“If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” - Romans 14:8
On September 13, 2020, Jean Celeste Gaffney, of Union Springs (nee Emery, born 12-31- 1939) entered into the home of her heavenly Father. This was a true homecoming for Jean, a prayer warrior constantly conversing intimately with her Lord. Her Bible was her daily and constant companion, her solace, her retreat, her source of daily strength.
Jean married Wayne Gaffney on July 26, 1958 – igniting a 63 yearlong partnership of enduring love. Their marriage was and remains an exemplar of joy, peace, forbearance, kindness and goodness.
Psalm 127:3 “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.”
Jean was a woman of legacy, devoting herself tirelessly to the generations to follow. She and Wayne raised up twelve children: Gregory, Matthew, David, Mary (Reohr), Christopher (deceased), Patricia (Metroka), Sean, Mark, Michelle, Wayne Michael, Rebecca (Chick) and Luke. Jean considered her children, raised in a foundation of generosity, wisdom, and faith, to be her treasure – her enduring work on earth.
She rejoiced in her children’s spouses, her 44 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren. Storytime in gramma’s lap was a special, much sought after treat. Somehow, there was always room for one more.
Her home is wallpapered with photos chronicling the generations that made up the tapestry of her life. For any who wish to know this woman, just meditate on the walls of her home.
“Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.” - Hebrews 13:1
Jean was raised as the only child of her adoptive parents, Louis and Mary Emery.
In this past year, the eighty-year-old Jean discovered that she had always been part of a large family, as her birth sister finally found her. Jean was born to Fredrick and Marjorie Lesieur, and is survived by her birth siblings: Sylvia, Jenny, Joyce, Richard, Jeff, Christopher and Michele. The gift of beginning to know this family was one of the delights God granted to Jean. She was a woman greatly loved – and had always been so.
“I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine.” Psalm 50:11
Among Jean’s great pleasures was engaging with the birds that flocked to her feeders. The birds were symbols to her, totems from God as reminders of those she loved – those that have passed (the cardinal was a sign of her beloved son, Chris), those that still surrounded her, and those yet to come. When you heed Jesus’ call to look to the birds of the air, think of Jean – the steadfast mother, loving spouse, generous host, faithful servant, gracious grandparent. Should you desire to honor her, simply makes space in your heart, and remember, “there is always room for one more.”
In lieu of flowers, consider donating to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, or a charity of your choice.
Visitation will be held from 4PM to 7PM on Friday, September 18, at Brew Funeral Home, 48 South Street, Auburn, NY 13021. Mass of Christian burial will be at 10AM, Saturday, September 19, at Holy Family Catholic Church, 85 North St, Auburn, NY 13021. Burial will be at Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Union Springs.
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