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Our Mom “The Belle of the Ball” | By Dr. Jerry Fonke

If ever God blessed a family with an angel on earth it was ours. Eight children were born to Vincent and Belle Fonke between 1948 through 1964. Through the power of prayer and positive thinking we were raised to have deep love and respect for each other. When twin sisters were born in 1956 there were six children under the age of seven. The two older brothers would help to fold four dozen cloth diapers each every evening, while mom boiled four dozen bottles each day - disposable diapers and plastic bottles weren’t available. When asked how she was able to do so much her response was, “You had to prioritize your day, and these items were at the top of the list along with everything else necessary to raise a healthy and loving family.” Her immense capacity to harness her energy – because many days getting enough sleep was difficult – to provide love and give counsel was inspired by a deep trust in God.

Dad was in Vietnam for the year of 1968 and this allowed mom to deal with a potentially overwhelming situation when she read the book, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peele. This was a true turning point in her ability to deal with the task at hand.

Mom kept the home fires burning wearing two hats – the love of a mother and firm discipline. She performed both with loving attention and fairness. Mom and dad always raised us as a team. As Father Gerald Kennedy would say “Mom’s are the heart of the family while dads are the head of the family.” Mom raised us to be independent even if that meant not agreeing with her.

Her heart and mind is always open to those who are in need and always keeps them in her prayers. Her love of God, family and others are clear in her presence. Mom fully enjoys each and every day by staying very active at home and in the community. She gives without expecting anything in return.

The greatest tribute to this living legend is a song written by her youngest son, Steve. “A Song for Mom and Dad”©

A few years ago the story began

There was a woman fell in love with a man

Took a vow together, one to last for life

A vow to live and love, as man and wife

They set out on a journey

Full of Hopes and dreams

The hand of God to guide them

And show what love really means

Their love brought about a loving family

Children to nurture, children who’d see

That all they had they owed to those who raised them

All they hoped for they owed to him who made them

All the love they’d ever know

All the love they’d ever had

They owed to God and Mom and Dad

We squander so many chances to say what’s in our hearts

We can’t seem to find the right place to start

I’d like to take this chance I have, before it gets away

This song is from all of us, it’s our chance to say

That all we have we owe to those who raised us

All we hope for we owe to Him who made us

All the love we’d ever known

All the joy we’d ever had

We owe to God and Mom and Dad

We owe to God and Mom and Dad

(Patent pending; words and music by Steve Fonke, Christmas 1989; recorded by Jim Hurst)

No person on the planet, being of sound mind, can honestly speak an unkind word about my mom. If a person could attain sainthood while still in human form it would be my mom. My mom, Belle Fonke, truly is “The Belle of the Ball”. n

Dr. Jerry Fonke lives in Fayetteville, NC.