Marcella "Sally" Seng
Saturday, June 26, 2004
12:00 PM until 7:00 PM
214 E. 7th Street
Jasper, IN 47546
Monday, June 28, 2004
Jasper, IN 47546
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|Becher – Kluesner Funeral Home, Inc.
Dateline Jasper, Indiana
Marcella R. Seng
Marcella R. “Sally” Seng, age 94, died Thursday, June 24th at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in Jasper, Indiana. She was born in Jasper on February 16, 1910. Her parents were John and Helen (Guckes) Bohnert. She married Carl Seng on November 20, 1934. They were married for 56 years before Carl preceded her in death on April 29, 1990. She was also preceded in death by son Robert and daughter-in-law Vivian in 1980, and a grandson Christopher in 1988.
She is survived by a son, Jerry (and Ann) of Evansville, a daughter, Karla (and Dan) Loftus of Nashville, Tennessee, seven grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.
Grandchildren: Kris Seng McGill, Phil Seng, Rebecca Seng Fitzmaurice, Angie Seng Spivey, Kate Loftus Riley, Abbie Loftus DeBlasis, and Laura Loftus.
Great-grandchildren: Aaron, Justin, and Jennifer Seng; Nathan, Miriam, and Rachael McGill; Alex and Anna Spivey; John Paul and Gregory Fitzmaurice.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, from noon to 7 pm at Becher-Kluesner Downtown Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. at Precious Blood Parish on Monday, June 28.
Memorial contributions may be made to Precious Blood Parish or Indiana Right to Life.
Sally was born February 16, 1910 in Jasper, one of ten children to John and Helen (Guckes) Bohnert. She graduated from St. Joseph Grade School, where she won county honors in the eighth grade. Sally was a member of the first Girl Scout Troop in Indiana. She began dating Carl Seng during the Great Depression. Carl was a boxer while they were dating, and as the middleweight champion of the Midwest, showed great promise for a future in boxing. However, Sally hated the fact that he was a boxer, and so she told him he would have to quit the ring if he wanted to marry her. Being the intelligent man he was, Carl hung up his gloves, married Sally, and never looked back. They were married Nov 20, 1934. They took their honeymoon to Niagara Falls.
Sally loved her family, and was fiercely proud of them--her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren especially. She loved to play cards with her grandkids. Her favorite game was “Steal-a-Pile,” and she was not one to let the kids win, either! She would get a big twinkle in her eye whenever she was able to steal everyone’s cards right at the end of the game.
Food was an important part of any trip to Sally’s house, and she was an outstanding cook. Particular family favorites were her baked ham and fried potatoes, German potato salad, chili with noodles, and awesome apple and pumpkin pie. She was very proud of her made-from-scratch pie crusts, and with good reason. There were never any leftovers. Another longstanding family culinary tradition was fried pork sausage after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. The following morning usually found the young children/grandchildren eating powdered sugar donuts, “tractor tire” donuts, and butterscotch danishes from Haller’s bakery. It was always a joyful time.
A time-honored New Year’s tradition was to mix up a big batch of “Seng New Year’s Punch” (ingredients a closely-guarded family secret), drink freely for a few hours, and then after the requisite ringing in of the new year, get the whole clan to go outside the house and “bark at the dogs” in the neighborhood. After a few cups of punch, Sally was an especially enthusiastic participant! The dogs were never the same.
Summertime get-togethers were usually around a charcoal grill and picnic tables at the house Carl and Sally built on West 6th Street in Jasper. These events almost always involved intense and hard-fought whiffle ball games in the large backyard, with the pine trees making the right field line and the mimosa tree near home plate. Sally could occasionally be coerced into taking a few swings with the bat, and sons Jerry and Bob would usually make strategically placed fielding errors to allow her to get on base. In fact, more often than not, if Sally made contact with the ball, the result was an inside-the-park homerun. It took years for the grandchildren to figure out why the fielding suddenly went to pot when Sally came to bat!
In the later years of their marriage, Carl and Sally had the opportunity to travel to some exotic locations, including Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada. Sally loved to travel, and listening to her enthusiastic descriptions of their adventures was a treat for the whole family. By her own admission, one of the highlights of her life was shaking the hand of Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on a trip to Rome in 1980. She and Carl were standing along the parade route, and as the Popemobile approached, it came to a stop and the Pope stepped out right in front of them. He came straight over and took Sally’s hand. She stammered out “Viva Papa!” No matter how many times she told and retold the story over the years, her face and expression always confirmed how deeply that event touched her. She claimed that after shaking the Pope’s hand, she didn’t wash her hand for a week!
Everyone who knew Sally knew how much she loved flowers, especially violets and roses. The big glass window in her kitchen was always filled with African violets, and they always seemed to be in bloom. Roses filled the flower beds on her patio and in her backyard. And woe to any wayward chipmunk that tried to take up residence in those beds! Carl and Sally both enjoyed watching the chipmunks frolic in the backyard (Carl named them all “Charlie”), but the flowers were strictly taboo. More than once the grandsons were called upon to “discourage” chipmunk habitation in the beds (a duty they undertook with great glee and industry, if not success).
Sally’s defining characteristic was her Faith—characterized especially by her life-long devotion to the Blessed Mother. From age 15, she said at least one rosary per day all her life—that’s at least 29,000 contemplations of the holy mysteries in her lifetime! Traveling with Carl and Sally on any car trip that lasted more than 30 minutes ensured that a Rosary would be part of the agenda. For decades, whenever family members would leave her home, she would send them on their way with the phrase: “Blessed Mother guide your wheels!” It was a source of great comfort and provided for many a safe trip.
Sally’s life was marked by service to others. She was a charter member of Precious Blood Parish in Jasper, where she worked at the Summer Social for several decades and led weekly RENEW programs with Carl. She also was a long-time member of the Daughters of Isabella, (a Catholic women’s organization) the American Legion Auxiliary, a volunteer at Memorial Hospital for 25 years, and served as a Providence Home Board Member. She was a Cub Scout Den Mother and a Girl Scout Leader.
Although her life had episodes of great hardship and tragedy, she stood firm in the Faith and was a shining beacon of fortitude and dedication to all around her. At her 90th birthday party, as family members stood up to pay tribute to this amazing lady, nearly everyone who spoke mentioned her abiding Faith and how it had impacted their lives.
Sally was a blessing to all who knew and loved her. She was a model wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and a dedicated, life-long soldier for Christ. On the evening Sally passed from this life to the next, an incredible sunset lit the evening sky across all of southern Indiana. Family members traveling to Jasper from all points of the compass saw this amazing artwork in the sky, and have come to the conclusion that, although the sunset was God’s work, surely it was at Sally’s request.
Praise God for the newest saint in Heaven, Sally Seng!