Wall of Remembrance
Without our Genesis gift donors, the groundbreaking medical education,
training and research conducted at the MERI would not be possible.
We believe donating one’s body to science is a tremendous gift and enduring legacy, reflecting an extraordinary commitment to life and to the well being of others. We at the MERI and the Genesis program remain extremely grateful for the wonderfully selfless nature of our donors and their most precious gift of life.
Billie Raye Chandler (Laws)
(Nov. 18th 1951 – April 18th 2016)
Billie was, is and always will be for those who knew her strong, a devoted Catholic, animal lover, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother and aunt who passed away peacefully, surrounded by loving family after a short four month battle with cancer.
She never cared for material things and with her, family always came first (including her beloved cats and bloodhound Duke who preceded her in death).
Mom loved, admired and followed TV shows and movies religiously. She could tell you who was in what movie or show and sometimes even recall what they wore. She was a huge fan of John Wayne and her personality was a little “Rooster Cogburn” with a huge dash of love and empathy.
Mom loved solitude and solitaire. She loved Arizona where we had lived years before. Mom also loved the Native American culture and was so unique of a person that she broke into a Pow Wow dance on meeting my wife. She was amazing.
Her life was spent giving, ensuring that others never went without often ignoring her own discomforts, going so far as to medicate cancer pain with mere Excedrin in the months leading to her diagnosis. It’s so befitting that she donated herself to the advancement of science to help others.
Her absence has left a loving void that could never be filled but knowing that she is still giving ensures her legacy will continue for a long time to come.
A Sincerely Proud Son
December 23, 1941 – October 3, 2015 – Mary Elizabeth Green Thomas, age 73, nurse practitioner, entrepreneur, and caregiver, passed away in her native Huntsville, AL. She was the first of eight children born to the late Deacon George W. and Mother Lela V. Green. A 1959 graduate of William H. Councill High School and 1973 graduate of Meharry Medical College, Mary worked as a nurse practitioner and head/charge nurse in the Memphis, TN medical community for over 40 years. She returned to Huntsville in 2008 to care for her aging parents and remained until her death. A lover of travel, Mary visited Switzerland, France, China, St Croix and several U.S. destinations during her lifetime. Mary was a selfless and giving individual. She gave her final gift to humanity when she made the decision to donate her body to medical research. Mary leaves to cherish her memory one son, his wife and two daughters, five brothers, one sister and a host of relatives and friends.
Tom Brownlee was a true Southern gentleman, who above all else, was a true Christian. He loved and served his Lord daily. He taught an adult Sunday School class for over 50 years, sang in the church choir, and was a former deacon of his church. He was a printer by trade in his hometown of Senatobia, MS and his hobbies included photography, baking delicious cakes, and playing on computers. Tom fought cancer for over thirty years but never ever let it define his life. He lived life to the fullest until the bitter end without the first complaint. The love of his life was his wife, Jonelle, and they had two children, Bob and Carla. Tom left six grandchildren, two great grandchildren, a brother, and a endeared dog, Peanut. Tom’s gentle spirit and dry wit are missed by all who knew him.
Terri was a vivacious woman and born a natural giver. She lived for her family. She sacrificed so much to make sure her son had the best life she could give as well as others close to her. Terri was funny and could beat anyone to the punch line. It was impossible to be around her and not laugh and love her. She devoted almost 30 years to caring for others as a registered nurse. She was respected by many because of her caring personality and no-nonsense attitude.
There aren’t enough words to to describe how amazing she was. She was so uplifting and supportive. Terri could always help you find the light in the dark. She enjoyed life to the fullest. She loved working in the yard and around the pool. She adored her family, and they miss her so much.
As her final selfless act, she donated her body to science, so that others may learn from her disease. Heaven gained a beautiful soul when God called her home. Until we’re together again…we love you and we miss you more than words can describe. Everyday, I feel like a piece of my heart is missing, and I know those close to you feel the same way. So until heaven reunites us…
I love you, Miss Hollywood
Norma Enders 4-28-43 – 4-26-14
My husband and I are donors. When I told my sister Norma Enders about what we planned, she was so impressed and wanted to be a donor also. She passed away April 26, 2014 and went to be with the Lord. You came and got her here in Mountain Home, AR. You all were so wonderful. You even let us keep her overnight at the funeral home so her son and daughter could travel here to say a last goodbye to her. Thank you for that.
Norma there are just no words to tell you how much we love and miss you every day. Your family was everything to you and you were everything to them. When you left, there is a big hole there now that cannot be filled. But one day we will see you again. I know you are seeing Mama, Daddy and Dottie and there is no more pain in your body. I am so glad for that.
We think of you in everything. Your love for your grandkids was unbelievable. I know how badly you wanted to see your first grandbaby. She is beautiful and they named her Nevaeh, heaven spelled backwards. Tracie is a great grandma. You would be so proud of her, as always. Tracie misses you more than words can say. She misses her Mama.
We are coming, and will see you one day. I was holding you when you passed and I told you that. I hope you heard me. We love you Norma.
Your Sister Sue Bryant and the rest of your family. We love you!!!!!
Diana G Wilson
Sister, Mother, kindred soul and soul mate
Diana, you have always been the glue that held our home together for as long as I can remember.
You loved each one of us (family and friends) as only “you” could love. Now, as we grow in peace, after the shock of losing you, let us accept that you are well and happy. Even though you are, no doubt, waiting for us, you are finally at peace with all those that passed before you… those you missed so much.
Your caring, your kindness, your giving, your love, the ease in which you changed everyone’s world as you passed through. Everyone is a much better person for it. Our friend… our Sister in Christ… you are a true Angel. You are such a loving friend and a wonderful soul. You suffered for so many years, yet you kept a smile on your beautiful face… that beautiful face that we “all” know and remember. …and how could anyone forget your favorite passages?
“I am the Righteous of God in Christ and I can do ALL things thru Christ, who strengthens me…
…for Greater is He Who is in me than he who is of this world.”
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”
Hold Tight, Diana. We’re coming to meet ya!
Nguyễn Thế Tiến
Đêm nay nhiều gió lạnh lòng quá.
Trái tim rỉ máu khóc bạn đời.
Bao năm buồn vui cùng nhau trải.
Giờ Anh vô tình bỏ cuộc chơi.
Đêm dài nhìn trăng đếm cô đơn .
Thời gian ngừng trôi lòng hiu quạnh .
Trần gian có thể hiểu được sao ?
Im lặng tìm nhau trong dĩ vãng .
36 năm qua anh cho em tất cả .
Những âm thầm trong cử chỉ yêu thương .
Anh nỡ xa em khi tình đang đầy .
Để chọn nơi đây làm mộng cuối đời .
We miss you beyond what word can say
For days pass we still not believe
That you we cannot see
All we pray until that day
Again we’ll see your smiling face
Forever missed and loved husband/father/grandfather
From Wife/daughters and daughter-in-law/son and sons-in-law/grand children
My mother in law Carol Jo Woods passed away on 8/13/13. She had been ill since the beginning of this year 2013. She had a stroke and never recovered from it. Her whole family loved her very much. She is survived by her husband of over 55 years Bobby Lee Woods, four sons, Pete, Micheal, Chad and Bo Woods, and one brother Michael Roach from Oklahoma. She also leaves one daughter in law Carol, and four grandchildren Zacharia, Keith, Danielle, and Nora Woods.
She will be extremely missed.
Paul David Samuel Paisley
Loving husband, father and grandfather
September 18, 1951-September 26, 2013
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28
Not a day goes by when you are not loved and missed. You are held in our hearts forever. Love always, Donna, Stephanie, Sherri and Jennifer.
In loving memory of Jean Simmons
wife, mother, grandmother & great grandmother
missed so much but so proud of her donating to such
a wonderful caring organization.
Thank you for giving her last wishes to her
In Loving Memory of Charles Paul Dierkes, Sr. RN
9-26-53 to 3-25-12
He always showed a smile so that he could hide his pain
He wore his funny cancer shirts so other’s laughter he would gain
He fought a valiant battle against the beast that was within
Until the day he knew the beast would finally have its win
And yet what cancer didn’t know was while it won that time
the war was won by Charlie, and now his health is fine!
For he is a child of God and lives in Heaven with his king
And his gifted body lent to science many learned things.
Doctors trained, now hundreds more can new procedures do
New methods, tool and pumps for chronic pain and fractures, too
For Charlie’s Legacy helped folks in life and now in death
So cancer, see! The greater part of him was left!
And while this Christmas may be sad to have to let him go
My children and I have a tree and there his picture softly glows
But one more thing he would impart for those who do not know
That Jesus loved and carried him through the horror of cancer’s blows
An now his work on Earth is done, he’s resting with his Lord.
My Christmas wish this year is that he’ll meet me when I go home
Until we meet again my love, Susan Dierkes
Dennis Dalton McCarthy 6th January 1922 – 12th May 2012 age 90
We all miss you both very much and glad that you are now together in peace.
Our memories of you both will live on in our hearts.
All our love forever, from me Earl, your sister and Dad your daughter, Sue
Granddaughter’s, Alana and Jenna
Great Grandson, Kane
Nephews in Canada, Leighton McCarthy and Dave Hollis
I would like to take this opportunity of thanking “Genesis” for all their help in taking care of Earl and my father.
I wish your organization was available worldwide especially here in the United Kingdom.
Our parents, Norman and Bunny (nee Schall) were close friends from the ages of 11 and 8, respectively. They grew up together, married and raised a family together. They were active, contributing members of the community, often giving much of themselves. Fireman, Red Cross Instructor, Scout Leaders, Church Builders, they were there to do their share, together, family in tow. They built a life together, and appropriately crossed over together. Mom died on 12/19/10 and Dad, always watching out for Mom, died three days later on 12/23/10. Knowing their story, the Genesis people treated them with great dignity, making sure they spent their time at MERI together, as always. At night they played their beloved country music. It’s not hard to imagine them square dancing on a cloud. Mom and Dad, we miss and love you both.
The treatment provided our parents and the kindness shown to our family have made it an easy decision to donate our own bodies. Maybe we will be responsible for finding the break through to give our children and grandchildren a better, healthier life. Thank you and God Bless to the people at MERI and the Genesis program.
At this time of year when we recognize our families and special groups and count our blessings, I’d like to feature the Medical Education Research Institute. They deserve the same attention and accolades that have been bestowed upon other groups and individuals in recent weeks. They are a wonderful group of people who treat families with undue compassion and dignity in times of great sadness.
In September, MERI conducted a beautiful service at Memorial Gardens to honor and thank the donor families of 2010, of which there were 600. It was an awesome and unforgettable experience, including a spiritual message, a four-gun salute and release of doves. Memphis is fortunate to have such a fine organization.
Elvis Ray Swain
To the MERI:
It’s not the things that can be bought that are life’s richest treasure. It’s friends like you which money cannot measure. You looked and saw that was once a waste could become priceless treasure to the MERI. You did so with a cheerful smile, a friendly word and realized there are things that can’t be bought with silver or gold, but thoughtfulness and kindness which are priceless things in life for which no one can buy. It warms my heart just in knowing you cared to give to a worthwhile need such as the MERI. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to be kind and that the thoughtfulness you give returns to shine on you.
From my heart, thank you,
Willy Wiseman was my stepdad for 30 years. Together, he and my mom, Eve, lived at various times in Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, and finally Tennessee, where they moved in 2000 to be near our family. Willy enjoyed spending time entertaining and visiting with the many people who knew and loved him. He was treasured for his talent as a storyteller, his excellent skills as a cook, and his willingness to help anyone in need. Early in my career, he and my mom helped me move so many times he said the furniture still shook every time he got near it.
Willy was a true character. He often told the story of removing his own braces so he would look old enough to join the service. He served in the U.S. Army at Ft. Benning, GA, and was honorably discharged as an instructor in the Airborne School. He also served as a cook during his time at Ft. Benning, and continued to use his culinary skills to our delight until just several months before his death. Willy’s most coveted creation was his masterfully prepared smoked tenderloins. He cooked them as joyfully for family celebrations as he did for a group of homeless men at Room at the Inn. He willingly shared his cooking techniques with the many people who joined him at the smoker with a bottle of beer or a glass of wine in hand. He and my mom taught most of his grandchildren to fish, and he spent hour after hour restringing as many rods and fish hooks as needed in the process. In his later years, Willy enjoyed following his grandson, Allen’s, college baseball career.
Willy’s legacy of helping others continues with his willed anatomical donation to the Medical Education and Research Institute of Memphis, TN. A celebration of his life is planned for a future date. Willy is survived by his devoted wife of 30 years, Eva C. Wiseman of Franklin, TN, his grown children from a previous marriage; his loving stepchildren and their spouses: Diana and Kenny, Shelly and John, and Doug; his grandchildren and their spouses Kelly and Jimmy, Allen and Crissy, Rachael, Noah and Emelyn; and his great grandchild, Jay.
Willy will be missed more than he could have known. We were blessed to have him in our lives.
Mike Bearden left this life a beloved son, husband, father, grandfather, mentor and instructor. His love and genuine care flowed out of him in every story he would relive about his family, friends, and students. As a tribute from his students, I would like to take this opportunity to tell his family how reverenced he is among us. We were with him through his fight and watched him persevere everyday. He not only taught us about calculus and physics, but about how important life is and how we have to cherish each moment for we know not when it is going to be our final. He was and will forever be one of the most influential people in my life. He will, for decades to come, be rendered dearly in all of our hearts. My prayer is for the family to find comfort and guidance, and be able to relish in the knowledge that the world will forever be changed by Michael Bearden. He is truly a legacy that will live on.
Connie Jane West
- Born: July 8 1953
- Died: Jan 16 2010
My beloved wife was taken from us 1/16/10 and we left here behind surely miss her. Throughout her life she was a giving, caring individual who always looked out for others before herself.
She was a devoted wife, mother, and sister.In her death she till wanted to give to others and requested that when she passed she would be donated to medical research.This she has done, and we are very proud of her. We hope that many may benefit from her unselfish gift.
I just wanted to share with you something very special.
My dad passed away many months ago. I miss him so much it hurts. He was an amazing person, filled with love and happiness, always sharing it with everyone. And in his passing, he’s still doing great things…as you know.
I just wanted to share with you that I have his swing in my yard, on a hill, overlooking a lake with an amazing view of the beautiful sky. On each side of the swing we planted some small gardenia bushes, my favorite.
Well, today my dad came home and today my gardenia bloomed it’s very first flower!! One on each bush!!! He’s home!! He’s really home!! You are special to me and my dad. I wanted to share this with you. Thank you.
James Walter Barlow
July 1943 – October 2008
Always In Our Hearts Daddy
I love you