Denise Dees Weissmann, born April 20, 1955 in Beaumont died at Methodist Hospital in Houston on July 13, 2004. She passed away of a brain aneurysm, but had long struggled with Multiple Sclerosis. No person could have lived more vitally with such a difficult disease. Her courage, strength, and faith served as an example to every person she touched. She will be greatly missed. Denise's life recalled Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". It was her favorite Bible verse, and it defined her life. She was born and grew up in Beaumont and graduated from South Park High School. She received a bachelor's degree from Lamar University and a master's degree in Special Education at the University of Houston at Clear lake. Though her illness kept her from continuing her teaching career, her life was filled with volunteer work that drew on her intelligence, spiritual compassion, and amazing "can do" energy. She attended Roberts Avenue United Methodist Church in Beaumont, and was also inspired by the legacy of her grandmother, Hallie Morton. Denise served her God and community with untiring commitment wherever she lived. She spent her adult life in Clear lake, Kenney and Bellville. She was an active member of the Bellville United Methodist Church and an inspiration to all those who worshipped with her. She taught a fifth grade Sunday school class there for several years. She was a charter member of the Disciples Sunday School Class, and a faithful student of the Christian Bible Study Class. She was involved in Vacation Bible School, United Methodist Youth Fellowship, the UM Army, Big Dawgs, and Big House. She was also a participant in a multi-denominational Christian retreat and community called the Walk to Emmaus. Many friendships were forged in these groups. She actively lived and shared her faith. When she couldn't participate physically, she could be counted on for spiritual support. She spent many hours in intercessory prayer and was instrumental in keeping many prayer chains up-to-date with prayer needs and requests. She had numerous prayer partners and fortunate, indeed, were those who were blessed by this ministry. Denise was a loving mother to her son Frank and a surrogate mother to an ever expanding group of his friends from high school, Sam Houston State University, and his Marine unit. She was cherished by Frank's fraternity brothers of the Sigma Nu Chapter at Sam Houston State University and her brother Carey Dees' fraternity brothers in the Sigma Nu Chapter from Lamar University. She had a unique ability to listen, share, advise, and direct young people to make effective choices with their lives. She was a founding and influential member of M.O.B. (Mothers of the Band) for Bellville High School where she wrote newspaper articles and sponsored band activities and numerous planning meetings at her home for the band moms. Her mudslides were famous, and lots of laughs and good times were shared because she brought her sense of fun to all things she touched. Through her contacts with the M.S. Society, she supported many fund-raising events including the MS 150 Bike Ride that goes through Bellville every year. As the riders raced by, she held a sign that read, "Thank you for helping me." She attended "Camp Can Do" in the summer of 2003, where she was able to ride a horse, drop from a ropes course, and swim. She was the hit of the costume party there, when she arrived complete with helmet and flags in her desert-camouflaged "tank" fashioned of cardboard placed over her scooter, parading past the other participants with her military salute. She made many new friends with MS volunteers and with the executives of Valero Energy who sponsored the camp, restoring freedom and joy to MS patients whose lives have been physically restricted by the disease. Denise opened her home for a Thursday night stamping group, making creative cards to send to others of all kinds of occasions. She held a monthly book club in her home. Designed for the disabled, her home was open and accessible. It became a center for entertaining people. She was a marvelous cook and an amazing gardener. She took great pride in her flowers and vegetables. Little gardens of Eden blossomed around her front and back porches with the help of a very loyal friend and employee who helped her tend the yard. Denise was a magnet. She was so happy when her mother, Lanora Morton Dees Lydic and her "Dad" David Lydic moved from Beaumont next door to her in Bellville and built their dream home nestled behind sheltering pines and alongside their spirited daughter. Their homes have become a gathering place for their extended family, Denise's friends, Frank's friends, and her community, all connected by the glue of Denise's life. We are grateful for how she shared her heart and home with us all. Her doors were always open to others in joy and in sorrow. Before Frank left for training and his future deployment to Iraq, she planned a going away party for him. Her house was decorated with flags, Marine insignias, and yellow ribbons. Here she met the mothers of other men in his unit and organized a system for sending care packages to our soldiers and school supplies to Iraqi children. Despite pain and years of tireless struggle, numerous doctors' appointments, physical therapy and hospitalizations, and the tragic deaths of so many of her loved ones, Denise seldom complained. It seemed she always had a smile to share and a funny story about her physical inadequacies. It was sometimes hard to distinguish who was the patient and who was the caregiver. The faces of her doctors, nurses, and therapists would light up when she rolled into their offices. Their kind service to Denise will not be forgotten. Denise's family would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Christophe Gay and Dr. Victor Rivera whose expertise and love for her and her family have been exemplary. Preceding her in death were her husband, Frank Weissmann; her father, Lee C. Dees, her brother, Carey Dees; and her grandparents, Hallie and Bobby Morton and Thelma and Lloyd Dees. Denise is survived by her son, Frank A. Weissmann; her mother, Lanora Dees Lydic; and her stepfather, David E. Lydic. She is also survived by her sisters-in-law, Karen Dees and Renate Schroer; and step-siblings, David L. Lydic and Susan Lydic; Carol Gay and Ron Laing; and Paul and Edna Lydic. She is survived by many nephews and nieces and by innumerable close friends. Viewing was Wednesday July 14, 2004 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Schmidt Funeral Home, Bellville. Services were Thursday July 15, 2004 at 11 a.m. at the Bellville United Methodist Church. Pallbearers in service were Steve Chapman, Rick Grell, Steve Honeycutt, Mike Jones, Gary Kerbow, David L. Lydic, Paul Lydic, and Eric Smith. The Rev. Wayne Middleton of the Bellville United Methodist Church officiated the service. Interment was at St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery in Kenney. Memorials may be made to the church of your choice or to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Memorials may be given to The Friends of Lifeline, 728 East O'Bryant, Bellville. A favorite organization of Denise's, the Friends of Lifeline purchase emergency call units for the disabled and the elderly in Bellville. Clara Denise Dees Weissmann's life was a gift to us all. As a young woman, she once dreamed of making the track team. She didn't make that team, but she ran her life with a clear and influential dignity described in 1st Corinthians 9:26, "I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step." She lived and loved, made strong by her faith in God. She has now gone home and will be greeted with, "Well done good and faithful servant."
Posted by Joy Neely