when she couldn’t drive. And when things got tough the last couple of weeks she was pretty much a full-time caregiver as her condition deteriorated. There has to be a special place in Heaven for people like that. Lesson – in worldly terms, we would say what goes around comes around. In Biblical terms, God would say you reap what you sow. I believe this is true most of the time, and certainly all the time in God’s economy.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my main regret in my relationship w Mom – I lacked patience sometimes. There were times when I was too much in my world and not enough in hers. And unfortunately, even though I tried to hide it a bit, I think she knew it. That really pains me greatly. Lesson – Cut back on my personal to-do list and get in their world. And if I were to rephrase the fruits of the spirit for myself, it would read: “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self- Control…and add a double dose of patience."
I’ll leave it w this thought. As I continue to reflect & process all this, I think the thing I’ll remember most is how much she loved, cherished and stood by her family, no matter what. That will be her greatest legacy. And I want to double down on my personal desire and efforts to carry that legacy into the future. That would please her and honor her. Although I’m not exactly sure what that will mean, God willing, I will commit to carrying her legacy into the future.
I thank the Lord for her blessings, her life lessons, and a life well-lived.