Thornton 279 8x10On April 10th, My farther in law, Joseph William Tkalec, passed away.  We knew it was coming, my husband was with him, it was still a shock that left us with a huge hole in our lives.

I knew him for almost nine years and I never really understood him or felt I knew him very well.  In the last year of his life I helped care for him every day, taking him to appointments, helping him get up and get dressed, bathroom trips, and feeding him at the end.  In some ways I knew him extremely well and intimately, but in others he was a mystery to me.

For most of his life he was a cop, an outdoorsman, and a dedicated family man.  By the time I knew him he was very much retired, watched a lot of classic movies, and was still a dedicated family man.  

For the two years we lived with him and took care of him, Joe and I fell into the habit of constantly checking on him, looking after him, and making sure he was as well cared for as we could.  We were always listening for sounds of trouble and ready to leap when we heard him fall.

We worried that we weren’t doing enough, that we were doing too much, and wondering if we could have done more to make his final years better.  Some of those worries may never pass.

Months after his passing, I am starting to let go of some of those habits.  Starting to sleep a little deeper and releasing some of that constant vigilance.  Caring for him, knowing him, living with him, and learning to love him changed me.  I am still understanding all the ways I have been changed.  I am grateful for the opportunity and I am forever grateful for the man he raised.



At home on Saturday, April 10, 2021, Joseph W. Tkalec, age 82, passed peacefully. He was born in 1938 in Akron and was a member of the Central High School class of 1957. Upon graduation, he immediately joined the Marine Corps and after his service he began a career in law enforcement. He worked as a deputy with the Summit County Sheriff’s office and the Lane County Sheriff’s office in Oregon, and ended his career as a Crime Scene Specialist in Scottsdale, AZ. Soon after retiring, he returned to Ohio to be near his siblings.

In his free time Joe enjoyed fishing, his motorcycle, and gambling in Las Vegas.

Joe took great pride in his family and his friends. He is survived by his devoted son and son-in-law, Joe and John Thornton; his beloved sister, Barbara Otterman; brothers, Jim and Tom; sister-in-law, Irene Bowman; and many lifelong and devoted friends. He was predeceased by his wife, Jean (Bowman) Tkalec whom he adored, and his parents, Frank and Mary Tkalec.

Arrangements by Cremation & Funeral Service by Gary S. Silvat, Inc

Monday morning our beloved dog Dart passed away at home.  Joe and I were with him and he was held and loved as he passed, he had been with us twelve and a half years.FirstpicofDart

It was a dark and stormy night when I found Dart lying huddled in the rain next to my driveway. The headlights from the car illuminating a skinny, wet dog with big brown eyes and floppy ears.  I did not want a dog, but I dried him off and gave him some fresh water and a place to sleep on the porch resolving to find his owners in the morning. Dartinthesnow

He was full grown when his showed up with a blue collar and no tags.  I started asking the neighbors and my dog loving mail carrier, Mary, checked her whole route, trying to find his owners.  When I would tell him, “Go home!” he would just look at me.  After a few days of him living on my porch, not inside because I did not want (and could not afford) a dog, Mary said, “I think you have a dog, you should get him to a vet.”

My parents and my friend Sherry helped me out with a few bucks for the Vet and suddenly I had a dog, a very quick dog, who happily responded to Dart – Dartanian when I was feeling pretentious.JohnandDart

He wasn’t very well trained at first, but he learned fast, except he kept peeing on the potted tree in my bedroom.  So one day I hid in the closet so I could jump out and catch him in the act.  He never peed in the house again.GlowingEyes

I quickly came to believe Dart was sent to me to be my protector, maybe my familiar, but he was definitely a faerie dog.  The strange spirits that would float through the neighborhood dispersed when he was around, nervous clients quickly calmed and the groundhogs stayed out of the garden. He even helped a few friends who were afraid of dogs, especially big dogs, past their fears.  It was rare for him to dislike someone, but I always listened when he did.ThorntonFamilyChristmas

Over the last few years he started slowing down, but he could still disappear when he wanted to, and he still tried to patrol the boundaries of the yard.  Around Christmas we started carrying him up and down the stairs as he grew weaker, unless he darted around us and got to the stairs first.

Monday morning he was gone. He was my first dog and the very best Dart in the world.




JoMy Grandmother passed away on Thursday, Oct 10th at the age of 101 – I was surprised how it still came as a shock.

Grandma Jo taught me that there was treasure everywhere – secrets, knowledge, beauty, faith and understanding if you were patient enough to see it. She showed me it was more important to know how to find a fact than to keep it in your head. She demonstrated grace and forgiveness as she moved through the world.

Over the last few years she slowly slipped into Alzheimer's. Every year there was less and less of the brilliant woman I grew up with, less and less of the sharp minded reference librarian who could find out anything with just a bit of time. In her late 90s she rediscovered a love of playing Dominoes, she would spend hours playing with the residents and staff of her retirement community and even as her memory slipped away she could still add up a game board faster than anyone else at the table.

From her I learned a deep love of knowledge and reading. She was endlessly curious about everything, clipping articles, reading constantly and absorbing knowledge from every possible source. It was a heartbreaking tragedy that her mind was slipping away at the same time the internet was opening up boggling amounts of information, she would have loved having access to all the world.

When the call came I felt the air escape my lungs as my world shifted slightly on its axis. The days that followed were busy with a psychic fair in Columbus followed by a quick trip to Texas for the service. There were only passing moments to mourn – only seconds to breathe.

I took a walk Tuesday afternoon after the funeral. The light was fading toward sunset and as tired as I was I needed to walk. Grandma always found treasure when she walked - shells, pretty stones, feathers and colorful leaves. Nestled in the grass was a purple flower with a bright yellow center, it was no bigger than a pencil eraser. Without her I may never have seen such a tiny bit of beauty. Without her I may never have known that the world is full of treasure.

From The Obituary:

Josephine Rose Furry Williamson
February 25, 1912 - October 10, 2013

Josephine Rose Furry Williamson, 101, of Beaumont, died Thursday, October 10, 2013. She was born in Beaumont on February 25, 1912, to Lucy Eberspacher Furry and Harley Furry. Josephine graduated from South Park Junior College and The University of Texas at Austin. She was a librarian at Tyrell Public Library and later at Lamar University. Her hobbies included oil painting, gardening, and reading, and she was a lifelong member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church.

Survivors include her daughters, Jo Williamson of Port Arthur and Janet Thornton and her husband, Jim, of Youngstown, Ohio; grandson, John Thornton of Youngstown, Ohio; and many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her husband, John E. "Red" Williamson; sister, Mary Fulton; and brother, Harlan Furry.

A gathering of Mrs. Williamson's family and friends will begin at 1:00 p.m. with her memorial service to follow at 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 15, 2013, at Broussard's, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont, with burial of her cremated body to follow at Magnolia Cemetery, Beaumont.

The family would like to thank her caretakers, Liz Yelverton, Joyce Baker, Joan Sensat, and Debra Teague, who had become like family to her.

View the Photo Slideshow from the Memorial Service

There are people who leave footprints on your life. Even when they are gone you can see the tracks they have made and the impressions they have left – changing the terrain of your life.


From the Obituary:

"Robert P. Heath of Liberty Township, a well-known and respected area businessman through association with the hospitality industry, particularly the Avalon Inn and the Wick-Pollock, passed away on May 21, 2012. He was born March 24, 1928 in Washington D.C."


I met Bob Heath when I was 14, he and his wife, Jacquie, and daughter, Heather, were new additions to the local A.R.E. study group and he was a big presence. To those who only met Bob in the last few years, you were lucky to have known him, but you missed out on a lot.


He was a strong and at times divisive figure in a group of strong and at times divisive figures. Could Bob go head to head with Terry or Dorothy? Yes. Could he win? …. But he brought a professionalism and time of great growth to the local metaphysical community that I was only peripherally aware of at the time.


He brought great speakers and teachers to the Youngstown area, and introduced me to teachers who changed my life forever. Would I have met Linda Schiller, who taught me to be a psychic, or Ron Roth, who showed me what healing could be, or any number of other people (including my first boyfriend) that I might have never met without Bob. Would I be the man I am today without his influence?


WatercolorHeathFrom the Obituary:

"Robert was an inspirational and gifted speaker, always caring for others, offering physical and spiritual guidance. He brought compassion and scholarly knowledge to hundreds of people in the community, while inspiring them with his deep and thorough understanding of life’s principles. He has touched lives across many states with his travels and lectures, and has distinguished himself in the field of art, exhibiting his intense and soul-searching watercolor paintings."


No one who met Bob was neutral about him and he made some great enemies – if you were never on the wrong side of an argument with Bob, consider yourself lucky. He was generous to a fault with his friends and while he shared so much of his passion with the world he was often still a mystery. I knew Bob for more than 20 years. His daughter is my best friend and I still know very little of his life, only meeting a very few of his other children and learning almost nothing of his life before he discovered Cayce.


From the Obituary:

"In 1945, he began his career working for the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover, attended George Washington University and gained experience in business. He and his wife, Jacquelyn Williams (Heath) moved to the Youngstown area in 1983 establishing his presence both in the business field and leadership in the Association for Research and Enlightenment, also known as the Edgar Cayce Foundation. He coordinated programs and brought nationally known speakers to the Valley and established spiritual study groups that have been meeting for over twenty years."


With all due respect to his family, I think Edgar Cayce was one of the greatest devotions of his life. I often think that Bob introduced more people to Cayce in these last few years than the A.R.E. has – he spoke to thousands at psychic fairs and lectures about Edgar Cayce, "Have you ever thought about your past lives? Well, are you familiar with Edgar Cayce? Edgar Cayce was the most famous psychic of our time…" I heard him speak those words so many times my lips moved with his, but he told people about Cayce – He taught and he preached.


Thousands of people in dozens of cities - He was a missionary, an evangelist, a teacher.


I already knew about Cayce, but Bob was constantly dredging up facts I never knew and he had a great mind for context and use – What does this Cayce reading mean to me and how does it relate to today? His curiosity and drive were never ending.


BobChairHe was a great teacher and even in death he is teaching, offering comfort and healing.


He passed Monday morning a bit after a quarter past five, I dreamed about him soon after. We were at a restaurant on the way to some psychic fair (where else would we be?) with a few other people, I don't remember them. He looked healthy and strong again. Not young, I never knew Bob when he was young, but he looked more like himself than I had seen in years. Someone we were with said to me, "I thought Bob was sick, but he looks great!"


"Of course he looks great," I said, "He has all our prayers and energy with him. He's fine, it’s the rest of us who need help!"


Bob is fine, and some of us are getting help.


I was driving to my parent's house the day after Bob died and I got the loud message to call a friend who had been close to him, I told her the story of my dream. She has been having health problems for a while and was taking Bob's death quite hard. She told me she had cast the astrological chart for the time of his passing and was stunned by how beautiful it was – there was nothing to be scared of!


Yesterday she called me, she had another health scare and for a minute thought it was the end, but for the first time, after many such scares, she wasn't afraid. She had been terrified of death but this time, with the last lesson Bob could teach in this life, she was not afraid.


In his seventies Bob Heath embarked on a new career, traveling to psychic fairs with his wife Jacquie and helping people and talking about past lives and Edgar Cayce. I do not know if he was afraid, but he taught those who knew him to be brave.


He taught us – Be Not Afraid.


…and I'm not, and nor should you be... of anything.


From the Obituary:

"He will be sadly missed by his family, including his wife, Jacquelyn, his daughter, Heather, and his grandson, Jayden. He leaves behind relatives in North Carolina and Florida and was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, June and his son, Michael B. Heath. Arrangements have been entrusted to Staton-Borowski Funeral Home."


"Memorial Services will be held at the Unity Church Centre in Girard, Ohio on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that offerings take form of donations to one of the following: The Edgar Cayce Foundation, an animal charity fund of your choice, or the Unity Church Centre."


Bob with the local A.R.E. Group in 2010


The service was beautiful and I believe it was recorded, so if you are interested in hearing it, please contact me.  Linda Schiller-Hanna did a great job and I got this very cool photo of her.



Our singer and friend Linda V