Melva’s life of goodness


As Americans, our hearts are heavy on this day of remembrance. But mine is especially heavy, not only for those who left this world too soon 14 years ago, but for my cousin Melva Kauer who recently passed away unexpectedly. We celebrated her life last week and I’m so grateful for her example.

At age 80, Melva was one of the last of her generation and lived a full life on the family ranch in the Lemhi Valley. She was the daughter of my dad’s Aunt Lenna and much older than I, but I always felt close to her.

Remembering the tragedy of 9/11 often leads to self-introspection – Are we making the most of our life? Are we showing love to our family? Are we serving our fellow men? Are we grateful for those who sacrifice in our behalf? I feel it’s appropriate to pay tribute to Melva today because she could answer “yes” to all those questions.

She was a happy, service-oriented person. Despite the serious heartache in her life – including losing two of her four children when they were toddlers – Melva was so full of hope. I think she soothed her soul through service and losing herself to help others. She didn’t indulge in psychologists or anti-depressants to fight her pain; she simply found a cure by forgetting about her problems and helping others instead. She was a great example to me.

She had a deep love for her animals and especially the lambs she raised. They knew her voice and would come running at her call.

Just this summer, she put so much time and effort in finding a way to restore my great-grandparents wagon for our Centennial Ranch celebration. Her efforts really made our family reunion so much sweeter, and for many of us, we had no idea that it would be our last chance to be with her.

My children were able to sing a special hymn at her funeral. The words written by Karen Lynn Davidson will always remind me of Melva:


Each life that touches ours for good,

Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;

Thou sendest blessings from above

Thru words and deeds of those who love.


What greater gift dost thou bestow,

What greater goodness can we know

Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways

Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.


When such a friend from us departs,

We hold forever in our hearts

A sweet and hallowed memory,

Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.


For worthy friends whose lives proclaim

Devotion to the Savior’s name,

Who bless our days with peace and love,

We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.