Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Beloved Mother's Passing

September 15th, 1925 - December 4th, 2011

MomSurf retouched

My precious mother died last Sunday just past 11:00 a.m. CST. She has been at war with cancer, winning two battles over the past decade, first with breast cancer in 1999, again in 2003 and succumbing to her final fight, bone cancer, starting last Thanksgiving. It was a blessing that she was never in any pain from which bone cancer is notorious.

She was adjusting well to living alone without my dad, Bob Urban who died in July, at the Atria Willow Park independent living community where she, not surprisingly, made many friends, going to the many activities there, not to mention visits from her sons, daughter-in-laws, nieces, nephews and grandchildren.

About a week or so ago, she began having shortness of breath, weakness and loss of appetite, where eventually a CT scan confirmed the cancer had spread to her lungs and was sent home with the assessment that she had time to settle her affairs. She was weak from the loss of appetite and breathing difficulty, so I decided to stay overnight with Travis and Connor to keep watch over her. On Saturday, her at home healthcare nurse took one look at her and told me that she needed to go to Hospice now and with her help, got her into Hospice of East Texas Home Place. We all thought we had enough time to make adjustments to moms changed condition, but Mom's call home came Sunday morning. The hospice nurse and I agreed earlier that morning that I had to call the family in immediately. I could see that she was slipping away from me. I called and sent out texts to my Aunt Pid, brothers and Terri, "Mom is dying." I was alone with Mom as I could see her life was fading from her body. Were we going to have to endure this alone?

Just then her baby sister came in and joined me as we held her hands as each breath grew more shallow. I said to her, "Mom, Pid and I are with you. I love you with all my heart. We all love you. You don't have to hold on. You can let go. We're all gong to be okay. Your mother and father are waiting for you along with your sisters. And Dad wants his Francey back. Go to the light... go to the light. I love you Momma."

And the most amazing thing happened. Although Mom was not responsive all morning, she took a deep breath and cried,


Moments later, she took her last breath as she passed into eternity.

Aside from the birth of my children, It was the most precious moment of my life.

I feel so lucky to have the profound gift of being able to call Sarah Frances 'Momma.' I will forever remember her loving voice singing to me as a child,

"Oh, Andy oh, Andy
I love you, I love you, I do.
Oh, Andy oh, Andy
I love you, I love you, it's true!"

and seeing the love pouring from her heart as she did the same to my children. I miss you terribly, mother. I know in the coming days that pain will subside and be replaced with fond memories.

Andrew Allison Urban
December 06, 2011


Sarah Frances Urban was born to Dr. John N. Bone and Gaynelle Bailey Bone in Jacksonville, Texas on September 15, 1925. Schools attended were Jacksonville High School - graduating in 1943; Lon Morris College and Trinity University – graduating in 1947; and post-graduate studies at Lamar University. Frances was married to Robert Edward Urban in 1947 in Jacksonville. They lived and worked in Ft. Worth one year before moving to Corpus Christi where they lived for nine years. She taught school there before two of their sons were born. Frances moved with her husband to Port Arthur in 1957, where their third son was born. They lived in the Port Arthur area for 40 years before moving to Tyler in 1997. Frances taught in public and a parochial school for 18 years in all.

While raising a family in Corpus Christi and Port Arthur, Frances was active in the Sunday school, Choir, Bell choir, Presbyterian Women, and Deacons. Memberships in other organizations important to her were the D.R.T. and P.E.O. in Port Arthur and in Tyler. Frances was a Literacy volunteer in Port Arthur and in Tyler. Having used a word processor in Port Arthur for her church and club work, she got a computer when she moved to Tyler, which broadened the possibilities for developing undiscovered talents. A favorite pastime was developed for taking digital pictures and making greeting cards. This enabled her to make birthday cards for her large family of siblings, children and grandchildren with their pictures included. She was able to use her computer skills for the women’s activities of the First Presbyterian Church in Tyler.

Frances, who died December 4, 2011, was preceded in death by her husband, Bob, of 64 years. She is survived by son David, and wife Melissa, grandchildren Michael Thorn-Leeson, wife Jill, and son Parker, and Patricia Thorn-Leeson; son Edward and grandson Zachary; son Andy and wife Terri, and grandsons Justin, Travis, and Connor.

Two sisters preceded Frances in death: Kathryn Chatfield, Anna Ruth Beall and Minerva Bassett. Frances is survived by one brother, Robert Bone, and one sister Mary Alice Adamson; 14 nieces and nephews, and many other relatives and friends.

Memorial Service will be held Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 1:30 at First Presbyterian Church in Tyler, Texas. Reception to follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Children’s Day Care Ministry at First Presbyterian Church.

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