Fernrose Eileen Pitts Jackson Altum
April 25, 1927 - November 17, 2018
Fernrose was born in Putnam County, Indiana to Irma Fern (Haffner) and Harold James Pitts. Her parents, Irma and Harold met at a church party in 1920 at the age of 20. Her mother combined the names of a neighbor girl named Fern Rose, because she like the sound of Fernrose. Her older sister Berniece nicknamed her “Fernie Bell”. She was one of seven children, preceded in death by sisters Betty, Berniece, Norvella and Lois and brother Harold. She is survived by brother Bob. She was mother to five children. Preceded in death by Jackie Rose and survived by Judy, Harold, JoDee and Michele. She was grandmother to ten grandchildren: Brett, Dawn, Robbie, Angie, Gary, Rebel, Sara, Andy, Matt, Spenser and Misty. She was great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother to many more.
She worked most of her life. While she retired at 65, she continued to work part-time until she was 80. She worked several places in her life with the last and longest being IU School of Medicine. She met many special people during her career, but one was so special she was designated honorary daughter. Debbie Schlegel was very special to her.
Her parents were farm families. Her dad also worked construction with his father and brother and helped build George Washington High School the year she was born, 1927. Her mother was a homemaker.
She always had God in her heart. Even at the young age of 7, attending Hardshell Baptist Church with her paternal grandparents, Horace and Alvora Pitts. She often told the story that they always had to sit in the front row. One Sunday she dressed for church in the dark and while sitting in the front row swinging her legs noticed that she had on two different socks. As she liked to tell, the preacher pointed it out to everyone. She always said “The Lord’s Prayer” at night before she went to sleep as a child and was taught that by her grandparents.
She lost her father at the early age of 6. Her maternal grandparents, Fred and Effie Haffner, were very loving and helped her mother care for the children after her father died.
In her words, the most important lessons she learned in life are: Family always comes first and treat others like you want to be treated. Her favorite flower was the rose. Her favorite color was blue. Her favorite dessert was chocolate. Her favorite hymn was In the Garden. Her favorite leisure activity was doing crafts. She never forgot birthdays of her family and loved ones and crocheted afghans with love for every new grand, great-grand and great-great-grand baby born into her family. Everyone who was special to her received a home crocheted Christmas ornament for many years. There isn’t a person in her family who doesn’t have a Grandma Fern afghan. She loved music, listening, playing, singing, it didn’t matter she just loved music in any form. Some of her favorite times were Christmas and birthday parties where everyone would sing karaoke.
She lived what some may call a life with many struggles and obstacles, but she took each hurdle one at a time and overcame many things. She was in a very bad car accident in the late 1950’s and was told she would never walk again Well, she did. She bowled, gardened, and led a very good life. She was also a cancer survivor.
Fern lived a very long, wonderful life. She loved each one of her children dearly. She was not perfect. She was not always the ideal mother, but she loved each of her children with all of her heart and soul.
Our lives will forever be changed for better by having her as a part of us.
Fern's wishes were to be cremated with no service. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Riley Children's Hospital or the children's hospital of your choice.