FRANCES MALINOWSKI HORN, 1918-2022

Eulogy by son, James J. Horn, * Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, North Tonawanda NY,

November 26, 2022

Good morning. Thank you all for attending this memorial to the life of Frances Malinowski Horn. She was born in Detroit, MI, January 8, 1918. That year the Spanish flu infected 500 million people around the world, with 50 million deaths, three-quarters of a million deaths in the U.S. including many infants. How ironic that she would have to pass her final years in the midst of another devastating pandemic. But she never contracted Covid.

She was orphaned as an infant and she and her four siblings were sent to relatives in North Tonawanda. No one could take all five children so the three boys, John, Henry, and Edwin, were each taken by a separate family, and she and her sister were brought up by an aunt. Life was tough economically during the depression. As teens, her sister Eleanor entered a Felician convent as Sister M. Georgiana, and Frances was sent to work as a domestic servant for a wealthy family, not live in. Her pay was two dollars a week. Domestic servants in the U.S. were often Irish or Blacks, but the Irish had moved up the social ladder and Blacks were not welcome in racist North Tonawanda.

So, Frances spent her teen years cleaning, doing laundry, sewing, cooking, and baking. In her twenties, she found work in the Wurlitzer factory where she met Milford Horn whom she married in 1939. (She returned to Wurlitzer briefly in the 1950s to make hand grenades for the Korean War). Marriage provided no rescue from hard work, for she had four children in nine years. Her life as a mother was one of self-sacrifice. Perhaps you know the joke: how many Polish mothers does it take to change a lightbulb? “None. It’s okay, I’ll sit in the dark.” She continued to work hard into her nineties. I remember when she was in her late eighties, I phoned her from Mexico and it took her a long time to answer. I asked what was going on and she said she was in the cellar. I asked “what are you doing in the cellar?” and she replied, “painting it.”

Her life was not without tragedies. She lost loved ones to horrible diseases: her son Frank to ALS and her son Bill to complications from Alzheimer’s and diabetes. She had to endure many years caring for her husband, Milford, with Alzheimer’s until he died in 1996. But as a widow, living in a large home, she was given lots of support from her extended family. She repaid the kindness with love and baked goods. She continued to drive until age 99, and she drove well. Her aged car broke down needing extensive repairs. You don’t buy a new car at age 99. Some folks that age don’t buy green bananas. When she tired of maintaining a large home, no one had to push her to move into an apartment where she continued to live independently until the end. She survived three bad falls, a broken pelvis, a broken hip, and broken arms. She needed a walker and could not do stairs. The family came to the rescue with lots of support, especially from daughter Marge Garneret and daughter-in-law Sue Horn. Marge took over her finances, grocery shopping, and medical appointments, and Sue came by to check on her often and also did shopping and driving to appointments. No need to sit in the dark now; she loved being spoiled by her family, sometimes excessively. She would phone Sue and say “I have a Tops coupon for fifty cents off a pound of butter. Will you pick it up for me?” Grandson David went to her apartment any time she needed a repair, and his wife Jenni recently took over her house cleaning. Great granddaughter Emily also helped with shopping and visits and  great  granddaughter Brianna phoned her every morning. Other grand children phoned and visited, so she had lots of attention and support for which she was very grateful.

At 104 and ten months, we knew, and she knew, that her incredible journey was nearing an end. Still, the end was a shock since she went so fast, never sick, not suffering except for a brief episode of respiratory failure. We were blessed as a family to have her with us for so long, and we are thankful that her passing was so merciful.

It is altogether fitting that she receive her farewell mass in a place that was so significant in her life, Our Lady of Czestochowa church. She was educated here and married here. In this church she acquired her abiding faith, a faith that provided her comfort in difficult times, not the least of which, losing a husband, two sons, and a son-in-law. So, I thank you for helping us say farewell here in this church, celebrating her life, her faith, and her love.

*The diocese limits eulogies to five minutes prior to the start of the funeral mass. I stole a few extra minutes and added comments here not in the original eulogy.

PHOTO GALLERY

16 thoughts on “FRANCES MALINOWSKI HORN, 1918-2022

  1. Such a thoughtful and heart-felt eulogy – very touching. I learned so much about your mom and her life. I wish I had known her personally; she was a remarkable woman!

  2. What a lovely tribute to your mother, Jim. She sounds very much like mine who would be 105 this month. R.I.P. Francis Horn.

  3. Thanks for sharing your comments. Interesting information. You are certainly a loving son. Terry

  4. Jim, Thanks for sharing. She looks like she was a wonderful lady. It is sad that remarkable people aren’t appreciated until they pass on. My mother was also born in 1918 and she did catch the Spanish Flu but obviously she survived. She died in 2016 at the age of 96. Sully Frumenti

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  5. Querido amigo, gracias por compartir tus recuerdos de una admirable persona que tuviste la suerte de tener por mama. Todas mis condolencias y pensamientos sinceros por acompañarte en esos momentos difíciles que puedo entender sobre todo por el reciente fallecimiento de mi querida hermana.
    Te esperamos a tu regreso a Cuernavaca con abrazos amistosos. Susan Yvon

  6. What a warm, heartfelt tribute to your mother, Jim. What a life she had! So glad that after her difficult younger years, she was treated like a Queen in her later life.

  7. Even though I only met her once here in Cuernavaca, your mother was an institution and a model here. Many friends would ask after her. Enjoy all the memories!

  8. Jim, beautiful eulogy. What a long, wonderful life she led and had such a great family surrounding her with love.

  9. Fran was a beautiful lady inside and out. Loved the photos! Jim, a beautiful tribute to your mom!
    Sue being a daughter in law was loyal and faithful.
    I was always impressed by her love, concern and care. So happy to hear that the family surrounded and helped Fran in so many ways… visits, errands, taking her to doctors, cleaning for her etc. I was glad to know her and visit her on occasion. My deepest sympathy to all the family.

  10. Dear Jim,

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful story of your mother. She was an amazing woman, and you were certainly blessed to have her for so many years.

    Hugs to you and your family,

    Wendy Barr

  11. Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family,
    How blessed you have been to have a Mom, so vibrant and strong.
    She lives on in each of you.
    With caring thoughts and gratitude that you shared her story with us,
    Leah & Don Johnson

  12. Dear Jim,
    Thank you for honoring your mother in such a beautiful way.
    Yes, I loved listening to her stories. She had a great memory.
    She was a grand lady who was known and admired by many.
    She will be missed. She is with her Lord.
    Rita

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