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Tom and Alberta Goertz

By Cheryl Goertz Daniel

My mom and dad, Thomas and Alberta Goertz, are two of the finest, most faith-filled people I know. I consider them to be outstanding role models of people who live their lives simply, lovingly, and dedicated to their faith in God. I think we can all learn from their examples.

Daddy, Thomas (or Tom), was born July 7, 1922, to Joe B. and Anna Goertz in the Rockne/Red Rock area. Except for a few years spent away in the seminary and later in the army during WWII, he has lived here all his life.

Momma, Alberta, was born December 26, 1929, to Frank and Katie Lehman in Westphalia, Texas. Frank had been born in Rockne, but moved as a young man to Falls County to farm there.

Momma and Daddy didn’t grow up together, but their families certainly knew each other. The two of them met at a diocesan convention, and after exchanging some letters, soon Daddy was making the 200 miles roundtrip drive to see her.

They married December 28, 1948. This is the 60th anniversary of the beginning of their lives together as husband and wife. What a wonderful milestone!

Daddy and Momma are inspirations in so many ways. Look at their work ethics. Daddy still spends much of his day in the pasture, clearing brush, cutting firewood, making improvements as needed. He’s proud of his place. He’s never been put off by physical work. At 86 years old, he still finds peace of mind in outdoor activities and satisfaction in accomplishing results from hard work. For years, he cut cull trees into firewood and sold it to longtime customers, mostly in Austin. He does less of this now, but he still ensures wood gets to those whose houses are solely heated by fire. There were also plenty of times he gave wood to those people he knew needed it, but couldn’t afford to pay for it.

Daddy has a gentle way of soothing the babies in our family by looking at them and talking to them. The kids love the sound of his voice. Something special happens, and real communication is going on between them. Daddy’s a pretty good communicator with adults, too. He loves the written and spoken word. He studied Latin and Greek as a young seminarian and he’s used that knowledge to his benefit to figure out English word meanings and spellings. He’s almost worn out our huge family dictionary over all these years (In fact, it’s missing the front cover and a few A’s). He loves crossword puzzles, and he’s competed in community spelling bees in recent years.

Momma prefers to work sudoku puzzles. She has been equally as hard a worker as Daddy. She is the consummate homemaker! No one, I’m sure, can cook or bake better or sew better than Momma. Jumping off the school bus and smelling homemade bread or cinnamon rolls as soon as you walked into the house was absolutely heavenly. Being able to sample some right then was such a treat! Momma sewed most of our clothes we wore as kids. She’s sewn four wedding gowns and countless bridal attendants’ gowns and many baby quilts. I think, though, what gives her the greatest pleasure is making a quilt for each grandchild as he or she graduates from high school. Sixteen, so far. All so beautiful and so lovingly done. They are works of art, real treasures!

My parents love the beauty in God’s creations. They have enjoyed traveling here and abroad, exploring this beauty. We, their kids and grandkids, however, think the best place on earth is Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We’ve gathered there for decades on holidays and special occasions. I think thatís been the reason we are so close to each other. I know that I am renewed in spirit and energy after these gatherings. Thanks, Momma and Daddy!

Momma and Daddy have been rock-solidly there for each other and for us. I have never seen either of them put themselves and their own interests before the rest of the family. A good example of that is this. Momma, upon reading some of the faith stories, said to us kids, “I want one of you to write one about Daddy (Tom).” She didn’t want anything for herself, but she sure thought Daddy deserved to be the subject of a story.

As we were growing up, my parents were always consistent and moderate in their behavior. We knew what to expect. There were no huge highs and lows in our everyday lives; we were extremely fortunate to have been parented by gentle, patient, totally dependable and responsible, faith-filled people. I’m not saying we, kids, were angels and never tried their patience; we got our share of spankings for misbehaviors. I mean that we always knew where we stood with them. We could expect consequences to poor behavior. They were fair in their dealings with us, with each other, and as far as I ever saw, with all others they knew and encountered. Iím not sure that they would necessarily consider this being consistently dependable to be much of a lofty attribute, but in today’s world of easy divorces and so many children growing up in unstable environments, my parents have been a “standout” for parents providing a happy, healthy home life for us. That is extremely important to me, my siblings, our kids and grandkids.

My parents are who they are, I believe, because of their strong belief in God and their devotion to their Catholic faith, this having been instilled in them by their parents. From little on, I remember going to Sunday mass. I knew as a young child that reverent attention during any church service was expected of me; I watched my parents. They had to have had their hands full with raising us eight - working outside the home for Daddy, in the home for Momma - cooking, sewing, growing gardens, milking, raising livestock. They worked hard to provide for us. Yet they found time for den mothering cub scouts, St. Ann’s Society, Holy Name Society, St. Joseph Society, teaching religion class, and parish council. They knew it was important to contribute to the parish in these ways.

They still are giving through their activities with WOW and WOM, Ladies of Charity, weekly nursing home visits, RCIA, being a sacristan, taking Holy Communion to the sick, lectoring at mass, driving to mass parishioners with no transportation, sewing baptismal gowns, making baby booties for Gifts for the Unborn. I’m sure I’m forgetting some things. I also know them to be equally as generous with their charitable monetary gifts to the parish, diocese, and multiple local and international organizations that do good works. Simply, I see them as being very giving of their time, talent, and treasure. Their actions serve as excellent examples of selfless living and doing good works.

They represent to me fine examples of individuals who’ve lived simple lives in an extraordinary way. Their quiet living, not in any spotlight, not drawing any attention to themselves, shows their humility. They do acts of kindness because they wish to serve God and their fellow man, not because they want people to notice how good they are. They are holy people!

My parents, Tom and Alberta Goertz, are, indeed, beautiful people. I love them dearly. God has blessed me and my siblings by giving us such good and holy parents. Truly, we are grateful.