Audrey Larie Dirr Poland    

My grandmother led a rich and wonderful life; full of travel, adventure, and family. Travels - with her husband of 71 years - included just about every state in the USA, as well as Canada and Mexico with their travel trailer; and flying to Russia, China, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Arctic, and South America - even living in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil while Grandpa was on a consulting job.

She was an incredible seamstress: she made not only stylish and perfectly detailed clothing, but my entire wedding trousseau, as well as those of countless others; and - giving person that she was - she sewed or crocheted items that went to those in need, or gave to friends pot-holders she'd made, in every color for any mood in the kitchen! She made the most incredible and intricate ‘tatted' snowflakes - mine hang on the Christmas tree, as do the countless snowflakes that she gave to so many others.

In an era when many women were quietly at home doing only domestic things, Grandma did choose to be an at-home mother as most did, but still embraced adventure and forward thinking; she wasn't defined only by her role as a wife and mother. She was an inspiration to me in many ways, one way was that she drove a car! Many women her age never drove - there was always a man that was supposed to take care of her. She was fun, she was loving, she made great cookies (if you drank all of your milk, and ate all of your dinner!); and when we were little, she had a warm lap and embrace for those tough times!

I knew that for her the circle of life was nearing its completion when the roles reversed between the two of us: it was I that was gently encouraging her to eat more dinner, or drink her milk. As I rubbed her back, or massaged lotion onto her hands, it was difficult to thank her for the wonderful memories, and for her contributions to my own life. I think she knew; I think she realized that she'd done her immense part in the lives of not only myself but countless others in the family she and Grandpa started. Saying "Good bye and thank you" thinly veiled in the words "I love you, Grandma, sleep peacefully" were painful; but it helps me to know that she was satisfied with her life, she had no regrets, and because of her faith and memories she had the inner peace to not fear death. She was born on 10 April, 1909, and peacefully left us 2 January, 2002.

Taken in 1925, when Audrey was 16.

We don't know the date this was taken, but think it was her high school graduation photo; or it possibly taken while she was in college.
The wedding photo! They had a small, private ceremony, and almost immediately afterward they headed to New York where Merle (with the diploma for his new electrical engineering degree in hand) had a job in Radio Research with Bell Telephone.

I don't have a date on this (probably early 1930's), but it shows one of their many traveling adventures! Don't know in which mountains they hiked, but they obviously made it way up there in elevation - and I bet Grandpa knew exactly how high, too!

Daughter Shirley Jean was born first. (You can almost see the baby pram behind her, she later used it to deliver papers on her paper route!)

Daughter Janice Rae followed a few years later.

We think this was taken in the mid- 1940's. Shirley still has the brooch Audrey wore in this picture.

This was taken in the 1950's in the side yard of the house they lived in for many years - the home in which they raised their family.

It didn't take all that long, it would seem, before those two daughters (with help from their husbands) gave grandchildren to Audrey and Merle! 9 grandchildren, all told, plus two spouses. (One was absent for this photo)

Then the great grandchildren came! This is only a partial showing of the great grandchildren, but there are 18(?!?) great-grandchildren!!

This is the "Green Cabin", that Audrey and Merle built on the foothills of Mt. Hood, with a view of the Zig Zag River. Many happy memories were made there, and it's still enjoyed by the family.

They loved to fish, the two of them always seemed to catch enough for dinner!

She was one of those people that could find a reason to smile - to be happy.

And it had to have been one of the many good traits she passed on to her daughters! That's Janice on the left, Shirley on the right.

They had a big birthday bash when they turned 90! Audrey's birthday was April 10th, Merle's March 26th. (From the left: Shirley, Glenn, Audrey, Merle, Bill, and Janice)

Rest in Peace

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