This was so ably written by my sister Faith
Eulogy – Funeral of Florence Dice
Friday, January 21, 2011
Florence Julia Dice was born on September 24, 1923 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. She passed away on January 15, 2011.
Florence grew up on the family homestead in the Alingly District north of Prince Albert. She attended high school at Prince Albert Collegiate Institute and then attended Covenant Bible Institute. She attended Prince Albert Business College and devoted her life to serving God through secretarial work, first as a legal secretary for a law firm, then as a secretary at Covenant Bible Institute, later called Covenant Bible College. She also worked at the central offices of Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada in Prince Albert, Calgary, and Surrey, BC.
Florence was predeceased by her parents, Thomas and Luna Dice, her sister-in-law Violet Dice, her brother Thomas Dice, a nephew Sheldon Lyons, and a great great-nephew Logan Lanoie-McEwan. She is survived by her sister Eva and brother-in-law Victor Lyons, her sister-in-law Sharon Dice, her nephews and nieces Brent and Barbara Lyons, Grant and Lenore Lyons, David and Enid Dice (presently travelling in Australia), Linea and Leo Lanoie, Anne and Ed Abramoff, myself Faith and Hugh Campbell, and Joye and Glenn Kindrachuk (presently travelling in Laos, South East Asia), a number of great nephews and nieces (some living in faraway places such as New York, Thailand, Cambodia, and one travelling in New Zealand) along with six great great nephews and nieces.
These are the facts of Florence’s life, but the sum of her years is measured less by what she did and more by how she lived and loved. Her life exemplified the love and care of Christ her Saviour poured out in full measure to all who knew her.
Florence loved nature. She loved to take long walks in God’s creation. Spring typically found Auntie wandering the pastures near the farm to find the first crocuses emerging just after the snows of winter left. She loved animals and particularly delighted in seeing her brother Tom’s lambs romping in springtime. She was a farm girl at heart, even though her favorite clothes were frilly pink dresses and blouses!
Florence loved music. She was a volunteer for the Prince Albert Music Festivals for years. She thoroughly loved singing with the Watsonairs for many seasons. I have many fond memories of Aunties Florence and Eva singing duets. Eva loved her little sister so dearly and together they used to praise God through song. Famiiy Christmas celebrations included violins and voices raised in honoring Jesus. Even last Thanksgiving when some nieces and nephews visited Auntie at Mont St. Joseph’s, we sang as great nephew Mikeal played the viola. Auntie was able to sing clearly the words, “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long”. Just a few weeks ago at Christmas when her pain caused agitation, Auntie was able to relax as we sang out of a carol book that she had given our daughter Chantelle when she was a little girl – “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright…sleep in heavenly peace”. Florence fell asleep as I played some of her favorites on the violin at bedtime, after reading the Christmas Story and praying together. She actually fell asleep while praying and woke again in a few minutes, continuing as if she hadn’t slept in between.
Auntie Florence loved children. She loved teaching Sunday School. She spent time in her early life with the Canadian Sunday School Mission in Winnipeg, and some of us remember her “flannelgraph Bible stories”. As nieces and nephews, we were spoiled by Auntie. She doted on us (okay, guys you may not have thoroughly enjoyed the doting but secretly we girls loved it!). She let us dress up in the bridesmaids gowns she had worn. She never missed giving us birthday, anniversary, or Christmas gifts. She fed us candies and goodies. She never said “no”. We loved it! Just as Florence found it hard to say “no”, we found it hard to say “no” to her too. Almost twenty years ago now, Florence cared for our two daughters while Hugh and I worked and studied for our Master’s Degrees. We asked Auntie not to let the girls have ice cream cones from the Quarter Moon every day. She replied that it was just a little treat and couldn’t hurt. So, we took another angle. We told the girls strictly that they could never ask for ice cream and that if Auntie mentioned it, they were to say that they were not hungry for ice cream. That did not work. They all, including the dog, got ice cream cones on a regular basis.
We knew with certainty that Auntie loved us. She remembered the details of our lives that mattered – how we were feeling, what we were doing, who our friends were. Her love extended to our children and to our children’s children… and to their friends because her love was big enough to be shared. We knew that Florence was our “real auntie” but that her love spilled over to all who knew her. Through her commitment of many years of service to Covenant Bible College – the staff, students and their families over the years, her “family connection” was enormous! This also extended to her church family at Gateway Covenant Church, her brothers and sisters. You and your families were deeply loved by Auntie Florence. Known and loved throughout the larger Covenant family in Canada, Florence is remembered fondly for her unique style of love.
Florence’s soft and gentle ways, her mannerisms like “Helloooo, this is Florence speaking”, her favorite Bible Verse turned motto “in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” were unique to her. She was a character with lots of spunk! Even in these last months when her mind was unclear, she still maintained her social graces, though meaning was lost. One day, Sharon Dice, my stepmom, asked her, “Florence, are you experiencing pain?” Florence replied, “No, but I would like to”.
Florence truly loved people the way that Jesus loves people – from the core of her being. Her selflessness was evident in her care for others – she gave and gave and gave. She treated all people with dignity and respect. There are countless ways that Florence served Jesus through serving others – giving rides to events, baking, cuddling babies, teaching, the list goes on and on!
Today, I imagine that Auntie might be saying to us, “Oh you are so kind to be here but please don’t fuss” because truly, she would want us to think about her best friend Jesus instead. She would want us to care for and love people the way that Jesus does – freely, unconditionally, without complaints about people’s faults, just love them and love them and love them. She would want us to think about treating people with kindness and dignity, never injuring their spirits. She would want us to be kind to each other, to put others first, and in this competitive world, that is counter-cultural. But it is the way that Jesus does things. She would encourage us to ask in all situations, “What would Jesus do? – and go out and just love the way He does. She would encourage us to “give and give and give’ because that is what Jesus has done for us. Auntie Florence was not just a nice little old lady. Jesus lived at the very core of her being. Auntie Florence would also want us to be like Jesus in all that we do, say, and think! Jesus, only Jesus!
These words of a song by Twila Paris speak to me:
Oh, let me be a servant
A keeper of the door
My heart is only longing
To see forevermore
The glory of your presence
The dwelling of the Lord
Oh, let me be a servant
A keeper of the door.
And as my former student Peggy Redford Herd recently shared, if there are sweets in heaven, Auntie Florence and Grandma Dice may well be by the door serving up caramels and peanut butter chocolate balls and butterscotch marshmallow squares along with encouraging words to those who are basking in the presence of Almighty God.
Faith Campbell – Niece