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Dignity quilts will comfort grieving families

Tim Pearson, director of Jones-Pearson Funeral Home, accepts a dignity quilt from RoJean Cummins, left, and Kathie Cole, members of the "Threads of Love" quilters at Hubbard United Methodist Church. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

The "Threads of Love" quilters from Hubbard United Methodist Church wanted to give some dignity to families of loved ones who have passed away.

They accomplished this by creating and donating two dignity quilts to Cease Family Funeral Home and Jones-Pearson Funeral Home. The quilts will be used to cover the cart carrying a deceased person from a hospital, nursing home or other location.

RoJean Cummins and Kathie Cole were instrumental in the making of the quilts. Cole created the design, which include Christian symbols in the corners with a large cross and dove holding an olive branch in the center.

"I'm dedicating the quilts in memory of my daughter Suzanne who died a year ago," Cole said.

She explained that it was a tough time and she hopes others will benefit from the dignity quilts.

The idea for the quilts came from a friend of Cummins, Shannon Palma, of Cameron, Wis., who is the daughter of Dean and Sharon Jacobson of Park Rapids. Edith Kufus did much of the stitching on the quilt and Char Peterson did the custom machine quilting.

"We just wanted to provide quilts that sent a message of hope," Cummins said.

Cole said the cart that is used at hospitals or nursing homes is stark. By placing a quilt over the body, it gives more respect during a difficult time, she said.

Tim Pearson, director of Jones-Pearson Funeral Home attended Hubbard United Methodist Church Sunday morning for a presentation of the quilt.

"It was such a wonderful thing," he said. "Just looking at the quilts is so uplifting, with the Christian symbols."

Kent Cease, director of Cease Family Funeral Home, was unable to attend the presentation Sunday but has seen the quilt.

"It's such a community project," he said. "It adds a very humanistic feeling to the process."

The funeral homes use plain, zip tight pouches that look somewhat cold and commercial, both funeral home directors said.

"As Christians, we grieve but we grieve knowing there is hope," Pearson said. "Nicely covering the gurney with this will give some respect and dignity to families."

Cease and Pearson plan to use the quilts each time they are moving a body to the funeral home.

The "Threads of Love" quilters worked on the dignity quilts for about 6 months, Cummins said.

The group provides quilts to soldiers, the hospital, nursing homes and others. Cummins estimates 200 quilts have been donated from "Threads of Love."

"We like to think our quilts are special," Cummins said.

Between 10 and 12 women meet every other Tuesday at Hubbard United Methodist Church for a full day of quilting.

"It's rewarding for us," Cole said. "A way to declare our Christianity."

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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