by Barbara Guarino Kruk
When the events surrounding your life cease to make sense you begin to question the existence of God. When tragedy strikes, you wonder what went so terribly wrong. I watch the evening news and shudder at what is playing out on the television and ask the Lord, “Why?” The senseless killing, the abuse, the unleashing of nature’s wrath have become such ordinary stories that we become numb to their effect on those who are actually living these horrors.
Life is filled with bizarre stories. We were called upon by the family of fifty-seven year old Russell Frank Smith III to assist them with his funeral arrangements, which was not out of the ordinary. What was strange was the manner of Mr. Smith’s death. Russell was a simple man with a big heart and was devoted to his family and his job. He loved his job as a bus driver for the MTA. He was beloved by his co-workers and had made many friends, so many that they literally came by the busload to join in the celebration of his life.
Russell was a good man who loved his family and worked hard to provide for their needs. On December 6, 2016, his life came to a sudden end. Through a series of events that no one could have foretold, Russell became unconscious, fell down, hit his head and was burned to death by a steam radiator. Why? Here was a man, a good man, a family man, going abut his ordinary life and in one split second everything changed.
And so we ask ourselves, “Why did God let this happen?” Of course, it is not for us to question the Lord, but sometimes, when I see the sorrow in this world, the hatred, the sheer face of evil, I shake my head and beg, “Why?”
For all the Russell Frank Smith’s of the world I send up a universal prayer. For every abused child, for every neglected animal, for every hurting person I send up a prayer. If, and when, I finally reach the end of this train called life, I am going to ask God what he was thinking by creating vessels for death, destruction and mayhem. Why did some have to suffer so much more than others? I am not sure of the actual questions I would ask, but I sure would like to know some answers.
Maybe life’s mysteries are best kept a secret; I am not sure. I have seen so much senseless tragedy and have comforted so many survivors that I often wonder that profound question…”Why?”
For Anita, Danielle, Joshua and Jason, they will never stop wondering why their husband and father was taken away from them so soon. We can only hope and pray that as time passes and with much love and support, they can find acceptance and peace.
Katherine Masterson, age 73, of Center Moriches, passed away on November 26, 2016 in Southampton. Katherine is pre deceased by her daughter Andrea in 2015. She leaves behind her beloved husband Philip, loving children Audrey (David) Kim and Philip (Susanne). She will also be sorely missed by her cherished 10 grandchildren. Visitation was held. A Mass of Christian burial was held at St. John’s RCC in Center Moriches. A private cremation followed. Funeral arrangements entrusted to Wesche Funeral Home Inc., Center Moriches.
Geraldine O’Lague, age 74, a local resident of Shirley for the past 50 years, passed away in Center Moriches on November 30, 2016. Geraldine leaves behind her beloved children Lisa, Evelyn, Joseph, Joy, Geraldine, dear sister Joyce and cherished nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Family and friends gathered at the funeral home to remember a truly wonderful woman. A service was officiated by Deacon Patrick LaBella. A private cremation followed. Funeral arrangements entrusted to Wesche Funeral Home Inc., Center Moriches.
Janet Ann Richey, was diagnosed with a Parkinson’s like disease nearly 15 years ago. She peacefully passed away in her home on the morning of November 22nd 2016. At the moment of release from this world, she was blessed to be surrounded by family members. Janet Ann Welch was born on March 19, 1936 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. She was delivered during the 1936 flood in Lock Haven. Consequently, there was no electricity and the doctor arrived in hip boots. Janet attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse. She began piano lessons at an early age and played for Sunday school at the Dunnstown Methodist Church. She also enjoyed playing for Lock Haven High School music shows. In high school, Janet was a drum majorette with the marching band and enjoyed playing basketball with friends. She also enjoyed watching her high school wrestling team, and eventually was the biggest fan at all three of her sons’ wrestling matches. Upon graduation from high school, Janet attended Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove Grove, Pennsylvania. She graduated, in 1957, with a degree in medical secretarial studies. She then moved to Philadelphia and worked as a medical secretary. In 1957, she had a visit, in Philadelphia, from Roy Richey, a friend she had known since they were ten years old. Janet and Roy had met in their youth in Lock Haven, where Roy would spend summers visiting family and friends. Janet and Roy married on August 2, 1958 at the Dunnstown Methodist Church in Lock Haven. They honeymooned in the Finger Lakes, New York. They made their first home in Hauppauge, New York but eventually settled in Smithtown where they lived for 35 years. They then moved to Manorville, New York. Janet was active in committees with the Hauppauge Methodist Church and served as a deacon in the Presbyterian Church of the Moriches in Manorville. Janet and Roy retired in October 2012 to Westminster in Lake Ridge, Virginia. Janet enjoyed traveling, and reading, and was an avid Yankees fan. She was a friend to all who met her. Her greatest joy on earth came from being a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She lived by example. She is survived by her husband Roy; daughter Kelly; son Chris and wife Jeannine; son, Craig and wife, Karen; son, Steven and wife, Heidi; grandchildren Christopher and wife, Katherine; Sean and wife, Samantha; Emily, Gabriella, Anneliese, Garrett, Hailey and Nathan; brother Allan Welch and wife Carol. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Janet’s memory may be made to: Westminster Ingelside Foundation, WLR Resident Supporting Fund, 5121 Broad Branch Rd., NW, Washington, DC 20008.
Russell Frank Smith III, age 57, of Mastic Beach, died tragically on December 6, 2016. Russell was born in Queens, New York and worked for the Metropolitan Transit Authority for the past thirty-four years. He loved his job and never missed a day of work. He was a devoted husband and father. He was married to his wife Anita for thirty-three years. He was the cherished father of Danielle, Joshua and Jason. Family and friends were received at Roma Funeral Home in Shirley. Interment took place at Nassau Knolls Cemetery.
Gordon Peter Skau, age 85, of Manorville, formerly of Central Islip, passed on December 7, 2016. He is a former supervisor of Western Union. Gordon served in United States Army during the Korean War. He is survived by wife Rita, daughter Mary Lou and her husband Brian, brothers Donald and Robert, sisters Margaret and Mary. Resposing was held at Sinnicksons Moriches Funeral Home. Mass was held at St. Johns RC Church in Center Moriches. Interment was held at Pinelawn Memorial Park with Military Honors.