Butterflies released at Luther Crest in memory of friends, loved ones
Luther Crest retirement community staff and residents recently had their first butterfly release ceremony July 9 in memory of residents, friends and loved ones who recently died.
Jen Laury, community life director of Luther Crest, said they purchased 50 butterflies from Folk’s Butterfly Farm, Nescopeck, Luzerne County, for the ceremony.
“We do fundraising for our benevolent care endowment fund and I was looking for something a little different and thought this would be kind of cool,” Laury said.
The butterfly release was held in conjunction with the memorial service the Rev. Virginia Heimer, Luther Crest chaplain, was having for residents who died recently, Laury added.
Before the residents released their butterflies, Heimer said prayer before reading the names of loved ones being honored.
They included Naomi Alexander, Ed Baldrige, Ron Barclay, Tom Bower, Howard R. Davis, Ed Dennis, Frank Dex, John and Andrea, Joseph Duncan, Harold and Dorothy Eisenhart, Jean Eisenhart, Jim Gibson, Betty Handwerk, Mary Heine, Lester Hiller, William and Ella Hiller, Jack Ihm, Leo Keller, John Leh, Jay Livermon, Mary Kay Wingard-Lower, Chuck Meetsma, Wilbur Mensinger, Marlene Merz, Anthony Moccio, John Moyer, Dr. Paul Orr, Carolyn Ott, Carol Patridge, Margaret “Peggy” Peters, Bruce Raines, Roberta Richards, Gordon Sabol, George R. Shelly, Pearl Smith, Bernice and Martin Stephen, Edwin Szybilla, Joe Treese, John Weston and William Zeky.
Several residents spoke with The Press before the butterfly release regarding the people they were honoring.
“I will be releasing a butterfly in honor of my husband, Jack, who passed away Aug. 1, 2012,” Dorothy Ihm said, adding she was participating because it seemed like a very meaningful thing to do.
Louise Raines said she was releasing a butterfly in remembrance of her husband Bruce, her friend Peggy Peters, and all the people from Luther Crest who died this year.
Peters’ sister and son also spoke with The Press.
“This is a special way to honor my sister Peggy Peters,” said Kathryn Kershner of Allentown.
“It is a nice way to remember my mother,” said Larry Peters of Allentown.
Luther Crest resident Marge Dennis commented about the butterfly release after it was over and the person for whom she released her butterfly.
“It was beautiful and the weather was great,” Dennis said. “I released my butterfly in memory of my husband, Edgar, who passed away 4-1/2 years ago.”
Laury also commented about how the butterfly release went.
“I think it was awesome,” Laury said. “One of the residents, Jeanette Diehl, had tears in her eyes. She was doing this in memory of her sister Bernice Stephen. The butterfly even landed on her nose.
“I think they [the residents] loved it and want to do it again.”