Our world lost a woman of caring and giving when Ann Stevens, my aunt, died in Hartington on June 26 at the age of 91.
At her funeral services July 2 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, that life was celebrated in a wonderful eulogy by Rev. Jeffery Loseke but even more so as her casket left the church, flanked by her families including her three daughters – Jane Shaneyfelt, Judy Berggren and Nancy Hochstein – and her two sons – Patrick Stevens and John Stevens.
Outside the entrance to the church, about 20 Girl Scouts and their leaders lined each side of the sidewalk as her casket passed by, their arms folded to their chests as they sang the lyrics to “Taps.”
It came as a surprise to the family – and it literally took our breath away.
It was such a fitting tribute. Among Ann’s many life’s accomplishments was her work in growing the Girl Scout program in Eastern Nebraska. She was not only a troop leader for her own girls as they grew up, but she went on to work for the Prairie Hills Girl Scout Council.
In Ann’s obituary, her daughter-in-law, Jennifer Stevens, wrote that Ann never met a scout from whom she wouldn’t buy cookies and as a result, the Stevens family ate frozen Thin Mints all year long.
It is said that the ancient Egyptians believed that upon death, they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, “Did you bring joy?” The second was, “Did you find joy?”
My Aunt Ann brought joy to our world and I believe her ticket to Heaven is punched. And that group of Girl Scouts and their leaders brought joy to our families.
Their act of kindness outside the church will stay with my wife Linda and me – and all our family – forever.
— Paul Stevens
Editor’s Note: Ann’s husband Ed Stevens, longtime Cedar County Clerk who died in 1987, was the brother of Walter Stevens, Paul’s father, who died July 17, 2013, in Iowa.