Donald Udelhofen Memorial

Life's simple days of pleasure, With Daddy by my side
My heart and his a journey, The tears in life he dried

All those special memories, That fill my heart with glee
His gentle conversations, That meant so much to me

His strength and love abiding, I knew that they were there
For I am but the reason, So constantly aware

He filled my days with meaning, He let me know his fears
Each word we shared still echoes, Through all the passing years

The man that I could count on, No matter what went wrong
Always there to hold me up, I knew where I belonged

I thank him for his wisdom, His words to get me by
All these wondrous treasures, While reaching for the sky

Francine Pucillo May 20, 2003

In Memory
Don Udelhofen 1928 - 2004

To tell the story of Don & Sue Udelhofen, I have to go back to the 1960's when I first met them. I was married to Bill Vickery at that time, and we had two children. Bill had just taken a job as a bus driver for United Motor Coach, and there he met Don. They became best friends almost immediately, and as luck would have it, Sue and I got along like sisters, as if we had known each other forever. It was a foursome that would remain together for many years.

Don and Sue had their two little boys at that time, Larry and Tommy. I remember when they were kids they were just gorgeous little hunks that would grow up to be fine young men. Larry was a redhead, like his mom, and he had the freckles and the cute little boy look that won every heart in the neighborhood. Not to be outdone one little bit was Tommy who had dark hair, like his father. Tommy was as cute as a button, and rather shy when he was a young boy.

We had a little guy named Rick and a little girl Tami. Our kids were all in the same age bracket. Another miracle happened when even our kids "got along" and loved each other. Rick was the oldest and forever in charge of the group. Larry would just grin and do whatever he wanted to do anyway. Tammy was the "Queen" (the only girl for several years) of the foursome and bossed Tommy around constantly - occassionally he would get enough of it and tell her off. Didn't faze Tammy a bit - she was right back at him!

Don could be a very serious thinker at times and he used to contemplate life. This picture is one where Don is far away, deep in thought and I wish I could remember what earth shattering news he was about to tell us all this day. Don did not dwell on yesterday - what was done was one.. he lived in today but was planning tomorrow and looking forward to what the future would hold. He always had a dream, he always had a "plan".

We did a lot things together in those early days. None of us had any money, so our entertainment was scarce but we always managed to find something to do. Most of the time we played cards on Saturday night - at each other's houses. Looking back on it now, it was the greatest of times. We formed a "Club" at the bus company where the guys worked and when we managed to save up enough money we would have an "outing" and we went all over Chicago. The Bus Company would "lend" us a bus and we had a designated driver and the fun we had was endless. Somewhere in this vast world is somebody who has the photograph albums of all those fun trips.

Too much celebration at Don and Sue's Anniversary in 1966 resulted in the birth of our third child, Denise in January 1967. Don & Sue had never had a daughter so I often lent them mine. There was always a natural bond between Don, Sue and Denise. When things didn't go right at her own house she had a place to run away to. Don & Sue ware there to take over my household, and watch my other children, when I went to the hospital to give birth to her. She was conceived on their anniversary - so they had a "claim" to her. Don and Sue were always there to baby sit and help us out and seemed to enjoy doing it. After all, none of us had had any "babies" between us. Denise was just what we all needed to get a "fresh" start.

Another couple that was in our group was Bob & Joanne Darlington. We have lost both Bob and Joanne in the last several years. Bob also worked at the bus company and we did so many things together. Every get together or party included them and they are greatly missed. I often remember those days now - we had so much fun, for so little money! On this particular occassion Bob and Joanne gave a Halloween Party. Don is dancing with Joann who is a "native".. He and Sue came as "Smiley Faces". Sue is helping Bob keep his "nylon stockings" up. Bill and I went as a pair of "Martians from Mars" all in green.. Don't think it was an easy feat getting Bill into a pair of green panty hose!

During this period of our lives never a Christmas would pass that we didn't spend some part of it with each other, usually on Christmas Eve. Don is just about cut off in this picture, but its an important picture because it reminds me of that one child or another always seemed to be 'lurking' around our adult conversations. I am convinced that about 1/2 of our childrens education was gained "listening" in on us. Tami looks so very innocent doesn't she.. but you can be sure that one ear is tuned in. I also recall a time when Tami did a "house inspection" of their home once. She did the "white glove" test on Sue's shelves and found dust. Imagine that!

When Don & Sue still lived in Wheeling we gave them a little Dachshund puppy. Well of course the puppy grew to be a little pest as most puppy do. Don decided to put the dog in the kitchen and he put a short piece of plywood across the entry. Well the dog didn't shut up - cried and bellowed all the time. Don went charging into the kitchen (probably to kill the dog) when he tripped over the plywood and went sprawling. He broke his toe in the process and you can imagine the pain that must have caused. Time went on and the dog eventually learned some manners, but he was still a dog with its own mind. They had no choice but to tie it up and keep it contained to some degree. I remember making the comment that I'd just have to go down there and take it away from them. Don't you know that our little Tami went marching right on down to their house and told them in no uncertain terms that "My mom is going to take this dog away for you if you don't treat it better".. then turned around and came back home. A lesser friendship might not have survived our daughters honesty. I can't remember the fate of that little dog?

Later on down the road we all four went up the Dells for a get-away weekend. We left all our kids at home, much to their dismay! While there we stumbled onto a pair of cute little black poodles. So we bought them naturally. When I got home with ours Denise was in the bathtub but didn't stay there but a second when she heard we had brought a dog home. We finally managed to get her clothes on and then we all enjoyed the dog. The next day I went out to but it a collar, a bowl and what have you. We later discovered that Sue had gone out and bought the identical things that I bought. Our dogs were twins to start with and all their accessories turned out to be twin as well. How often does that happen?

Its just a shame that both Don and Sue's backs are turned in this photo. Bill is fixing drinks at his newly finished "bar" in the basement of our recently purchased home in Buffalo Grove. Time does march on and after the birth of Denise, our little house in the Dunhurst subdivision in Wheeling had gotten very small. Also in this picture is Dave Lambert, a friend from our old neighborhood in Wheeling. When we change locations we always lose friends and move onward. I wonder what's happened to all those people we used to know so well. We all had so many plans, so much we wanted to do. Did any of us reach our dream, or is it that the dream is always the best part? Reality so seldom lives up to the dream. How many of us would give our seat in heaven to go back to those days of not knowing how life was going to turn out?

This is a get together for a poker game at our house. When the four of us played cards we usually enjoyed a game of Hearts, but when there were more people it always turned to Poker. Bills brother in law Bob Gee is sitting at the forefront - with Sue next to him, then Bills brother Don, their sister Gin, and then Don at the head of the table (where else). Sandy (Don's wife) is sitting on the right,with Bill standing. I can tell its Christmas from the decorated Ball resting on the Piano.

Its about this time that Don and Sue moved up to Wisconsin and our lives all changed. This was one of those crossroads in life when you don't realize it, but things will ever be the same again. For many years we visited back and forth and saw each other often. Then eventually we got busy, they got busy, and our visits grew further and further apart. Bill and I were divorced after 21 years. I remarried and then he remarried and moved out of state. JoAnne died and Bob remarried, and moved to Arizona, where he also died. Our friends scattered and moved away until one day you look around and find there is nobody left that you know from the old days. Our children all grew up and the days of "their" childhood also became a memory.

Denise, Tom, Tami and Larry rekindled their long, childhood friendships at the funeral. Its always so sad that it takes an occassion like this to get people back together again. I guess it had been 15- 20 years since these kids had even seen each other - but it was like yesterday for them. They spent hours talking about "their" old days together. They learned the value of lifelong friendships and I hope they know that if they are ever in trouble they can truly count on each other. Denise fell in love with Sue again that day.. Its not a surprise to me that the bond between them remains firm. Tami learned a new appreciation of having people in your life who truly matter. They all four learned the lesson of love that will endure. They share it.

Don has now gone on to God's promise of a better tomorrow. His parents and Jesus were there to welcome him home. He has by now, met up with Bob and JoAnne, and don't you know that was a happy reunion. I can only think that he's probably the "Mayor" of heaven at this very moment, and has already reorganized a good portion of it. Don was always a "Take Charge" type of guy, you could always count on him for new ideas, new ways to get things done and a ready hand to accomplish it. This is probably why his family always knew that he was a father and a husband that could truly be counted on. He may have changed directions in mid stream a time or two, but he never let them down. Larry & Tom, you had a truly wonderful dad, one that was there for you all the time - never failing. Sue, you had a treasure of a husband, but I think you knew that all along.

Save a place for us Don - we'll meet you there soon..

Life Must Go On

Grieve for me, for I would grieve for you,
Then brush away the sorrow and the tears,
Life is not over, but begins anew.

With courage you must greet the coming years,
To live forever in the past is wrong,
Can only cause you misery and pain

Dwell not on memories overlong,
With others you must share and care again.
Reach out and comfort those who comfort you.

Recall the years but only for awhile,
Nurse not your loneliness but live again,
Forget not - remember with a smile.