On Saturday I journeyed to Manhattan, KS, to participate in the Celebration of Life Service for Alice Lois Redman, a friend of so many, including Central. Ms. Redman lived a remarkable life, and representatives of many parts of her journey gathered to pay her final tribute. There were many members of her family (and she had a large family); 4-H colleagues; professors from Kansas State; international students; DAR sisters; fellow church members; and, loving friends from the seminary.
To be sure, there were stories! One colleague told a story of Lois outfitting his daughter as the Swedish saint, St. Lucia, at a Christmas party, complete with candles on her head. The ancient tale of this martyred saint was that she bore the light on her head so that her hands would be free to serve. This would be an apt description for Ms. Redman, who was always serving others.
Upon meeting her, you felt like you already knew her. Her warm interest in you made you feel at home quickly in her presence. Lois loved life, and it is no wonder that students—generations of students—learned from how she lived life.
Idle hands were not hers. Lois was always making something: festive little boxes; necklaces and earrings; wonderful meals; and beautiful works of stained glass, all for the sake of giving them away. Her overflowing heart was expressed through her hands, and we treasure her handiwork. In my office is a wonderful piece, depicting the Holy Spirit as the descending dove. She knew my love of the Spirit and my preference for lots of red!
Generosity was a hallmark of her life. As Central began to complete dimensions of our renovation, there was an opportunity to name classrooms. It will not surprise you that Ms. Redman, along with her treasured friend, Dr. Carol Ann Holcomb, both known for their love of education, found a way to name one. The Holcomb-Redman Classroom is the most technologically enhanced room on the campus. Not bad for an 85-year old and her younger housemate, a board member at Central.
Generosity arises out of trust. One might imagine that a farm-girl born in Monroe City, MO, before the Depression was over would be obsessive about protecting her assets. Not Lois. Always frugal, yet she found ways to share her resources in generative ways. Her life demonstrated her trust in God’s provision.
The faith of Lois Redman was expressed in very concrete ways: adding a seat at her table; welcoming strangers from all over the world; sharing her creativity in the Stuga (a studio in her backyard); praying for missionaries with her ABW group, and visiting with family and friends. This kind of faith is contagious.
A well-lived life is characterized by joy. Joy is not a superficial emotion, but arises from a deep connection with God. Joy does not exclude pain, but pain cannot eclipse that deep sense of well-being. Even in her final months, Lois found ways to express joy in the simplest of things—a women’s basketball game, a visit from a friend, and a short note of encouragement.
The Seer of the Apocalypse assures us: “Blessed are those who . . . die in the Lord . . . for their deeds follow them.” How true this is of Alice Lois Redman. While saved only by grace, her good deeds accompany her for eternity.
Molly T. Marshall