Remembering ‘Mom’ on her special day

Mother's Day 2021 is Sunday, May 9, and some area daughters and sons are sharing their mothers' personalities and long-familiar advice and traditions. Above left is Maria Saiz pictured with daughter Rose Bradshaw of Kerrville; and right is Diana Bock with son Todd Bock of Kerrville. Others highlighted on page 12  are mom Betty Coffer with daughter Koy Coffer; Penelope Chisholm with daughter Keri Wilt; and Nancy Wilt with son Patrick Wilt.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, and if your mother is available to ask, she probably will say, “I don’t need a gift.” It’s a “mom thing.”

Another “mom thing” is the lifelong bond they create and carry with their children. Ahead of this weekend’s nod to moms across the nation, we spoke locally to individuals and asked them to share their thoughts with their moms.

Todd Bock

Todd Bock of Kerrville said Diana L. (Long) Bock is a Kerrville native who married husband Ronnie in 1971. Todd is the oldest of four with three sisters.

His mother graduated from Luling High School and afterwards was “a professional mom” who sometimes was a substitute teacher. Bock and his wife discovered her high school yearbook recently and found his mother “was busy in every organization,” including cheerleaders and Prom Queen court.

As parents, he said his father was louder, but everything he did was “permissioned” by his mother.

He doesn’t remember her having hobbies, except she played the piano for pleasure. “She was in charge of after-school,” he said.

Her often-repeated advice was, “Always remember who you are.” “And that was for all of us, as a family. You’re not just one person,” he said.

Asked who was disciplinarian, Bock said his mother was, and added, “You didn’t want to go to ‘Dad level’.”

The family’s been in the RV business plus time at Tom Benson Chevrolet, close to 50-plus years.

“We have very structured family rules – do well in school, be respectful, clean your room. And my oldest sister and I helped take care of the younger ones when they were babies.”

He said everyone could smell meals cooking. They always sat down as a family to eat, and each succeeding family still does, always starting with family prayers. “Now we include the college kids by phone, too.”

“In the Bock house, because of dad’s business, she drove whatever vehicle was there. In our driveway, you couldn’t tell who was home by the cars.”

Her favorite color is blue. And if asked about gifts, she always says, “Don’t get me anything. Just give me some of your time.” But Bock added, it’s a family thing that there’s always lots of Walmart bags at her house and nobody knows what’s in them.

As a grandmother, called “M’am,” he said, there’s no difference in behavior with the 11 grandchildren.

He quoted her saying. “Don’t forget who you are.”

Bock said everyone in the family expects her dressing and gravy at family dinners; and nobody else even tries to make it.

Rose Bradshaw

Bradshaw’s mother, Maria (Rubio) Saiz of Leakey is deceased, and Rose has one step-sister and one half-brother.

“She quit school to raise 11 siblings; and I was very proud that when I finished, she went back for her GED,” Bradshaw said. “In Leakey, she worked many years at Firestone Department Store – like Gibson’s here. In Leakey, you have to be versatile. Later she worked for the owner of a game ranch, and that lady boss took her on driving trips and once sent her home from New York on her first plane ride.”

“My mother was outgoing; loved to play tennis; and loved baking and cooking. She taught the other kids that. Baking was a passion she and I had together.”

Bradshaw said she saw the smiles she put on people’s faces and that she was passionate about children. “The outcome of everything has to improve a child’s life.”

She would tell her daughter, “You don’t need a man; do it on your own. Love the children unconditionally, no matter what they put you through. Cook from the heart.”

Her mother taught Bradshaw how to cook most of the wild game she still cooks. “I do that to this day. Our freezers are always full.”

Concerning discipline, Bradshaw said they always knew when they did anything that disappointed parents. But while they weren’t rich in money, they were, in love and affection. “She’s still with me. I miss my mom every day.

“She always chose trucks as vehicles; and red was her favorite color.” She always wore red lipstick; and named Rose similarly.

About gifts, she always said, “I’ve got everything I want. Don’t get me anything.”

She couldn’t sit still, Bradshaw said; and entertained herself by cooking and baking. But she once owned a ceramic shop, too, after learning dry-brush painting in a community class.

“I found her more mellowed and less harsh as a grandmother,” she said.

But a favorite saying was the Spanish equivalent of “Dang it!”

For family dinners, she’d be in the kitchen cooking it all from scratch, Bradshaw said.  

Koy Coffer

Koy Coffer is one of the public faces for City of Kerrville as a receptionist at City Hall. But she also was daughter and best friend of her mother Betty Coffer when they lived together for years after Bruce Coy died.

Coffer said her mother was born in Houston in 1934; and she lived a full life to age 86 before passing away last year.

“She grew up on a ranch, and after she finished college at Sam Houston State University, she taught English and physical education in schools in three cities for 36 years,” Coffer said. “She married my dad in 1957 and I came along in 1958.”

Coffer said her parents developed an interest in genealogy. Her dad had an electrical business and a small convenience store; and in later years, her parents traveled to every U.S. state.

“My mother drove herself everywhere up to her last two years. I promised my father I’d take care of her. And after he died, I promised my mom that every day, after work or on weekends, we’d go drive somewhere. And we did.”

Coffer described her mother as “having patience to the Moon and back” and said both parents went to everything Koy did, often as volunteers at those activities.

“They were excellent parents, and I had five aunts and uncles that helped, too. We always had a July 4th family reunion; this would be the 55th year.”

Her mother volunteered at Riverside Nature Center for Master Naturalists, and at 4-H activities.

Coffer remembers several oft-repeated admonitions. “You know you don’t want to get into trouble. Don’t take on too much; and we expect to do all you promise. There’s always two sides to a story. Sometimes you will not make people happy, but always be honest. Don’t be afraid to work for what you want; and don’t expect handouts. Be happy.”

Asked who was the disciplinarian as a parent, Coffer immediately said, her father, who took action first for some things, but after that, sometimes there was “The Look;” and she never wanted to see that.

Her mom’s favorite color was blue. And when her mother chose a vehicle, it was always a station wagon.

Asked for gift suggestions for Mother’s Day or her birthday, Coffer said her mom never had any suggestions. But if she was getting herself a treat, it was always chocolate or cookies.

When there was a family dinner, Betty liked ‘slaw or chili.

Keri Wilt

Wilt is half of the Grape Juice ownership; and her mother is Penelope (Deupree) Chisholm, born in Massachusetts.

“Both my parents live in Hunt, near us. My mother married in 1957 and had one girl and two boys,” Keri said. “She also has a teaching degree. When I was growing up, she was involved in everything, PTA and Texas Fest fundraisers; and she had some part-time jobs. She was always very ‘artsy.’”

When Keri was in college, her mom started a business, “Creative Memories,” teaching others how to make personal journals.

“She’s always been a cheerleader and an encourager at heart. She always told me, ‘You go, girl!’,” she said.

Usually her father Tom was disciplinarian, but her mother was the one who said, ahead of time, “This is a bad idea.”

Another was, “It is what it is.”

Keri said her mom’s favorite color is red, and when she picked a car for herself, she got a red Cabriolet convertible.

In her family, gifts aren’t just for official occasions but given whenever someone finds a special surprise and presents it for no apparent reason.

“As a grandparent, she focused on me when the babies were born. That was special,” Keri said, adding the grandchildren call her Nanda.

Her mother is known to make sun tea, but especially mint tea continually in summer, using homegrown mint. “I will take a cup of ice with me to her house, just to get some.”

For family dinners, her mom usually brings pulled brisket oven-baked in a bag.

Patrick Wilt

Patrick Wilt’s mother, also living near them in Hunt, is Nancy E. (Dickey) Wilt, born in Ypsilanti, Mich. His father Ned and mother have been married almost 49 years.

Patrick is an only child. His mother grew up eastern Michigan and got a home economics degree. Then she entered the U.S. Marine Corps as a food service officer and first lieutenant; and served 12 years. She followed that with more food service with Zebo and as catering director at Texas Instruments.

“She gives new cookbooks to us all the time,” he said; and added she always has pursued antiques.

“She’s curator (historian) of the Women of the Marine Corps,” he said.

She was one of a group of five women who pushed a landmark legal case to the U.S. Supreme Court about 1975, he said, that, when the justices approved it, allows women to remain on active duty after pregnancy.

“I always think of her and cooking; and her work ethic. And she’s always reminding us about stories from the past. Her passion to protect the past is powerful,” Patrick said. Her nickname for him – still – is “Peanut.”

“She was the disciplinarian. Both my parents were in the Marine Corps; and dad was gone a lot. She was, by default.”

Patrick doesn’t recall a favorite color, but she prefers Ford vehicles, any latest Ford.

She suggests going out to eat, not gift ideas; and prefers time with grandchildren. As a grandparent, Patrick’s assessment was, “Spoil, spoil, spoil – it’s all for fun now.”

Her number one lesson is her work ethic, he said. “I worked for her at functions and I always was watching her work ethic.”

The family food connection is strong, and he expects her to contribute at dinners a cheeseboard with salmon on it, Dungeness crab with artichokes and homemade mayonnaise, and Caesar salad.

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