In Memory of Colonel Marie Koerner
May 5, 2009
The Rain It Hath a Friendly Sound
“The rain it hath a friendly sound to one who’s six feet underground.” That’s what the youthful poet Edna St. Vincent Millay used to say.
As a gentle, much-appreciated rain is falling today, I think about 91-year-old Colonel Marie Koerner, whose funeral was yesterday. I think of her body lying in The Salvation Army plot at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, California. And I think of the lovely phrase Salvationists use to say that a person from their ranks has died.
“Promoted to Glory!”
In other words, Salvationists not only believe in heaven, they believe it’s something to be accepted and embraced, an assignment with eternal rewards. Would there be a contingent of former colleagues on hand at the Pearly Gates waiting to welcome the gentle Marie? Of course, smiled the officers in unison.
The Salvation Army grew out of the Methodist Church, so the service brought back memories of a long time ago, hymns from out of the past, songs that once you know you can sing by heart.
Some songs, like some poems, stay with you forever.
Marie Koerner and her husband Henry served as career officers in The Salvation Army’s Western and Central territories. They were avid historians and invaluable resources to the writing of “The Bells of San Francisco, The Salvation Army with its Sleeves Rolled Up.” Proceeds from the sale of California Collectors' Series black and white photographic note cards from the "Lord, We Are ABLE" and "Tuxedo Series" go to The Salvation Army.