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Blanche Edmondson

Obituary for Blanche Edmondson

April 18, 1932 - October 1, 2017
Austin, Texas | Age 85


Blanche Edmondson passed away at her home in Austin, Texas, on October 1, 2017. Blanche was born in Dallas, Texas, on April 18, 1932. She was 85.

Blanche was a loving wife, mother, sister, and friend. She was a strong and humble person who gave much of herself to her family and friends. We will miss her dearly.

Blanche was the fourth child of Adolph and Blanche Scheffler. She was the baby of the family but she was also a very late addition; thus, she grew up essentially an only child.

After high school, Blanche attended Hockaday Junior College in Dallas, graduating in 1951. She had not planned on attending college; however, a woman from church recognized Blanche's intelligence and ability and arranged for Blanche to get a scholarship. Her affiliation with Hockaday was a life-long source of pleasure and pride.

When she was 18, Blanche suspected that a boy she didn't like was going to invite her to a New Year's Eve party, so she asked a man she knew from church to take her instead. A short eight months later, that man, Don Edmondson, became her husband. Their relationship lasted 65 loving years, through good times and bad, until his unexpected passing last May. Through all those years, Blanche loved the way Don made her laugh.

After their wedding, Don and Blanche moved to California so that Don could complete his PhD in Mathematics. By the time they left California in 1954, they had two children. They moved around for a while and added a third child before settling in Austin in 1960. In Austin, they loved, laughed, fought, raised a family, built a home, and made new friends. They learned new skills, grew together in their relationship, and struggled through life's challenges.

After Don retired from the University of Texas, some people expected Blanche and Don to rest and take things easy. But that was not Blanche; she was never one to rest or retire. She wanted and needed to always be busy, to be working, to be creating, to be contributing.

Blanche's eldest child and only daughter Chris was her pride and joy. After Chris was diagnosed with the neurological condition that eventually claimed her life, Blanche wanted to do everything she could to help. Upon learning that one way to contribute was to participate in a brain disease research project at Northwestern University, Blanche quickly volunteered.

Blanche loved her grandchildren and attended soccer games and band concerts religiously, but she was especially proud when 'the boys' grew older. She loved being there when they graduated from high school and college, set goals, and then worked and struggled to achieve those goals.

A lover of beauty, Blanche first discovered the grandeur of nature when her honeymoon trip led her and Don to visit Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks. Once they had a family, she enjoyed their summer vacations exploring national parks and forests. Later, as her kids grew into adolescents, she took up backpacking with her family to explore the great beauty of our wilderness areas.

Blanche also sought beauty in her home. Through a friend from Hockaday, she was introduced to noted Mid-Century Modern architect Thomas Scott Dean, who designed her and Don's home. It was her talent for creating beauty in her home that gave birth to a career as an Interior Designer.

Later in life, her love of beauty led her and Don to travel to such destinations as Bali and the Spice Islands, China, Norway, France, and Egypt. During these travels, Blanche's love of creativity drew her to art museums and architectural tours.

A strong woman herself, Blanche valued and admired other strong women. There was her mother who worked to feed the family when Blanche's father was unable to find work during the Depression. There was her elder sister Edith who left Dallas to join an aunt in Chicago working for the war effort. There was her mother-in-law who became a business owner when women were not expected to own businesses. And most importantly, there was her best friend Rosalie Samuelson, whose strength and example led Blanche to forge her own career as an Interior Designer.

Blanche was a rock of support to her family. When her niece Linda's young daughter died suddenly one night, Linda first called Blanche to come help. Blanche was there to console and support the family in their overwhelming grief and throughout the torment to follow. Later, when one of Blanche's elder sisters could no longer live alone, she called on Blanche to help. Blanche gladly spent innumerable hours assisting her sister with doctor appointments, living arrangements, bills, and — of course — decorating her apartment.

Conversation was a great joy to Blanche. Tragically, her ability to find words was eventually robbed from her. At the end of her life, she developed Primary Progressive Aphasia, a neurological condition that steals a patient's ability to find the right word. It begins innocuously enough but can lead to a nearly total inability to communicate.

Blanche, you have given so much of yourself. You have enriched our lives, shared your ideas and hopes, challenged us, and — perhaps most important — set a wonderful example of strength in the face of adversity.

Blanche was preceded in her passing by her husband Don Edmondson and her daughter Chris Edmondson-Yurkanan, both of whom died in May of this year. Blanche is survived by her son David Edmondson and his wife Diane (DeDe) Hebner of Austin, her son John Edmondson of Austin, her son-in-law Christopher Yurkanan of Westlake Hills, her grandson Brad Edmondson and his partner Sarah Delude of Boston, and her grandson Neal Edmondson of Seattle. She is also survived by her niece Dorothy Jane (Dot) Tatum of Woodland, California, her nephew Robert Tribble and his wife Lark of Carrollton, her sister-in-law Jean Eyhorn of Boerne, and Rosalie and Danny Samuelson of Austin (Blanche and Don's best friends).

Visitation: 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 6; funeral service: 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 7 — both at Weed-Corley-Fish funeral home at 3125 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, Radnor Station Building Two, Suite 320, 290 King of Prussia Rd., Radnor, PA 19087, or Northwestern University Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center, 320 E. Superior, Searle 11-453, Chicago, IL 60611.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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