A Note from Sally: Sue is my sister, also a daughter, sister, aunt, and friend of many of us here at The Grace Company.
Sue B. Higley was born December 20, 1953 to Joseph Wayne and Grace Elizabeth Matthews Bagley. She passed away Friday, March 4, 2011, at the age of 57 after nearly a decade long battle with cancer. Sue was born the middle child in a large family of eight siblings and is survived by her mother and all but one brother. Her basement is filled with games and toys for the grandchildren. For those who knew Sue She met her husband, Dee Higley while in high school. They were married shortly after he returned from his mission, and they were blessed with 36 years of married life. She raised 3 children and they and her two grandchildren were the center of her life. They remember her as the best grandma ever. But, they will remember her for her life of service and her extraordinary creativity. The later best expressed in her quilting and the variety of artistic creations with which she surrounded herself and family. Sue loved to quilt. The quilts displayed show her creative hands and mind. She often joked with her sisters, "she who dies with the most fabric wins". She was talented with her hands, her mind, and above all in her gift of loving, caring, and compassion for others.
Sue believed that Heavenly Father does not send Heavenly Angels when there are earthly angels here to do his work. Sue was gregarious, with an infectious and a cheery nature. She surrounded herself with people and she had an uncanny capability to bring laughter to those close by. Sue was known for her quick wit and tendency to speak and then think. Sue loved to laugh. Her one-liners were notorious for bringing a smile, and sometimes a blush to herself and others. Sue was a perfectionist, and loved to have things right.
"Angels" ( Part of a song written by Sharon Austad Bagley and was sung at Sues' funeral )
Angels come, and angels go. We may not see them, but they're here we know. They and loved ones, who have died, may help and bless us from the other side; and they will teach us of our worth and help us serve God's children here on earth. Though they are in a different sphere, at times, we feel them whispering in our ear. Let us be angels too; angels in all we do. In serving each other Heaven can be here too.
This is a letter from Heather, (Daughter of Sue)
Hey Sally and Karla,
I've included a few more pictures of Quilts for you. And here are my memories associated with them.
About the sewing room. This room is my favorite room in my parents house because of the memories associated with my mom in it.
This is where both my sister-in-law Amanda and I would have some of our most meaningful chats with my mom. She'd share very personal trials and triumphs from her life with us while we'd play in her room with all her fabric. For me, it also has memories of my Sophie pulling fabric out of every nook and cranny and playing with it. We teased that we were going to changed Sophie's name to 'Sewphie' because she loved being in the sewing room with my mommy. Sophie would get so excited over one piece of fabric. She loved the patterns and colors as much as my mom did... it was uncanny. Sophie was the grand-daughter for her.
This quilt was made for my son Cody when he was born.
In fact, mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer when I was pregnant with Cody. Cody was her first grandchild. Mom was living in Maryland at the time while I was all the way in Utah. With her finishing her last weeks of radiation in my last trimester, she had worked it out to finish right when he'd be due. But Cody decided to come early! So, mom would have to wait to come out til he was almost three weeks old. I know it was just killing her. This is one of the quilts she made him and it arrived before she did for us to wrap him up in and let him know that she wanted to be there to wrap her own arms around him.
Here is a picture of two of my favorite quilts that mom made for me.
She also made one for each of my brothers Taylor and Jamie. They're called Christmas Wishing Quilts. The tradition is that each year on Christmas Eve you sleep under the Christmas wishing quilt. You make a wish before falling asleep and during the next full year that wish will come true. I actually don't know where the one is that we grew up with. Hmmm.
This quilt is a picnic quilt made for me because she was so tired of me hanging the Christmas quilt up in my house year round... (smiles).
I loved my Christmas quilt so much I just hated to think about hiding it for 10 months out of the year. So even when she gave me this adorable picnic quilt... the Christmas quilt would still win the majority of the show time in my tiny apartment.
Back when I was pregnant with Sophie, mom and I first talked about making a blessing dress for Sophie. I would have been about 8 months pregnant at the time and we were on our way back from Salt Lake where she had one of her first check-ups following her scare with congestive heart failure.
We stopped at the Quilt store there in West Jordan I think... I think it was Material Girls. I can't remember now. Anyway, it was there we saw some cute patterns for onesie dresses where you layered different fabrics to the bottom half of the onesies making the baby look more like a pea in a pod. That's when I thought it would be kind of cute to do something similar for a baby blessing dress (keeping it really simple for myself). Well... we didn't talk about it again for awhile as I passed a kidney stone three days later I decided I just needed to concentrate on having the baby as close to the due date as possible. Then Sophie had to make life harder when she was born and she decided she was going to be a NICU baby. So the baby blessing for us wasn't going to happen in church for awhile. In fact, because she was born during RSV season, we decided we wouldn't go back to church for sometime in order to keep her away from the germs. So, three months later we started thinking about baby blessing again. I had become so busy that making a baby blessing dress was not as realistic as I wanted it to be... but I still thought it would be so wonderful to take some of the material and buttons from my Great-Grandmother (who had passed away a year before this) and make them part of whatever we blessed Sophie in.
One day mom came by with the buttons from my Great-Grandma and asked me to pick a few out that she could sew onto the dress. The dress was a total surprise. I was so excited. It had only barely been started and I didn't quite know what to expect.
So... the day of the baby blessing came and when mom showed up with the dress... it was amazing. It made me cry a bit. Mom's vision was a hundred times better than mine. Due to time constraints she still needed to finish putting the buttons on... but that was something I could do later.
The quilt that you see in this picture is also an idea we came up with that same day on the way back from Mom's heart appointment. Again, I think we were at Material Girl's and I saw this quilt in a back room and I absolutely fell in love with the pattern. So, I had mom help me pick out just the right fabrics to go together (since I'm still terrible at matching the right fabrics to go together) and I bought the stuff to make the quilt myself. Ha-ha. Even with it being a rather simple quilt... my idea of having time to do things a month before a baby decides to come be with us was really wishful thinking.
But, that was one of the things that mom and I did start relatively speaking, right away after buying the pattern and material. Isn't it just adorable? Mom of course did most of it. I did do the blanket stitching around the flower... which is one of my favorite memories of quilting with my mom. And all those cute Yo-Yo's were a labor of love from my sweet sister-in-law Amanda. I think I only made five or six of those. And all of the quilts my mom made were quilted by my Aunt Sally.
That quilt is too precious for my Sophie to sleep on anymore... cause she's messy. But it does hang in her bedroom on the back of the rocking chair in her room. One day when I was helping my son get off to school... there was about 30 seconds when I didn't see or hear Sophie. In mere seconds Sophie had managed to find the baby powder and she had dumped it all over that precious quilt. Ahhh... se la vi.
This quilt is just beautiful and was finished by my Aunt Sally & Aunt Karla as my mom was not able to.
It's patterned after quilts made during the Civil War in conjunction with the Underground Railroad. Having lived in Maryland for quite awhile this quilt means so much to me since we'd visit several of the historic sites associated with freeing the slaves. The different blocks were messages to slaves who were trying to make it North to freedom. These types of quilts ('Hidden in Plain Site') were hung outside over fences or on clothes lines, etc. where the slaves could see them and know that this was a safe house... etc. Having seen the civil war fabric in a store years ago... I didn't really find it appealing. But wow... how my mom had an eye to tie pieces of uncommon fabric together to make them look just beautiful. I hope one day I can develop that talent.
And this quilt was one of the last ones that my mom made.
She knew my favorite colors. As her liver failure progressed we'd get this quilt out and attempt to finish sewing the binding on. But... I think for my mom... in those last weeks... concentrating on much of anything was a really hard task... even the things she loved most. She had a hard time stopping to take care of herself... always trying to cram a 100 things into one day so she could finish everything she wanted to before she would pass away. One day... my mom didn't want to be by herself but she also needed to go to sleep. I told her I'd come upstairs and we could pin the binding on that quilt while she laid down. She got one pin in and she promptly fell asleep. That was the last time my mom worked on a quilt. Due to the liver failure her mind wouldn't allow her to do what was once second nature to her.
My dear Aunt Karla finished the binding on this quilt. She started on it while my mom was asleep upstairs one afternoon. My Aunt Karla mentioned how relaxing it was to sit there doing that while we (Aunt Nancy, Grandma Bagley, Uncle Doug and I) all sat around chatting. I think that my mom tapped into one of those best kept secrets about quilting. Quilting is such a long-time passed down tradition now... one of the few things that we still have in common with our ancestors in day to day living. It somehow allows us to have those quiet moments, where we're relaxed enough, that not only can our ancestors connect with us, but I believe our Heavenly Father can speak to us. What a tremendous legacy for my mom to leave for us.
P.S. Almost all the quilts I have pictures of were machine quilted by Sally Scott. I know Mom would want everyone to know it because it meant a lot to her.
Love you both,
-- Note: We Miss Sue so much, but we hope that you can see what she was able to do and show. She was an example to everyone for not letting hard things get in her way. Hopefully, we can keep the beautiful quilting going (Hand, Machine, and Computerized) for generations to come. Quilt Quilt Quilt!
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