Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Harriet Irene Schlais 9/21/1925 to 7/22/2008

Harriet was born on September 21, 1925, to Elmer and Nora Austin. Along with her brothers Hugh and Harold,and her sister Velda, Harriet grew up in sunny Riverside, California. In 1943, she graduated from Riverside Poly High School. That same year, Harriet and her boyfriend attended a cadet dance in Santa Monica where she met a young airman named LeRoy Schlais (a.k.a Roy). By the end of the dance, Roy had convinced her boyfriend to escort his (Roy’s) sister home so that he could escort Harriet! In 1944, during Roy’s overseas deployment, Harriet went to Oakland, California, to complete a nurse’s training course. Midway through the course, she became so homesick that she cancelled out and returned home to be with her family. Roy and Harriet were married on February 7, 1946, shortly after his honorable discharge from the Army Air Corps.

Harriet became a mother for the first time on March 29, 1949, when Cheryl Ann (my mama) joined the family. In the next 4 years, the family expanded to include LeRoy, Jr. and Harriet Irene. In 1962, Roy built a home on top of a hill overlooking Reche Canyon; designed in the shape of an “H”, it was a tribute to his wife. They lived in the home until 1996, when they relocated to Cathedral City to be closer to their daughter, Harriet, and her family.

Harriet worked as a microfilmer at Loma Linda Medical Center for 13 years and retired in 1982. Since that time, she and Roy have traveled extensively both internationally and within the United States. Their wanderings took them to Spain, Tanzania, Kenya, Mexico, the Panama Canal, St. Thomas island, Venezuela, Australia, Alaska, Germany, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, New Mexico, Kansas, Michigan, Colorado, and Oklahoma, to name a few.

Harriet was an avid sports fan, actively following her favorite teams throughout the season; the Dodgers, USC Trojans, and the Rams games were a priority for her, regardless of what else was going on in the world! When a sports question arose, the chorus of “Ask Harriet” resounded; she always knew the answers! Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett were among her favorites. Harriet loved to bowl and was on several teams before starting work outside the home. She and Roy spent their early retirement years on bowling leagues both in San Bernardino and Palm Springs.

Harriet always was the biggest kid at the table, but was able to join in the fun without ever sacrificing her role as Mother and advisor. Harriet rarely turned down the opportunity for an adventure; she went parasailing and chose a henna tattoo in 2003, got matching toe-rings with her daughter, daughter-in-law, and 3 grand-daughters in 2000, and always joined in the practical jokes (if not actually instigating them) at family gatherings. She was an avid fisherwoman, more for the entertainment of her family than for actually catching a fish. The stories that came out of watching her engage in this pastime have amused the family for generations.

Harriet also was an exceptional cook, with family favorites including her homemade pomegranate jelly, divinity, and peanut butter fudge; on the savory side, her fried eggs were second-to-none. In fact, one of her granddaughters refused for years to eat any egg that wasn’t prepared by Grandma! Harriet even roasted a turkey over the phone once, for two granddaughters (Ladyboyd and WoodsideSprite) who had a giant bird and absolutely no idea how to prepare it!

Harriet made a point of always staying connected with the family, attending all of the family weddings, and welcoming the new arrivals as each family unit grew. She had 5 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. She met the two youngest of her great-grandchildren on July 21, 2008 (Ella and Griffin); only one of her great-grandchildren was not able to be welcomed in person by her before her death. She was more than wife, mother, grandmother, and friend; she was a genuinely wonderful woman with a heart full of love for God and her family. Harriet was a continually happy and loving influence on all who came in contact with her; she will always occupy a special place in our memories and our hearts.


Janeen said...

Hey, Christi, so sorry to hear about your grandma. Lots of love and prayers.

HIP for Sure said...

Beautifully done honey! Did you get your CD of the service? Love you very much