Parish of Leatherhead - Stephanie Segatta 1947-2008

Stephanie's funeral in Leatherhead Parish Church on Thursday 24th July 2008 was conducted by Canon David Eaton, Revd Mary Cruddas, Michael Young and Arthur Spikins.

The music before the funeral was Day by Day from Godspell.

The hymns were:
Love Divine, all loves excelling
Living Lord
Lift high the Cross

The Reading was John 11.

Donations in Stephanie's memory were given to the Rainbow Trust's Children's Charity

David Eaton gave this Address:

Arthur Spikins has given a fine tribute to Stephanie especially focussed on her time in Isleworth.

I have only known Stephanie towards what has sadly proved to be the end of her life; during the time she and Endre have lived in Leatherhead.

In many ways, of course, the picture is the same. She displayed a good deal of patience not only about people, but about things. When we needed new keys for the church it was Stephanie who took on the task of getting them cut. Not as straightforward as you might think. Predictably they didn't fit and she had not a few return trips to the locksmith to get things right and working again. Some wringing of hands at our weekly staff meeting.

She took her turn with other churchwardens on Sunday duty, making sure all was well so the services ran smoothly: grappling with the sound system and the heating system amongst other things.

Catering also featured on several occasions; again organising, but also producing that la carte menu that has become a feature of church life. She was a good cook.

In all these things and many others Stephanie has been immensely good hearted and generous.

We have been very fortunate to have had Stephanie as a churchwarden. It was a role she gave herself to very readily and willingly. I am personally very grateful for her support and friendship.

She had been very happy in her early childhood, and this laid a good foundation for the person she was to become. For the family, an at times uncertain relationship with their mother meant a heavy responsibility was laid on Stephanie's shoulders as the eldest sister.

Endre and Stephanie met because Endre lodged with her family. They married when Stephanie was 18 and have been together all her adult life. I can imagine some giggling and late night sharing among the three sisters as Endre and Stephanie started walking out together.

It has been a marriage which was well founded. A happy bond of love developed between them both for each other. They had two now adult children, Alex and Adam.

We have heard from Natasha on behalf of Stephanie's grandchildren, India, Aaron, Kalesha, Natasha, Stuart, Darren and Matthew. Stephanie was greatly attached to her grandchildren and involved in their care. She took great enjoyment the sheer pleasure of being their grandmother.

All her family testify to what a fantastic mother and grandmother she was. Perhaps because her own upbringing had at times been difficult, she was determined that her own family should enjoy a very happy and stable home life - which they did. She discovered more about herself through being the mother and grandmother she was.

By temperament Stephanie was invariably optimistic and upbeat, looking on the bright side, even when outwardly things were not looking promising or positive. She was trustworthy, faithful, loving, understanding. Because of all these things, her early death has come as a great loss. She was too quickly overtaken with ill-health, although even here she remained positive and hopeful.

Those close to Stephanie will rightly feel a sense of injustice and tragedy. She had been vulnerable, but her passing has come as a blow which only feels harder to bear as time goes by.

We don't know why Lazarus was ill but he was himself probably not an old man. His sisters felt his loss deeply and reached out to Jesus in hope. "If you had been here our brother would not have died" speaks both of their trust but also their outrage at Lazarus' death.

Jesus is himself deeply moved. Lazarus was his friend. They had talked together and shared together in the way that friends do. Now he lay in the tomb and Jesus was not there.

What Jesus brings to that family and situation is what he brings here today: a sense of real compassion for those who suffer and are bereaved; the feeling that he himself is vulnerable and human, able to experience loss and at times overwhelmed; the hope that life is not ended by death but leads through to something greater and more enduring.

Stephanie held a real faith in God; her hope and optimism sprang from it; it assures us that she will inherit and enjoy the richness of life in eternity.

Today's sadness is edged with the joy of resurrection; her loss with our thankfulness for all that she gave and shared and was to those who knew and loved her.

May she rest in peace.

If you have photos of Stephanie or further remembrance to add, please contact Frank Haslam, the editor of these pages.

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last updated 11 August 2008