Obituary of Aileen Sue Jarret
In her eyes we were saints
Now your calling all the boys home
Because Heaven’s angels
Carried her away
So I will follow you to Tennessee
Though it hurts me so
To lay to rest this mountain beauty
Who the Lord’s called home
And I can see her up in glory.
I can see her through the pines…
Saying. You boys be good.
Adapted from “Follow You To Virgie”
A song by Tyler Childers.
Our mother was from Tazewell, Tennessee in the Cumberland Gap region of the Appalachian Mountains. Grass grows tall down in the gap and mountain breezes flow through the Smokies and dance with wildflowers in the places where our mother was born. And those breezes are filled with southern lore and legends and God and the Devil. Our Grandmother told a story of running through those open spaces being chased by a blue racer which she said WAS the “devil”. She said “he never caught me though honey. I only weighed 80 pounds and I could just fly”.
Our mother’s name was Aileen Sue Liford-Jarret, and she was of indigenous descent. My grandmother said we were Choctaw. Others said we were Cherokee as well. The family migrated north to Michigan when our mother was a child. There was work up here. Work that paid a living wage. It was mil work of course, but it sustained a family of 9. When they initially arrived, they rented a two-bedroom row house in Darington in south east Monroe. Later on, they owned their own home.
On Friday May 25, 2023, our mother quietly passed away in her home on Sandy Creek. Her last words, spoken softly to Bob, her fiancé, were simply “I love you” He replied, “I Love you too”.
Now we have to let her go. We have to let her spirit return to the mountains and to the Mountain-Laurel and the Honeysuckle and to the white Trillium and Cardinal flower. To the song of the Wood Thrush and the Mockingbird. To the echoes in the valley and the white church on the side of the mountains. To the old men smoking on its front steps and to her uncle’s tobacco patch. To the rich fragrance of tobacco leaves drying in the big barn. To the dark, mountain night of her origins rich with stories and ghosts and the very stuff of myth. To flow like a mountain breeze in and through her numerous paintings, beautiful and powerful works that transcend this moment and give us a glimpse of her internal vision.
She was the strongest, most resilient, and most positive woman I have ever known. She worked her entire life, moving into managerial positions that were frequently withheld from women at that time. Although life was often exhausting, and I never heard her whisper a single complaint. We will be telling stories about this mountain’s beauty for the rest of our lives.
Our mother raised three sons; Leo Todd of Toledo, Ohio; Lance Paul of Monroe, MI, and Jon (Pamela) Jarret of Monroe, Michigan. She cherished the memories spent with her six siblings: Maureen Ferguson, Lois Krzysink, Karen Sweat, John Liford, Don Liford and Ronnie Liford. She adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren; Emilie Brinkman, Leo Jarret, Amy Bacon, Jamie Jarret, Mick Jarret, Ian Jarret, Myiah Bacon, Max Bacon, Penny Brinkman and Zoey Brinkman and loved her fiancé of 15 years; Robert “Bob” Madala. Sadly, she was preceded in death by her parents; Roy and Stacey (Minton)Liford and her husband; Leo Jarret.
Friends may gather from 9:30am to 10:30am on Monday June 5, 2023 at St.Anne’s Church 2420 N. Dixie Highway, Monroe, Michigan. A Mass celebrating Aileen’s life will be at 10:30am also at St. Anne’s Church. Aileen’s care has been entrusted to Merkle Funeral Service, North Monroe 2442 North Monroe Street Monroe, Michigan 48162. (734)384-5185. Cremation has taken place through our on-site crematory, Covenant Cremation of Erie, Michigan.
Online guests may leave words of inspiration and comfort or share a photo by visiting www.merklefs.com.