Happy 100th Birthday Mom

imom-photomg_1678-4                                          Cleo Lapp McMillin

She was born in the little house across the road from Lapp’s blacksmith shop, February 28, 1917. The eldest of three daughters, Cleo Lapp grew up in the rural Dunker Brethren community of Appleton, Colorado where her family blacksmithed, farmed, tended a dairy herd, made cottage cheese, and went to church. It was a hard-scrabble life on edge of the Western high dessert, but the family carried on through the depression and the coddling moth infestation that took the apples away from Appleton.

Cleo left home to study nursing in Chicago in the late 30’s and worked as a nurse for 40 years. She married Joe McMillin from Palisade, Colorado in 1940. They lived in the Bay Area during the war years and returned to Western Colorado where they raised their four children.

Cleo traveled through her children’s lives, trips in a family RV and occasional ventures with her two sisters. She always sought new schemes to help the family along. There were herds of turkeys to feast on the plague of grasshoppers in the peach orchard, Nubian goats which gave precious sweet milk, capons to butcher, geese to produce down, and Suffolk sheep for prized meat and notorious fence jumping.

Through thick and thin, her creative mind kept her alert until she lost her sight and succumbed to Parkinson’s just before her 92nd birthday. She always reminded me that the Lords Prayer tells us we are forgiven AS we forgive those who hurt us. The truest giving person I’ve ever known, a humble saint, my guiding light; I miss her each day.

Happy One Hundredth Birthday, Mom



2 Responses to “Happy 100th Birthday Mom”

  1. jodie Steiner Says:

    Aww, this just made me so happy. I feel lucky to have known your mom. From the bits of time I got to spend with her I really learned what it meant to embrace every minute and be grateful. She carried a spark of joy everywhere she went. Happy birthday, Cleo!

  2. judithhicks Says:

    Hi Mary Jo, What a lovely tribute to your mom! I hope your trip to Ireland and Ballymaloe went well. Judy >

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