Since this blog, website, and the entire company was founded to honor Mamma Fortitude, I thought it fitting to share this tribute after her passing. She was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease at the age of 24 in 1971 when she was pregnant with me. Despite close to 50 years of health challenges, she lived life to the fullest and lived every day with fortitude. I hope her legacy will inspire others with an autoimmune disease or chronic illness (and… well… anyone) to do the same.
Bonnie R. Wolff
October 18, 1945 – August 8, 2019
First is the condensed obituary, to share her life’s accomplishments.
In the Eulogy section, I will cover:
- Her favorite things (the list is indicative of how much she enjoyed life)
- The family’s favorite memories
- Her loving legacy.
We also have a place for you to pay your respects, a full photo gallery, and more articles inspired by Mamma Fortitude.
Mrs. Bonnie R. (Rudy) Wolff, 73, of Menno Village, Chambersburg, PA and formerly of Country Club Road, Waynesboro, PA passed away Thursday morning, August 8, 2019, in her home.
Mrs. Wolff was employed as a physical education teacher for grades 7th through 12th by the Waynesboro Area School District. She coached gymnastics at the Waynesboro YMCA for a number of years where she was the co-founder of the girls’ gymnastics program. Later she was employed by Waynesboro Human Services and then First Data, Hagerstown, MD as an accounting representative, retiring December 2008.
She was a member of the Central Presbyterian Church, Chambersburg; Waynesboro College Club; National Board of Adrenal Diseases (NADF); Co-founder of Adrenal Support Group; Waynesboro Cancer Auction donation solicitor; National AARP; started the middle school field hockey program in Waynesboro; Co-founder of Waynesboro Area Girls Gymnastics Judging Association; Life member of PIAA Gymnastics officiating; 2008 YMCA Building Strong Kids Award; Friends of the Library; 50 plus years YMCA; and Waynesboro Fest Committee. [Full Obituary]
Mamma Fortitude Funeral Eulogy
Mom defied death so many times, it was difficult to believe it was real this time. My “favorite” was a few years ago when I got to the hospital, the DNR was beside her bed and she looked at me and said, “the doctors said I was supposed to die last night but I guess they don’t know who they’re messing with.” That’s my mom. That’s what a fighter she was. That’s Mamma Fortitude.
Despite her health challenges with Addison’s Disease, she really knew how to live life to the fullest. Because of that, I wanted to share with you Mamma Bonnie’s favorite things that she enjoyed throughout her life, some of our favorite memories of her, and finally her loving legacy.
Bonnie’s Favorite Things
Bob, the love of her life of over 60 years
Daughter Holly (that’s me)
Spending time with family
Spending time with friends
Partying with family
Partying with friends
Staying up past curfew watching The Simpsons with Grandson Aidan
Listening to and dancing to Hot Rod Stewart, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Rocky Top, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and the Beach Boys
Picnics at Renfrew, Pen Mar, and Caledonia
Card Club playing 500
Teaching, coaching, and judging
Spending time at the YMCA
Parasailing. Yes, parasailing.
Swimming (Dad is the one standing on the right – her left in the photo)
Traveling – all over the country with Bob, plus Amsterdam, London, and Canada. But especially out to California to visit Michelle and the girls, her sister June, and one of her best friends from childhood.
Getting her nails done
Crab cakes at the Airport Inn
Thrashers French fries
Hours on the front porch
Telephone calls with lifetime besties
TV shows – Young and the Restless, Bold and the Beautiful, NCIS, and Da-Da (which is Law and Order if you didn’t recognize the sound)
The football pool and football parties and watching the Redskins lose… again.
And of course… Spending time at her Happy Place at the beach – including Bermuda, Jamaica, Kanawa Island, and especially Ocean City, OBX and Aruba.
It was difficult to narrow down, but I wanted to share some of our favorite memories of Mamma.
In college, she hosted the Baroness Maria Von Trapp – who was the real Maria that the Sound of Music was based on. As a small-town girl with a humble background, she was so proud of being able to do this.
Mamma created a warm and welcoming home that our house was always the one full of their friends, my friends and lots of family. She made “laughter-filled lasagna”, brownies, and jello for family events and parties.
She hosted the most epic Thanksgiving dinners ever – upwards of 30 people – family, friends, and guests from all over the world, including Chicago, New Jersey, Japan, and Denmark.
But Christmas was her holiday. The decorating, baking cookies, overflowing stockings, gifts for everyone, keeping traditions alive, and dancing to Christmas songs in the kitchen.
As I gained a family of my own, I made it my mission to try and recreate that same loving home full of family and friends and love and laughter.
Speaking of family, she had this quote in the kitchen, “There are two things you give your children: One is roots, the other is wings.” Growing up, I always rolled my eyes at it. But now that I’m a parent, I completely understand and have tried to give that gift of roots and wings to my Stepson.
There are so many fond memories of Mamma at the beach. And there are a million stories I could share. But this one really exemplifies not only how much Mamma loved the beach, but how much fortitude she had. Years ago, she was in the hospital with Pancreatitis. Not something you want to mess with. She told the doctors that she didn’t have time to be sick that she had to get to the beach. They strongly advised her against it, but she pretty much did a jailbreak from the hospital and Daddy Bob took her to her happy place. Nothing was going to keep her from enjoying life.
Speaking of Daddy Bob, when he was in the second grade, my Father was convinced that he was going to marry my Mother. In high school, they dated and courted. Dad hitch-hiked across the state of Pennsylvania to see her in college. They married in 1967 and would have celebrated their 52nd anniversary yesterday. Through the years, they gave “in sickness and for worse” a run for its money. But they had always been head over heels in love with each other and loved each other more every day. It was a model of love that has been an example for many to admire and follow.
Finally, my Mom always said that the struggles build Fortitude. It was her life mantra, and she inspired so many people with her strength and grace during difficult times. I finally understood what it meant when I had to conquer my own health challenges. It’s an honor and privilege to carry on her legacy and inspiration of Fortitude.
Mamma taught us all how to love unconditionally, how to give selflessly, how to never hold a grudge, how to take every day as a blessing, how to forgive, and how to enjoy life to the fullest.
There were so many thoughts swirling around in my head about what a beautiful soul and caring spirit my mother had and how to eloquently put it into words. I stared at the blank page and decided instead to share what her family and friends remembered about her. Her loving legacy has touched so many:
- “Bonnie never knew an enemy or a stranger.”
- “No one loved the beach more than Bonnie.”
- “She made such an incredible impact in our community, especially with our youth.”
- “Always constant laughter and good times at the Wolff house.”
- “Her fighting spirit was inspiring.”
- “We are all better people for having her in our lives.”
- “The world was a better, funnier, and kinder place with Bonnie here.”
- “Kind, generous, loving, funny, loyal, and smart.”
- “She was a kind and happy soul.”
- “Bonnie was a brave, strong woman who fought valiantly.”
- “She was indestructible.”
- “Bonnie touched all who knew her with her kindness, generosity, love of life, and a wonderful sense of humor.”
- “What a huge light heaven has gained, but it will sure be a little darker here with her gone.”
- “A role model and mentor.”
- “She was happy about everything in life.”
- “Those of us who were lucky enough to have Bonnie in our lives were blessed.”
- “She will be missed but her legacy will last forever.”
- “There was never a more positive person or greater fighter.”
We say our final farewell to Bonnie with the lyrics from Hot Rod Stewart and her favorite beach song:
“Never will I roam
For I know my place is home
Where the ocean meets the sky
I’ll be sailing.”
PS – love you most.
If You Wish to Pay Your Respects
If you wish to pay your respects, you can do so on my Facebook Post.
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Love, hugs, and love you most.
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