Ohio Wine and More is about a family farm, market and winery who we are and what we do. We are a family first, we are a collection of generations working together that make up more than the sum of our parts. We lost one of those parts in 2013. Loretta Stawarski Bakan, Mother of the author of this blog, passed away on December 16th. My Mom turned 90 years old in August, she had a great life!

Loretta Bakan my Mom
Loretta Bakan my Mom

My Mom had a dry sense of humor and irony that is seldom seen today. She never wore her problems or discomforts on her sleeve, she always wore a smile. The last years of my Mom’s life were not that great. She started losing her sight about 15 years ago and it took its toll on her. My Dad was there by her side the whole time. He is a Marine of WWII vintage, and these years is where I really began to understand how tough a Marine could be.

I don’t write this post to make anyone feel sad about my Mom’s passing, it was time for her to go. She had used up her body and life here on this earth was no longer much fun for her. Yet the way she lived her last few years taught me more about life and living than the previous four plus decades I had the pleasure of her company. Mom along with Dad showed me what true courage was in the face of a body and mind that could no longer keep pace with the world around it. I hope I can live to be as good as an example for my children when my “time comes”.

So if you visit Maize Valley and you see something cool and creative, thank Loretta. She was the spark of creativity that I carry forward that creates the corn mazes, pumpkin cannons, pig races and so much more. Mom’s dry sense of humor and cutting wit, is the source of my ability to creatively look at things in such a way that I see opportunities where others may just see problems. Mom was very practical growing up in the Great Depression and having lived though a World War but she was ornery too.

It can be difficult for a child to understand but your parents were people too. Young people at one time, when they leave us they become ageless both the person you knew as well as the person they had to be over their years.

Mom is now that “person” spanning the ages, not bound by time. She is again that young attractive woman who caught the eye of that Marine, she is also the woman who taught this young boy how to ride a bicycle 23 years later, she is also a loving Grandma and Great Grandma to many young lives. If I have any tact, grace or elegance about me it is that of my mother showing through. I will endeavor to be a living example of those qualities so abundant in her person as I live the rest of my days on this earth. And I hope by doing so I make the world a better place for those who I am around.

Thank you Mom, take care and see you again.

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