The Value of Friendship

woods quiet

A Tribute to Ricki Wummel

by Connie Eccles

I have been blessed with good friends in my life and wish to take this opportunity to say goodbye to one of the best, Ricki Wummel. Ricki lost her battle with cancer on June 11, 2001. She was greatly loved and will be sorely missed.

Ricki and I met when she approached me across the bushes dividing our properties. She felt it necessary to inform me that our dog, Brutus had impregnated her dog. I was quick to inform her that Brutus, who she mistakenly always called Bruno, had been tied up on his dog run and her dog was the hussy.

We laughed. I apologized and told her that we would get Brutus neutered immediately, but unfortunately it would not change the current situation.

After that first meeting, we often met across the bushes as she let me know how her dog was progressing in the pregnancy. When the puppies were born, we went to see them. They were cute and cuddly but the mother dog was hostile so we kept our distance until they were older. My girls, would go over to see the puppies, hold them and play with them in the thick, green grass in Ricki’s front yard.

It was sad that we could not keep one of the puppies, but with four cats and Brutus, it would have been irresponsible. Ricki also had two dogs and a cat, so her keeping one of the puppies was also impossible. So our families were equally disappointed when all the puppies were adopted out. And although it meant we no longer had any reason to continue our talks and meetings, we did. And our friendship flourished.

When her finances and health deteriorated, she was forced to move into a smaller house with less property to maintain. It was a difficult decision and one that she often said she regretted because she missed us as neighbors. We had to try harder to keep in touch once she moved away from the neighborhood. Through emails we would arrange to meet for breakfast at least once every 3 or 4 weeks.

She shared her concerns about her children, her job, her health and her finances. I was able to make her burdens seem lighter and she did the same for me. She enjoyed watching my girls grow and kept track of my son as she watched them change from youngsters to young adults. She had older boys so she was consoling when I became frustrated with choices my children were making.

Ricki taught at Rockford Chrisitian Academy and attended church faithfully. She wore her religion like a badge of honor. She was not ashamed to let others know of her beliefs. She knew God and loved him. She knew the importance of living one’s religion, not just professing it. Although she and I were not of the same faith, she never put down my beliefs and was quite impressed by the structure, organization and love in the LDS Church.

Ricki lived an exemplary Christian life. She loved and shared with others. She prayed for others as well as herself. In all the time that I had been blessed to know her, her biggest concern involved her boys accepting the gospel and living the Christian lifestyle.

Good friends are those who make you a better person for having known them. Ricki was one of those friends. I am honored to have had her in my life. This article is a tribute to her – until we meet again….

Copyright 2006,, reprinted with permission.