Auntie Agnes was my favorite aunt. I loved her instantly. She had a way about her that was open, sensible, loving. I always felt I could relate to her. In later years, I was told she took care of me as a baby because my mother, Francie, Agnes’s sister, was not feeling well after I was born. I guess a bond was established between the two of us.
When I was a child, Agnes’s visits to my house were anticipated and enjoyed. She set my mother’s hair or gave her permanents. She was a part of family life since Uncle Erv, her husband, was manager of the hardware business aspect of Paul Valuch Plumbing & Hardware, my father’s business. Agnes was always inviting us to all kinds of events.
Time passed. 1995 arrived. Auntie Mary, Agnes’s sister, and Uncle Connie were having great difficulties living. Agnes approached me to help her and Erv care for them. The work was becoming too hard for them. They would help Connie and Mary around the house and go out to dinner with them. I think I was expected to see to their last needs, since I was their Godchild, but Mary and Connie never asked me. Agnes gently asked and I agreed. At the time, Mary was in a horrible nursing home. I became Mary and Connie’s power of health care and power of attorney.
Many a Saturday, Agnes and I were organizing Connie and Mary’s house and discarding worthless items. Afterwards we went out to eat at the Sizzler with Connie before he entered the nursing home. This was a ritual. When Mary died, Agnes and I, went to Boston Store and purchased a beautiful pink dress. When Connie died, we continued to clear out the house, mainly on Saturdays.
Agnes came to help my mother when I was at work, taking her to appointments and such. After my mother died in November of 2001, I was working full time for about 10 years. We started going out to eat on Sundays with Auntie Bobby, Agnes’s sister. I got to know my Aunt Bobby better.
After I lost my job in June of 2011, I became more involved in Agnes’s life, taking her to appointments and grocery shopping. Agnes went to live at Creek Side Manor Assisted Living in July of 2013. Agnes, Bobby, and I continued the Sunday dinners. This continued through November 2014. After this time, Agnes needed wheel chair assistance and I could not handle her. Bobby and I continued to visit her most every Sunday until one Sunday when Bobby said she was not feeling well enough to go. Bobby died soon after, on 29 July 2015.
Agnes was involved in all aspects of life, especially her church, St. Veronica’s. She was in charge of the meal program at the Wilson Senior Center until she felt she had to retire. Agnes made friends wherever she went. She always took time to talk to someone—never in a hurry. In the last years of her life, she endeared many of her caregivers at Creek Side Manor.
Agnes was kind and showed her love of God through her deeds. I will miss her, especially all the hugs and kisses she showered upon me. I was privileged to have her in my life.
Love, Reggie, Regina Valuch
Lit a candle in memory of Agnes T. Behmke