The Amazing Fauneil Gleason Purcell (A Dedication To the Mother Of My Children)

A few years ago, there was a big party in an orchard in Montana. There was good food, great company, lots of dancing, mason jars with candles hanging from the crab apple trees, and the most beautiful girl in the world was wearing a white dress. Man that was a fun day, and it was the first day of my life.

I'd like to dedicate this post to that girl, on this Mother's Day to show why I chose her to be the mother of my children.

But it won't just be my words. I am borrowing the thoughts of many others. My neighbor Liz compiled the following comments and also made the above word cluster showing an accumulation of what others think of Fauneil. Anyway, here follows what others have said about her.

McCann Purcell - Son

 “Because I love her. I like my mom to be happy”

Jessica Gleason Bruno - Sister

Since this book is not 34 years long, I cannot tell you all the things I love about Nino. Fortunately, many of those things have been archived along the way. Here, I will share one thing about her that I love and that amazes me. Fauneil always knows the right word. That person doesn’t have a gap between their teeth; they have a diastema. A word that is the same forward as it is backward? That is a palindrome! Just ask Fauner, and she will tell you. She types with her fingers on the “home row” and she knows that those little letters inside the colored circles on the subway are “route indicators.” You can call her any time and say, “You know that one thing that’s the thing you break if you do the Heimlich wrong?” and she will say, “Yes, that is the xiphoid process.” So, among many, many, MANY other reasons, I love her because she is an excellent resource. She is also very good at spelling and punctuation.

Lisa Bowen Baldwin - Friend

What I love about Fauneil is that she is pretty much fearless.

Jessica Stevenson – Friend and Forever Neighbor

I’m just not quite sure how to describe the best neighbor I have ever had.

I feel like I need to start off by saying that when I lived right next door to you, I completely took you for granted. I knew you were a great neighbor; friendly but not over bearing; private but not too reclusive; fun but not loud; clean but not pristine; sharing but not expectant.

I remember on Sunday mornings you would sing in your kitchen. I alway loved hearing you sing. I would quietly crack my windows and let your vice drift into the house and let you fill it up your beautiful gift.

I also miss hving those ‘home talks’. What great laughs we would have. I loved the block parties that you would plan (some of my fondest memories of that home).

Learning to love my calling as a mother has been something I’ve been trying to learn more of over this last year; Something I have seen, undoubtedly, in you. I have no idea how strong you are, you are much stronger than you let on. Mosts of the time I find myself in awe as I look at the challenges you face as a mother and become speechless with your resolve and energies to bless and uplift your children. You are tough and brave and yet you are kind and loving. You are realistic and true, never putting on false pretenses. You are so inspiring to me . If only I could be a mother like you. I love you Fauneil; you are, in every way, the woman I want to be.

Forever your neighbor, if only in spirit, Jessica.

Lily Purcell - Daughter

I love it when Mom takes me to the park, because it is my favorite thing to do.

Brandon Purcell - Son

I like that mom likes to clean.

Emily Craig - Friend and Neighbor

I love Fauneil because she is genuine. She knows who she is, and is very comfortable being that person. She loves parenthood, but doesn’t pretend it’s easy. She doesn’t act like she’s superior because of her amazing musical talent (even though we all know she is superior!). She treats her husband with respect and adoration and  trust and love and is a good example to all the wives who watch her. I’m happy to call her friend.

Mary Gleason - Mother

She became quite famous here and people still talk of how great she is musically and scholastically.

Russ Gleason - Father

I’ve always been impressed by Fauneil’s tenacity. In school she always wanted to be number one in her class and was willing to expend the effort to gain that distinction. Before important tests, including finals, she often had me quiz her from her notes and tests on the subjects. Her hard work and determination paid off when she graduated as valedictorian of her class.

Amy Scoville - Friend

One of the very first things I noticed about Fauneil was what a wonderful mother she is. She loves her children and gives them the freedom to be children. Her beautiful singing voice is inspiring to me. Fauneil is one of the reasons I begged my husband to stay in the neighborhood when we out-grew our apartment, and I got my way! She is dear to me and I love her very much.

Joe Gleason - Brother

1. She’s kind and generous. We shared a room when she was young and on the day she moved out she told me, “You can keep our radio.” It was my beloved multiband radio that I had saved for but it is the thought that counts! On one of my birthdays she gave me an envelope full of coins. I’m sure that she didn’t know how much it was but she considered it to be valuable and gave it away.

2. She finds joy in everything she does and doesn’t let insignificant things get in the way. I have dropped by during breakfast time and she is completely comfortable entertaining in her pajamas while feeding her kids. She doesn’t waste time, or opportunities, preparing to have fun, she just enjoys every moment. We had a wonderful afternoon in New York City recently just walking through her old neighborhood and visiting a cathedral with our nephew. She finds something interesting and fun in every activity and her joy is contagious.

3. She’s bold and courageous. She moved to New York to pursue musical opportunities. She has run marathons. She is a mother to three wonderful, but energetic children…

4. She brings music everywhere she goes. I love to hear her sing. I have never known anyone with more talent.

5. She’s part of our eternal family. I hope to be a part of her life forever.

Stacy Brening - Sister

When Mom and Dad named you after Dad’s sister Fauneil, she made some “lifestyle changes” to be a better example for her namesake. I won’t go into detail, but I do remember Grandpa Gleason chasing one of her boyfriends away with a shotgun once before you were born! Who knows, your naming may have saved a life! Grandma Gleason had an aunt named Fauneil and thought it the most beautiful name for a girl. It is an unusual name, too. Google finds only 37 Fauneils in the United States, most in the Midwest. And talk about versatile! It lends itself to nicknames like no other name in the entire family. Even our new brother-in-law Bruno got into the act with Funnel Cakes. Fauner is the name that stuck, but I like Faun. The image of a graceful, long-legged fawn suits you. Maybe the name formed you, made you unique. You alone, among all the people I know never feign interest or curiosity about things. With you it is real. Dare I say it: Faun-real. I love you sister with all my heart.

Heather Moulton - Sister

I love you. I love how you say “shut up,” when you can’t believe some bit of stupidity. I love how you call Lily “Beauty.” I love how you grumble about things, but do them anyway. I love that you love to wash windows. I love that you sing “O, Holy Night” for me every Christmas. I love that your babies smell like my babies. I love the way your head leans to the side when you’re tired. I love that your shoulder aches when you’ve eaten too much. I love that you ran the New York City Marathon, twice. I love that you lived in the City. I love that you moved back. I love the way you and Jessi laugh when you’re together. I love that tenderness makes you cry. I love how you love your good husband. I love your short hair. I love being your sister. I love you.

Marianne Bailey - Friend

Fauneil is the most amazing woman I have ever known. I love watching her in relation to her children, and her husband. She never judges and is amazingly patient. We love you Fauneil! Always and forever.

Jennifer Dalley - Friend. & Lucky Neighbor

From the moment you moved in, you’ve kept the neighborhood a hop’n. Organizing block parties and special events for the kids. You fund most of the neighborhood lemonade/hot chocolate stands. Thank you for your amazing patience, kindness, love and for always watching out for our kids as well as your own. I want to grow up to be just like you. Love you tons! Jen

Mindy Gledhill (left) - Friend (Fauneil is on the right)

Fauneil, Your are such a fabulous neighbor to have. It makes my day to hear your singing drift through my window. It’s always nice to have someone to commiserate with over the hedge about difficulties of mothering and children that make endless messes and won’t go to bed or eat what we cook them. My boys’ sales [lemonade stands, etc] would not be the same with out you and the rest of your family coming over to drop coins in their jar. Much love to you!

Justine Esquivel - Niece

Growing up, every kid has that one adult in their life that they want to be like when they grow up. Fauneil was that person for me. There was so much about her that I admired–the way she could sing and capture an entire room, her contagious laugh, her style, her unique nose plugging technique, the number of somersaults she could do in the swimming pool, she introduced me to Broadway, that she lived in New York City, always wore a toe ring, got two tattoos, and that she was hands-down the best babysitter ever. The list goes on.

Now, as an adult, I still want to be like Fauner. Not just because she makes one heck of a mug of hot chocolate and is uber smart and funny, but also because of her heart and who she is as a mom. She works hard and encourages her kids be exactly who they are.

She lets McCann wear a giraffe costume even when it’s not Halloween. She teaches Lily songs that they can perform together. She is an amazing and loving stepmom to Brandon. Fauner, thank you for being such an inspiration in my life as a kid and an adult. You have brought an incredible amount of sunshine to our family and you are loved more than you may ever know.

Randi Gleason Shamo - Niece

The picture below of Faun and Jessi dangling upside down from the rail in the subway years ago was one of the first things that came to mind when I thought about things I love about Fauneil. It captures how much fun she always is to be with. She always makes me smile.

In a way, to me, she will always be the person she was to me as a kid. I loved being able to spend time with her every summer in Montana, whether at the house or at the ranch. She was a big part of making those trips fun- whether it was taking us to the pool, having us help out, or hiking (singing as she went- of course!) Even at the time, I realized how special it was that she let me come out to spend a few days in New York with her when I was only 13. Those few days were an adventure to never forget.

Now, we both have families of our own. But she still is always a source of smiles. Whenever I have needed help, she has been willing to help – even for something as big as loaning out space in her garage.

Janene Auger - Friend

I love that your kitchen lights are almost always burning bright no mater what time of the evening I walk or drive by your house.

I love sharing late-night-talks, food and movies.

I love that you ask me to play the piano for you sometimes. The responsibility of complimenting your voice makes me want to practice and do better.

I love your children. They bring me unmeasured joy. Thanks for sharing.

I love that you always do what is needful for your family, even when it’s really hard.

I love that you love to learn new things.

I love you.

Sarah Asplund - Friend

Maybe the greatest disappointment in my life when I got married was to realize that really and truly, we never get to be roommates. There is not one other friend in the world that I thought I could get along with 24-hours a day, no problem.

I loved singing Christmas duets with you while making Thanksgiving dinner. I loved riding in a Gondola and seeing the Bridge of Sighs with you.

You’re a rare find in this world- the truest friend a girl could ask for. I know you will always be there for me.

Kathy Spencer - Friend

Your beautiful singing voice makes me want to hurry and die so you can sing at my  funeral. I appreciate your sense of humor and your willingness to do whatever is asked of you.

You are a faithful, dedicated wife and mother. Your happy family is the result of your loving, caring ways.

Brent, Lori and Will Meisinger - Friends

We love Fauneil for many reasons. To start, she is from the glory of the West, Big Sky Country; she was made in MONTANA. Brent’s first memory of Fauneil is walking into his first voice lesson, as a kid, and listening to the student right before him. he thought, “Wow, if I can sound like her someday, I will have it made.” Every voice lesson for a long time Fauneil’s voice greeted Brent as he arrived.

We were thrilled when the Purcells moved to Oak Hills. They are naturally the reason we moved back. They know how to make a gathering fun, even with no notice what so ever.

We admire Fauneil for her devotion to her family. She has inventive, smart, energetic, adventuresome, sweet and adorable children. Her love for them shows in all she does for them and sometimes in what she does not do for them.

We love you Fauneil and we look forward to many more years as neighbors.

Abigail Steele - Friend

From the first time I met you, you exude loveliness! You make others around you feel important by including them in a very particular way that is profound. You have a gift of loving those around you. You are so easy to love.

Melanie Howland - Friend

Whenever I think of Fauneil, she is laughing.

General James G. Blair - Friend

The other day Luhi said the Purcells have lived on Cherry Lane for over 7 years. I guess when people are so good and such wonderful friends, time slips by way faster. I love that Fauneil is from Montana. I love that the Gleason family reunion was themed around cows. I love that Fauneil’s incredible music ability is refined by Eastman but broadened by Big Sky Country. We love to spend time with the Purcells and love to have Fauneil in our home teaching our kids music or hanging out with us the extra minutes we always keep her around for. Fauneil is alway an enriching conversation.

And…Fauneil’s chocolate pie is worth every auction dollar we’ve paid.

Teressa Dickson - Friend

Fauneil is amazing because even though she has some amazing talents, especially in singing, she is always willing to join in with those of us who are pretty average. That helps to lift us and make us better.

Fauneil is great because her ability to include people. You always feel welcome in the Purcell home and you never feel in the way. You just become a part of them, accepted for who you are.

I've already said my piece at the beginning, but I wanted to say that I couldn't include all of the comments. There are just way too many. But I thank all that have contributed.

A Note From Liz Ellis - The Friend Who Compiled all these Comments.

While compiling this book…the response was overwhelming. In addition to what they’ve written here, many of them wrote back to me, thanking me for doing this for you, and expressed how they had wanted to do something nice to thank you for being you, but didn’t know what to do. There are so many people that love you and admire you and are very willing to express their feelings.

You are truly amazing. You are such a great Mom, Wife, Daughter, and Friend to everyone who knows you. You are kind, genuine, friendly, patient, loving, generous, spiritual, talented, the list goes on and on. I love you tons. I am honored to be considered your friend.

Love, Liz



2 thoughts on “The Amazing Fauneil Gleason Purcell (A Dedication To the Mother Of My Children)

  1. Reading this makes me miss living in the Purcell’s basement! I also reminded me that I don’t see Fauneil enough. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful woman and friend.

  2. I want to contribute! I love Fauneil because she is completely real. This means that I can put down all my defenses and be completely real back. Fauneil faces her challenges with equanimity and faith, and this gives me strength to do the same. Plus, Fauner is just plain fun! I love her.

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