Monday, December 28, 2009

My Sister-in-Law


Vicki Lynne Williamson(nee Sneed)was born on February 12, 1954, the second child of Garfield Sneed Jr. and Shirley Alma Krebs. She leaves behind her husband John L. Williamson, three of her four children and their spouses; Chad and Megan Earls, Jeremy and Shannon Neal, and Candi Neal; and the absolute, without a doubt joy of her life, her five beautiful grandchildren, Will Earls, Cara Earls, Genesis Neal, Kaitlyn Neal and Kaylie Neal, two younger brothers and their wives; Bill and Theresa Sneed, and Jimmy and Terri Sneed; and three younger sisters and their husbands; Gail and Randy Newberry, Lois Sneed, and Wendy and Mike Mitchell, and her father, Garfield Sneed Jr.


She married Jody Earls and gave birth to her oldest son, Chad. Her second marriage to David Neal gave her three more children, Jeremy, Christopher (who died shortly after birth), and Candi. Her third marriage was with John L. Williamson.

Vicki was a cute, howbeit, mischievous toddler.


It didn't take her long to discover the joys of flinging food ... at her father. That was her first mistake. One fateful meal Garfield turned the cards on her, literally. He dumped the whole bowl on top of her head, and she never threw food at him again.

She was a difficult child when it came to potty training, so in a final act of desperation, her father tied the potty chair to her, which worked, but would probably be illegal today.

Her dad also remembers a time when he was her hero, and “saved her life.” She had become very frightened of a particular toy and was screaming in fear, until he threw it down on the floor and stomped on it. She stopped crying.

Vicki was tough little girl. Her father got his first assignment to Long Island New York, and left Shirley alone with the kids, and without a car. Because she didn't have a car, and had three young children, Shirley ordered groceries, and had them delivered to her home. When the man who delivered the groceries began “hitting” on Shirley, Vicki came over to the door and said, “You better get out of here. My mommy’s going to go get a shot gun.” He left quickly and never bothered Shirley again.

Garfield and Shirley took their children down the river to gather rocks for their patio. Four year old Vicki stood on a rock to watch, until the rock started to move. What she thought was a rock turned out to be a snapping turtle. They killed the turtle, and her mom made turtle soup.

Garfield had the basement floor poured on a Saturday morning in their new house in Goshen, and when they went back to check on it that next evening after church, a thin layer of water covered the entire floor. Vicki walked the perimeter of the damp basement splashing her feet in the water until she came to the area where they had set up a sump pump. It looked just like the rest of the floor. She stepped into it, and plummeted 30 inches down, up to her chin. She bobbed up and down, like a cork in water, bawling her eyes out.

It was at that same sump hole, where Bill grasped a hold of a metal lamp, and while the electricity was coursing through his veins, Vicki tried to rescue him. She grabbed a hold of Bill, but now the two of them were getting the shock of their lives, until Gail quickly accessed the situation, and unplugged the lamp, saving them both.

Gail admits that she always kind of jealous of her older sister, because Vicki got everything, and got away with everything. She even got tap dancing lessons, but that was because Vicki used to put plastic cups over her feet and dance in them, and that’s why her mom was convinced that she’d be a dancer.

About his sister Bill says, “She had those stupid horses.” The horses were such a hassle. But when Vicki was on a horse, she was in her element. She was horse crazy. She was great, and pranced around like a pro. She was good with the horses, and took excellent care of them. She was even hired by someone in the area to board and care for their three horses.

Vicki fell while swinging from grape vines at Camp Turner (girl's camp) and broke something, but her dad doesn't remember what. But, she did break her wrist hitting Lorin on top of the head once, after his relentless teasing. She ended up with a cast, and Lorin ended up with … well, nothing, except a really good story.

Here are some random thoughts about Vicki, from those who knew her best:

She crocheted blanket, quilts, Afghans and dollies for her home, and as gifts for others.

She loved her soaps; All My Children, One Life to Live, General Hospital, and watched them faithfully from 1-4.

She was a pretty good softball player and slid into first base when she was 6 or 7 months pregnant with Jeremy.

She was always athletic.

She had the most beautiful, sweet smile.

She loved the Dollar General….

She made the best homemade cookies and the best homemade pizza.

Vicki liked to wear leather and ride on the back of John’s Full Dresser Touring Bike.

She loved playing Euchre every Friday night.

Vicki’s comeback to Jeremy about her being short?—“Good things come in small packages.”

She hated daddy long legs, so Gail used to chase her with them. Bill says, “We all did.”

She loved walking the creeks…

Vicki always dressed nice. She was stylish. John L.'s mother, Phyllis was one of her best friends. They did everything together.

Vicki 2

Vicki loved all of her grandbabies, and has two granddaughters named after her; Kaylie Lynne, and Kaitlyn.

Vicki didn’t have a favorite heirloom, piece of jewelry, or any material object. She wasn’t like that. She loved everything. She loved life, and didn’t want to leave…

Jeremy’s wife, Shannon, got along superbly with Vicki. Shannon says that Vicki never looked at her as an in-law, but as a daughter. She once overheard Vicki say to Jeremy, “You better keep this one.”

She was undeniably beautiful, and never left her house looking anything but fantastic. But that took a lot of time. She meticulously wrapped her long hair around her head and pinned it… she even ironed her hair, before hair irons for hair were invented. She kept a great tan, and her fingernails were always perfectly manicured. She did her own nails and spent hours trimming, applying several coats of nail polish, and adding decals.

She was around the age of 12 when she had her appendix taken out. Later in life, the doctors found out that Vicki had a nonfunctioning kidney, and the kidney along with a seven pound tumor was safely removed. It was found to be noncancerous.

John L. tells the story of how one morning they awoke to find three year old Jeremy standing on a chair in the kitchen pouring flour into the coffee maker. She couldn’t get mad at him, but she wouldn’t drink the coffee either.

Her house was impeccable, always clean and orderly, nothing out of place. John L. says, “The kids would get toys out and go into another room, and she’d pick up after them. She had to have things picked up…” and Jeremy’s wife, Shannon says, “Is that why you think I’m going to do that?”

Candy talked to mom almost every single night, even when she was a teenager. Her mom was her best friend. Candi remembers that any time Vicki went to the grocery store, or the laundry mat, she tagged along. She also remembers brushing Vicki’s hair and French braiding it too. Vicki loved that.

When Vicki and John L were dating, John L turned the music up loud, stopped the traffic on Main St. in front of the Stage Coach Inn, and they slow danced to Islands in the Stream, while he proposed to her. After their marriage, they decided they wanted to have a baby together, and on the way home from somewhere, she grabbed her birth control pills out of her purse and threw them out the car window on Rt. 68, where Lorin used to live. A month later she became pregnant and unfortunately had a miscarriage. She would have a second miscarriage before having to have a hysterectomy.

Vicki was a stay-at-home mom for many years, until Candi was 14, when she took her first job at Diesel Eagle. She was a packer, and really enjoyed shipping. She worked there about ten years before it sold out, and then she went to work at the Golden Chorral in Eastgate. She had faithful customers who came just to see her, like Marlene (who came to see her in hospice.) She loved her customers, and they loved her. Vicki gave such good service, that her customers would ask which section she was working in. She worked there for about 10 years, up until the time that she got sick. The obituary picture online is one of her working at the Chorral.

Vicki 2

It was taken a little over a year ago.

She loved their chow, Rocky, and Buddy, their Siamese cat. There was something about Vicki and animals. Shirley’s cat Tigress isn’t too partial to people, but would jump right up on Vicki’s lap when she came over.



Vicki always went all out at Thanksgiving with ten or twelve pies—every one of them made from scratch. Each Thanksgiving, they had one whole table with nothing but pies, and they’d try to find the largest turkey that they could to feed all of their family and friends. She did everything in her power to make sure that her children had a good Thanksgiving, and a great Christmas – that was really important to her.


Vicki's Life

Vicki always made sure that Candi’s hair was perfect for school.

Once when Vicki attended a parent-teacher conference for Jeremy, she questioned the teacher on some point and the teacher replied, “Oh, but you signed your name that you received it.” Well, evidently, she did not, but what they discovered was that Jeremy was signing her name so convincing that it fooled even his teacher. Vicki wasn’t too happy about that. Funny how brothers can be so alike—Chad tried pulling the same prank with signing his dad’s name to a report card! He got caught too.

Vicki loved the outdoors, camping, and fishing. Once she caught a 38 pound cat fish at Sherry’s Pay Lake…a stocked lake, and won big money $1,200 dollars for the 38 pounder. She actually won the daily, weekly, and monthly jackpot with that 38 pounder. One of her and John L.’s favorite thing to do was to go from pond to pond, and ask if they could fish there. At a mud hole that didn’t look like it’d have anything, she caught her biggest bass…

Because of a frightening experience when she was a little girl with a bear attacking the family car at Yellowstone National Park, Vicki had a natural fear of bears. Fortunately, there aren't any bears in Batavia Ohio. Well, there never used to be. John L. waited for her in the tall grass between the farm house and the market house with a fur coat draped over his shoulders. He jumped up and down and made growling sounds, and she screamed loud, ironically calling out for him. That kind of put him in a bad spot, and he jumped up and dropped the coat and apologized to her.

Vicki loved boating and tubing, but did not like to go fast. John L. gunned it and took her around in a wide circle. The tube flipped over and she tumbled out, but when she resurfaced, her bathing suit top did not. She probably laughed about it, after she wrapped herself in a towel, and got redressed.

She was a phenomenal pool player and got into a tournament in Beechmont at Billiards with over 130 people, mostly guys. She came in third. She got to the point that she was as good as John, and they built themselves up quite a pool reputation playing for money. They were known as, Jack and Jill. Yes, they were that good.

Once, back in 1988, Vicki and John L. were walking around in a used car lot and her eye caught a red Trans Am Firebird. She kept looking at it, and wished there was some way that she could get it. So, later on, John L. made a deal with the car salesman and the kids put a big ‘ol white bow on it, and on that mother’s day gave Vicki one of her sweetest surprises ever.

Vicki's Life

A few years later, they traded it for her Blue Baby, a Buick Regal. They gave it a new paint job, and custom wheels. She loved it, and washing it daily.

Vicki's Life

Vicki's Life

Jeremy and Shannon had three miscarriages, and Shannon says, “Every time we lost a baby, she lost a baby.” Shannon’s doctor told her that she could never have a baby, but Vicki said, “Unh uh,” and refused to let them give up. So when Jeremy and Shannon went to visit her after their three month doctor appointment, Vicki said, “We pregnant?” and was ecstatic that they were. Vicki was able to watch Genesis’ birth, and was the first grandparent to hold her.

When Genesis was a little baby, all she had to do was hear Vicki and her bouncy seat would go crazy. She had Vicki wrapped around her finger. She knew that Vicki had a snack for her, and would get in her purse for crackers. She’s dump them out everywhere, but Vicki didn’t care, she’d just pick them up again. Genesis was not allowed to dump crackers out, and when she was corrected by her parents, Genesis said, “Dama lets me.”

Shannon told Vicki that she needed help getting to a doctor’s appointment, but what she didn’t tell her, was that Candi was on her way to surprise her with her 4 week old granddaughter that she had not yet seen. So, when she answered Shannon’s front door, and found Candi and Kaylie standing there she said, “Shannon, Candi’s here,” and then burst into tears.

Vicki loved surprises. Good thing, because apparently this family likes to give them. Once when Candi was on her way up from Tennessee, Vicki called asking if Candi had arrived yet, and they said “No,” right at the very moment they were entering the Golden Chorral with Candi to surprise their mom.

Chad remembers spending time with his mother at Grandma’s house, when he was younger. He remembers her sending a few cards, and an occasional phone call. He’s grateful for his birth, and for what she unintentionally taught him.

He remembers that his mother showed up at his doorstep when her first grandchild and only grandson was born and that she held Will, but all he has is a picture of it, because he wasn’t there. He believes that she always had good intentions, and that she did love him. Chad is thankful that he got to see his mom while she was still conscious. Vicki told him she was sorry for some of the choices she made. The best thing he ever got from his mom was his dad, grandparents and family. Chad doesn’t have much of a memory of his mother, but he never stopped loving her or hoping that she would one day is a part of his life.

During the last week of her life, whenever she woke up she’d say, “Where’s my babies?” and they’d wake her grandbabies up, and bring them in to her. It would take every ounce of her strength to hug and kiss them.

Gail says that John L gave her the most loving compassion and tenderness that she’d ever seen a man give a woman. Vicki reached up and grabbed him around the neck and kissed him over and over on the cheek and said, “I’d be lost without you.”

John L adds; “Just like I am now."

John L. gave her all of her baths, and dried her hair, not just in hospice, but at home too.

With every breath, she would tell her children and grandchildren that she loved them. She could hardly speak and gave all her strength to hug them.

John L was sitting with her when Gail arrived. She said, “Oh there’s Gail!” She reached her arms up to her.

John L and Gail both say that there was something special about Jimmy. Vicki would call out, “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.” John L says the hospital bed made sounds, and one night at 2 in the morning, the bed made a sound. He woke up to see Vicki trying to stand. She was sinking to the floor, because she was so weak, and fell into his arms, and said, “Jimmy’s going to be mad.” John L asked why, and she said, “Because I got out of bed.”

Vicki always responded to John L’s soothing voice. She’d calm right down when he spoke. Hospice told him to relax, and they’d take care of her, and he said, “No, that’s my job. Keep her pain down, keep her comfortable, and I will do everything else. It was my job to do everything else.”

Even when she was asleep they’d all talk to her, and John L loved to rub her back.

In the last few days of her life, Vicki said over and over, “I’m so blessed.” It was because of all of the love she saw around her.

We’re all kind of blessed like that. No matter what happens to our family, we still love each other. Vicki felt blessed and validated by our love, and now it’s our job to continue that legacy. We’re all we've got, and we’re family.

It’s so hard to let Vicki go, especially those of the family that were with her those past few weeks. But can you imagine Vicki's joy in being with her mother? and Lorin and Dennis, and Karen, and her son Christopher? We weep at our loss, while they rejoice in her return. One bright and glorious day, just like them, we'll be looking into Vicki's sparkling eyes and seeing her beautiful smile again.