[pullquote quote=”You might have had the woman with the starched white cap high atop a mane of red hair as your nurse to welcome you into the world.”]In 1925, Henrietta was the name you got when your parents were hoping for a boy but had to accept the alternative. She preferred Babe, reflecting her place in the family order, and proved to be as good as any man, becoming a registered nurse and, along with her sister Christine, founding Elim Christian School in Palos Heights, a place where those with autism, cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome are recognized, not as cursed, but as people who are actually closer to God than anyone. mom 200 My Mom Was a BabeShe then returned to health care and, if you went to the maternity ward on the south side at Little Company of Mary or Christ Hospital in the sixties or seventies, you might have had the woman with the starched white cap high atop a mane of red hair as your nurse to welcome you into the world or, if things went badly, to show you the way out. Babe fell to dementia yesterday in a Florida hospice. She was 84 years old. She was uninterested in modern music, but appreciated the classics. This was one of her favorites. She would want you to play it loud…loud enough to wake the dead.

Comments (27)
  1. Michael Woznica says:

    My condolences to you. Your mom sounded like a great woman and you should be proud of all that she did.

  2. Ron Mohr says:

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. I’m sure it’s heaven’s gain, though.You have my sincerest condolences.

  3. Ron Mohr says:

    Oh, & by the way… your Mom has great taste in tunes. I cranked it up to eleven!!!

  4. p ellison says:

    what a great tribute to your mom. i’m sure she’ll be missed. god bless

  5. Annie says:

    Oh they are blowing the trumpets in heaven for her arrival!
    Weren’t you the lucky one to be able to call her Mom. God Bless

  6. my dear says:

    my heart is so sorry

  7. Cathe Tuman says:

    My prayers to you & your family.

  8. Mike Knorek says:

    Sorry for your loss.

  9. Lyndall Caldwell says:

    Sounds like a great woman. I remember when you, Frank, used to mention her taunting you from FL about Chicago weather in the mid-to-late 80’s.

  10. Terri Hemmert says:

    I love Babe’s son Frank. He’s a good friend of mine.

    I love the Handel. When I used to sing the Messiah I would tear up on this one, thinking of my Dad. Hard to sing with a lump in your throat, but somehow managed. And we shall be changed…indeed.

    I also love the people who have never met Frank but know him on the radio, who have taken the time to send these messages and listen to this music. You folks have been with us through the good times and bad. Bless you.

    God bless Frank and his family.

  11. John Kramer says:


    My condolences to you and your family. It sounds like your mom was very special woman. My mom is also an RN who works in the maternity ward. My prayers of comfort and joy that she is with Christ are with you and your family.

  12. Frank Van Dinther says:

    Brother Frank . . .

  13. Gaye Coffman says:

    Read your post this morning and have been thinking about your loving tribute. Your mom sounds like she left her mark on you and the world. So sorry for your family’s loss. I know you will miss her terribly. God bless.

  14. jt says:

    those we love don’t go away,
    they walk beside us every day,
    unseen, unheard, but always near,
    still loved, still missed and very dear.

    hang in there, frank.

  15. Maureen Broom says:

    I can see her love of people and music has had its effect on you. This is a great blessing that I’m sure you know. Parents in their 80s, opera (loud), nurse moms (from the nuns) and dementia are all part of my life too. Turn it up and enjoy!

  16. Kelly Smith says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom. Even though the tears are streaming down as I read, thank you for sharing with us what a wonderful and loving woman she was, inside and out. You’re a good son.

  17. Patrick Moroney says:

    My condolences to you Frank, and the rest of the Lee family. Celebrate the 84 years your mother was able to share and give to those around her. It appears that she led a beautiful life in one of the noblest professions. We need to mourn a passing, but also must remember to celebrate the beauties of the life. It surely seems, that in time you have a lot that you can celebrate.
    A toast to you mother and all the nurses looking down or after us on a daily basis.

  18. Von Ferwerda says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Your Mom shared her gifts and used her talents; now all of heaven benefits as we have from seeing the love she shared.

  19. Thomas E. Simon says:

    You have my deepest condolences Frank.

  20. JC Polkinghorne says:

    Thank you for sharing some memories. She sounds like a great lady. My condolences to your family.

  21. Craig and Sheila Willer says:

    Dear Frank and family, may you be comforted by your wonderful memories of your mother after the shock and pain of her loss passes, which it will. Seven years ago on 5/14, I lost my own dear mom and have a sense of the loss you might be feeling. As you journey though mourning and grief in the days to come, know that you are not alone and do not hesitate to share your feelings with those who love you, it will indeed lighten your burden. Our thoughts and prayers are with you,

  22. Jeann says:

    She may have one of the first people I ever met! Maybe that’s why I became a nurse too. Myself and 5 siblings were all born there between 1962-1976.

  23. Pam says:

    Mr. Frank E with a period Lee so very sorry for the loss of your mother. She led a wonderful life and produced a wonderful son to boot.

    My condolences to you and your family.

  24. Loretta Athans says:

    My condolences to you, Frank, and the rest of the Lee family. Continue to stroll down memeory lane..for in time it will ease your pain, warm your heart and bring a smile to your face. Sounds like your mom was a very special lady. Rejoice! … For Heaven has just Accepted it’s Newest Angel!!

  25. Jim Johnson says:

    As you grieve, take comfort from the same source whom she she served, who has welcomed her home with “Well done…”

  26. Trish says:

    I’m sorry for your loss, Frank, but I am happy for you that you have this way to honor her.

  27. Bob Marsh says:

    Since coming to work at Elim, I have been inspired and changed by the children and adults with disabilities we serve. I have also been inspired by the people who serve them, not only because they are willing to do a difficult job, but because they routinely and naturally see the God given value of each individual. I thank God for the Babe’s he has given to us, and I pray that he will send many, many more!

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