Gifts of LoveBy Susan Kujawa
Gifts of Love – by Karen Bagnard and Susan Kujawa
On the south wall of the Village office hangs a gift of love… a quilt handcrafted by Lois Stelzer. It looks like a great stained glass window. With rich fabrics, meticulous stitches and powerful colors, this gift from Lois is a labor of love.
Lois was a member of our Village for too short a time. She was quiet and somewhat shy, but she expressed herself beautifully in her art – the art of creating quilts. She was so skilled that several of her quilts are owned by the Autry Museum. Karen Bagnard, a long-time Village member, is also an artist and she and Lois soon made a deep connection.
Not long after joining the Village, Lois learned that she had terminal liver cancer. As a very private person, she was reluctant to share this bad news. “I don’t want a bunch of strangers calling me”, she insisted. However, with Karen’s encouragement, Lois did share her news with a few others in the Village.
Later, Karen and a few other Villagers, arranged for an art show of Lois’s quilts. They displayed them on the walls of the Village conference room. At the opening reception, Lois spoke about her quilting and what it meant to her. Many of her quilting friends attended the reception, and Lois was delighted to see them. She enjoyed answering their many questions about various pieces.
Lois lived only a few more months. She had no family, but the Village had become her family. Several members of the Village attended her memorial service in her home. They got to see her amazing studio and many more of her works of art displayed there. Later we learned she had left a generous donation to the Village in addition to the beautiful quilt now hanging in our office.
Lois’s quilt reminds us of the many gifts made to us by other Village members, both living and deceased. Tangible gifts such as donations. Gifts of help where needed, such as rides or phone calls. And the gift of memories left behind by those who have passed away. Each gift is an expression of a core value of Pasadena Village – that we all have something we need, and we all have something to give.