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      A HARP. A SMILE. A GENTLE WORD by Thomas Putnam

      bhdu19u089ihnw2Today is the memorial service celebrating Celia Finestone's life. It isn't difficult to celebrate such a life: it was rich and full and overflowing. I first met Celia when she was caring for my mother, Jean Putnam, who was dying of Alzheimers Disease in the Green Home. We were there every day usually for a meal or two, and more often than not this kind lady with the warm gracious smile would be tending to her.

      Since those first months of getting to know Celia, our lives crossed in a number of ways. She was a solid supporter of Hamilton-Gibson Productions. She came to many of the main stage shows and was especially interested in our children and youth choirs.

      Somehow she found out that she and my dad, George H Putnam, had lived in the same small town in Kansas decades ago. Small world.

      Once when I took by son Cory and my pregnant daughter-in-law Rachel to the Cedar Run Inn for a special meal when they were visiting from Indiana, Celia and Steve were there with their good friends Peggy Detweiler and her husband Jurgen. When we stopped at their table so I could introduce them, Celia began a warm and wonderful welcome to the yet unborn son. It was a memorable moment as she proclaimed good things for this child, soon to be named Dean, whom she seemed to be able to see.

      I'll miss Celia. (I'll miss her “Your dad is proud of you” following a concert or a play. I think she could see Dad, who died in 2002, as well as the yet-unborn Dean.) We at HG will miss Celia. The whole community will miss Celia. Her warm affirmations. Her hospitable smile. Her gentle harp. Her deep love of music and people and kindness and...love. (Say hi to George and Jean, will you, Celia?)

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