Lynne Marie Sihrer, born 9 Apr 1954; expiration date, 27 Dec 2019. At just 65, she was preceded in death by her brother, Gary Sihrer, father, Sylvester "Jim" Sihrer, and mother, Eleanor Florence Sihrer, and the author notes that at least the women in the family have impeccable timing. Lynne's mother died on Ash Wednesday 2014, while Lynne herself departed just after Christmas.
She is survived by her husband, Jack, two brothers, Wayne, a second brother, Dale and wife Kathy, and a sister, Lori and her husband, Andy. Cousins and nieces and nephews also abound, and are strewn, literally from coast to coast across the country.
Her early years were spent growing up a military dependent, relocating, approximately every couple years. In fact, she was born at Langley AFB, VA; was transferred to England, Germany, Illinois, France, England, and back to Illinois where she studied dental hygiene to begin a career that spanned 4 decades. Patient care and patience were two singular attributes. She could always be said to be completely "well-intentioned". In short, she cared about what she did, what her patients felt, and the quality of the care she gave! Her interest in the dental field had started when she'd been a volunteer "Candy Striper" in the hospital at Scott AFB, Illinois in the 1970s. She remembered working and caring very deeply for the many young kids, not much older than herself returning from Vietnam, with terrible wounds. She remembered that the support system was often poorly organized and inadequate for the physical and mental rehabilitation needs. As a result, she regularly worked to provide services at a number of shelters and low-cost clinics in and around Austin.
Her compassionate nature also led her to support the Sierra Club in its environmental protection efforts, and she travelled extensively throughout Texas, the Northwest U.S. and Canada. Her interests included Native American history and culture, particularly the Southwest Pueblo Indians and Lakota Sioux, and she had serious concerns about the plight of the immigrants from Latin and South America. Lynne also enjoyed a long, supportive relationship with a young lady named Olivia from her neighborhood. Disabled by Downs Syndrome, Olivia had a special place in Lynne's life and heart, and they spent a lot of time together. Parks, trips to the zoo, frequent lunch dates and just getting her out into the world, helping with Olivia's eventual placement in a group living home, and regularly checking in with her seemed to help both Lynne and Olivia.
One can tell a lot about a person by the pets they keep. Lynne's were literally her children! Neighborhood strays that had found the way to her door, also eventually found her heart. There never were large numbers, but each had intensely devoted, personal interactions that extended for years. The longest were two cats and two dogs, most notable was Lucky, a pretty, blonde mongrel who had been severely traumatized, and required considerable nursing back to health. Lynne and Lucky endured the many setbacks of the recovery effort and then went on for years together just one happy family, a sort of living definition of "happily ever after".
The great outdoors kept Lynne quite busy. She loved hiking, working in her yard, improving the home she lived in, and she had a deeply abiding commitment to rowing. Recounting tales of trips to the west coast mountains, many hours on Lake Austin, and the years devoted to her back deck and yard would fill far too much space and time, and, unfortunately leave the reader with the inescapable feeling of sitting through another of those boring soirees spent looking at someone else's vacation pictures. But Lynne's life, that little, often overlooked dash between the beginning and the end, was quite full. She worked hard at keeping it filled to capacity, and extracting the largest measure of essence and enjoyment from every moment of the journey! Summing up this "dash" in a few words on a page of text is difficult, at best. Lynne wasn't a national heroine, prominent scientist, famous or wealthy. She was, however, hard-working, good hearted, and a part of what makes this nation as great as it is! Close examination of our own lives and our nation, and reflection on the things each of us holds near and dear would produce a fairly clear picture of Lynne.
We strive, we attain, we are subject to all the failings and frailties, yet keep moving forward toward a summit we may not reach, but we know is out there. Lynne did not wish for there to be a funeral service, but donations to the American Cancer Society in her name would be a great way to help preserve her memory and to help find a cure for the disease that she lost the battle to.
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