My first cousin twice removed

     FREDICE LOUISE CRESSY was my grandfather Charles Fred Fuller’s first cousin and the fifth child of Sarah Mary Stones and Thornton Robert Cressy of Cowick, Yorkshire, England, and thus a sister of Georgianna Cressy (Sister M. Christeta, CSC). She was born on 3 November 1893 in South Bend. Her two eldest brothers were born in Cowick, where the old Cressy family home still stands. Fredice's mother Sarah (Stones) Cressy was godmother to Eva and Blanche Fuller, the two elder sisters of my grandfather. Fredice never married, but neither did she become a nun like her sister Georgianna. Miss Cressy, as she was to everyone known, passed away on 14 March 1961 at South Bend.

"The woman who arose at five a.m. to attend daily Mass at Saint Joseph's would also give her Notre Dame boarding students a piece of her mind when their behaviour fell below her expectations for them. Woe to the student who might invite a young woman friend into the upstairs apartment. The woman who stood for principled behaviour was also the woman who taught her nieces how to cheat at canasta "spicing" up the game a bit. The woman who diligently prayed the rosary every day of her life, carrying her beads in her dress pockets, and had such a tender devotion to the Blessed Mother, was not above using very colourful expletives to make her point when the situation warranted it. She demanded - and got - the very best from a person, but also coupled that with a wonderful permissive leniency allowing a person's creativity to flower ...which delighted her. When as little ones we acted up, aunt Fredice chuckled. When we danced or sang, she applauded. When we stayed overnight, she lavished us with privileges unheard of at home - drinking coffee or tea, staying up until ten p.m., going regularly to funeral homes, a visit to see "Ma and Pa" and poor dear Clemmy and Robert at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Friday night devotions at Saint Joseph parish, witness when her friends the Sisters removed their white "halos" and "bibs" when they came to visit and have a glass of beer. Her home was filled with wonderful niches to explore. Peanut brittle and raisin cookies were always available, and memorable hours were spent at her carved manual pump organ. On the walls were old-fashioned pictures, the lilac hedge at the side of the house was so fragrant in the spring, the stone pots of caladium on the front porch, and every window ledge inside filled with creeping ivy and philodendren are all part of our memories of Aunt Fredice. The bathroom smelled of Sweetheart soap and the black and white marble tiles were so smooth under your feet. At night a gentle fire in the stone fire-place created marvellous shadows in the living room, and you could dance to them, leaping higher and higher as Mrs. Gooley and Rose Nemeth marvelled at how gracefully you moved. Anyone who came to know Miss Cressy... or Aunt Fredice, certainly never forgot her and most likely was touched by her unique presence. Her faith was unshakeable, her will like iron - and her eyes were always on the Lord. She is with Him today - she and Ma and Pa - Alleluia!" (from an obituary written by one of Miss Cressy’s nieces.)

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