ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Regina Ord 40 years old , born on September 6, 1979 and passed away on July 27, 2020. We will remember her forever.
Posted by Julie Bergner on August 22, 2020
I met Gina when we were on high school swim team together. I'd probably have been surprised if you had told me that we'd be life-long friends, because we were quite different, not least because I was two years older. But sharing a crowded lane for a season or two has a way of bringing people together, and we kept in touch even after I went away to college. Two years later, she decided that my good stories about Gonzaga were enough to persuade her to go there, too.

When I think about some of my memories of Gina, I realize how forgiving she was. When I drove home for Christmas in her first year, she joined me for what turned out to be quite an experience. Temperatures dropped to 20 below, and we got in an accident. Yet somehow she was willing to drive home with me again a year and a half later! Several years later, my worst skiing injury happened in a collision with her (luckily she didn't have to join me getting pulled down the mountain by ski patrol!), but it never would have occurred to her not to invite me to ski together again the next time we were both in Colorado in the winter.

One of the greatest adventures of my life so far was visiting her and Scott in Zambia in 2012. While I travel quite a bit, that trip was far outside of my prior experience and comfort zone. Gina was nothing but patient and encouraging when I struggled to adapt, and made sure that I felt safe and had a wonderful time nonetheless. We got dancing instructions at an outdoor Mass ("shake your butt more!"), played with chimpanzees (it's still my Facebook profile picture), and made traditional food (complete with Scott killing the chicken). But I also saw what important work both Gina and Scott were doing, and what love they had for the people they got to know there.

Gina was the sort of friend I only saw once every year or two, but meeting up was never awkward. We'd always pick up where we left off, and our conversations were always about things that mattered. 

Thank you, Gina, for 25 years of friendship. My life had just a bit more joy and adventure in it because of you. 
Posted by Leah Garbe on August 17, 2020
My best friend is a super-hero, and here is why.

Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

For Regina, I surmise these two events occurred simultaneously on the day she was born in September of ‘79. I was born in late December of ’79, at which point Regina recruited me as her side-kick from my house three doors down.
Regina came into this world knowing exactly what she wanted to make of it; what her values were and how she would spend her life advocating, learning, sharing, empowering, and filling every waking moment with adventure, friendship, laughter, and service. For most, the innate knowing that Regina brought into her existence is only sometimes achieved in a lifetime twice as long as hers. In the 40 years as her sidekick, being a front seat passenger to her journey has been my greatest honor. 

As she grew in her awareness of the immense responsibility one assumes as a superhero, she became known to many as “Gina”, and occasionally took measures to make her superpowers less obvious. While Regina drove a Prius, rather than a Batmobile, I can assure you that driving with her was a guaranteed harrowing experience. And when leaving the house to proceed on the newest adventure, you could be certain you’d spend at least another 3 minutes searching for something she has inevitably “lost”, like her keys, cell phone, or grocery list. Most remarkably, how many people can regularly sneeze 13 times in a row? Obviously a super-hero.

My best childhood memories notably include Regina, from evenings watching Lawrence Welk with John and Mona, serving as their audience while they practiced their impressive ballroom dancing skills, to accompanying her family on vacation to Glenwood Springs, hunting for crawdads in the stream next to our cabin, or wearing matching white and red polka dot clam diggers Mona made us while learning to ride my bike on the Highline Canal Trail at Eisenhower Park. I’m quite certain we set a record on South Dennison Court for the number of evenings we were home past our requested curfews, as we just couldn’t quite end our conversations once we’d arrived at the other’s front door, and thus proceeded walking back and forth until one of our parents beckoned us in. 

Our childhood of bike rides along the red brick road, summer camp that Regina hosted for kids in the neighborhood, vacation bible school, lots of exciting new sibling announcements, sleep overs, and heartache when Regina announced her family was moving to a new house. I remember being concerned about how our friendship might fare with an unprecedented physical distance, wondering who would now play in her backyard tree house and walk me home in the dark at the end of a summer evening of “night games”. In true Regina form, our friendship never skipped a beat and evolved into an even greater commitment to sharing new adventures as our lives and interests grew.

As young girls, Regina and I would walk to the travel agency office in our neighborhood and from the brochures they offered for various enchanting locations, we would be inspired to plan our own. We would return to her basement, where John always had a computer and printer, and plan out our vacations. The sky was always the limit for Regina. Nothing to her was out of reach, improbable, or without reason to pursue. A few months ago, Regina sent me the itinerary that as 10 year old girls we meticulously researched for a trip to “Sunny San Francisco”, eliciting fond memories, and not missing the irony that we took that trip some 20 years later. In true Regina form, whatever she thought she could do, she did, and as her side-kick, I was often fortunate to accompany her.

From different middle schools, high schools, and colleges on opposite ends of the country, our connection never wavered, and I never had to worry about when I would see her again, because Regina always had a plan, and another adventure in the queue. Those adventures included evenings hanging out in Ft. Collins, salsa dancing in Puerto Rico, the most magnificent views of the night sky in a coastal hot tub in Southern California, a weekend retreat in Yakima to celebrate her pregnancy, and hours walking a deserted driftwood beach shoreline on Camano Island. 

In the fall of 2018, Regina sent me a text message saying, “how about for your birthday present, I register you to run the Colfax Half Marathon with me?” My answer was an unequivocal “yes”, quickly followed by panic, realizing I’m not a runner. But then again, if Regina thought I could do it, I could and would. Another of Regina’s super powers: the belief that anything is possible, at any time. I never heard Regina doubt herself, anyone else, or let fear of failure hold her back. Of the many remarkable super-hero qualities she espoused during her Earthly experience, it is her courage, joie de vivre, and her relentless approach to living life without bounds, which I will carry forward, just as she would expect me to.

In her final correspondence to me, Regina noted that hers was a beautiful life, as has my life been as a result of her being in it. Unfortunately, all super heroes must eventually contend with a villain, as Regina found herself doing when in March, a virus rendered her mind and body powerless. Regina put on a brave and exhausting months-long battle, which resulted in her retiring her cape, and assuming her wings. I will find solace knowing that anytime I need her, I can shine my inner bat-signal to call for her aide, and she will be with me, as her eternal presence is now that of a guardian angel. Regina’s legacy and legend will live on with all of us, in our hearts, and memories, and may we never let Travis forget that his mom was a real-life super hero.
Posted by Laura Rickhoff-Rogers on August 17, 2020
I grew up with the Ord sisters, and was Cynthia's best friend in grade school. As an only child, Cynthia and Diana were like sisters to me, and we were rarely apart in those early days. Gina was four years older than us, and I clearly remember her basement bedroom and all her cool stuff, and that we were absolutely not allowed to go in her room. But of course, being the annoying little 'sisters' we were, we didn't listen. I can still hear her screaming at us to get out of her room.

As we became older, we went to different schools and took different paths and didn't reunite as friends again until we were in our 20s. As I was 're-introduced' to Gina as woman and new mom, I couldn't believe it was the same person! Instead of the angry teenager yelling at her annoying little sister, she was almost unbelievably bright and positive. I am in awe of the light she shown and still admittedly in shock by her passing. As a fellow runner and mom to a single boy, I struggle to comprehend the loss of a 'soul sister'.

Gina, I hope I can continue to spread your joy and share your story and be a support for your family and friends. I believe you are at peace and I pray for Scott and Travis, and all those whose lives you touched.
Posted by Charlie Brink on August 16, 2020
I am so grateful for Gina’s life. She inspired me to not to be as concerned about what others think and to be okay with awkward situations if it allows you to be kind to someone else. The only way forward I can see for all the people that love her is to try to be more like her- to be patient and generous and kind and less self-conscious, and to stand up for the right thing even if others don’t want to hear it. There is a void in the world of Gina-ness and maybe we can all try to fill it a little.


Charlie

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Julie Bergner on August 22, 2020
I met Gina when we were on high school swim team together. I'd probably have been surprised if you had told me that we'd be life-long friends, because we were quite different, not least because I was two years older. But sharing a crowded lane for a season or two has a way of bringing people together, and we kept in touch even after I went away to college. Two years later, she decided that my good stories about Gonzaga were enough to persuade her to go there, too.

When I think about some of my memories of Gina, I realize how forgiving she was. When I drove home for Christmas in her first year, she joined me for what turned out to be quite an experience. Temperatures dropped to 20 below, and we got in an accident. Yet somehow she was willing to drive home with me again a year and a half later! Several years later, my worst skiing injury happened in a collision with her (luckily she didn't have to join me getting pulled down the mountain by ski patrol!), but it never would have occurred to her not to invite me to ski together again the next time we were both in Colorado in the winter.

One of the greatest adventures of my life so far was visiting her and Scott in Zambia in 2012. While I travel quite a bit, that trip was far outside of my prior experience and comfort zone. Gina was nothing but patient and encouraging when I struggled to adapt, and made sure that I felt safe and had a wonderful time nonetheless. We got dancing instructions at an outdoor Mass ("shake your butt more!"), played with chimpanzees (it's still my Facebook profile picture), and made traditional food (complete with Scott killing the chicken). But I also saw what important work both Gina and Scott were doing, and what love they had for the people they got to know there.

Gina was the sort of friend I only saw once every year or two, but meeting up was never awkward. We'd always pick up where we left off, and our conversations were always about things that mattered. 

Thank you, Gina, for 25 years of friendship. My life had just a bit more joy and adventure in it because of you. 
Posted by Leah Garbe on August 17, 2020
My best friend is a super-hero, and here is why.

Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

For Regina, I surmise these two events occurred simultaneously on the day she was born in September of ‘79. I was born in late December of ’79, at which point Regina recruited me as her side-kick from my house three doors down.
Regina came into this world knowing exactly what she wanted to make of it; what her values were and how she would spend her life advocating, learning, sharing, empowering, and filling every waking moment with adventure, friendship, laughter, and service. For most, the innate knowing that Regina brought into her existence is only sometimes achieved in a lifetime twice as long as hers. In the 40 years as her sidekick, being a front seat passenger to her journey has been my greatest honor. 

As she grew in her awareness of the immense responsibility one assumes as a superhero, she became known to many as “Gina”, and occasionally took measures to make her superpowers less obvious. While Regina drove a Prius, rather than a Batmobile, I can assure you that driving with her was a guaranteed harrowing experience. And when leaving the house to proceed on the newest adventure, you could be certain you’d spend at least another 3 minutes searching for something she has inevitably “lost”, like her keys, cell phone, or grocery list. Most remarkably, how many people can regularly sneeze 13 times in a row? Obviously a super-hero.

My best childhood memories notably include Regina, from evenings watching Lawrence Welk with John and Mona, serving as their audience while they practiced their impressive ballroom dancing skills, to accompanying her family on vacation to Glenwood Springs, hunting for crawdads in the stream next to our cabin, or wearing matching white and red polka dot clam diggers Mona made us while learning to ride my bike on the Highline Canal Trail at Eisenhower Park. I’m quite certain we set a record on South Dennison Court for the number of evenings we were home past our requested curfews, as we just couldn’t quite end our conversations once we’d arrived at the other’s front door, and thus proceeded walking back and forth until one of our parents beckoned us in. 

Our childhood of bike rides along the red brick road, summer camp that Regina hosted for kids in the neighborhood, vacation bible school, lots of exciting new sibling announcements, sleep overs, and heartache when Regina announced her family was moving to a new house. I remember being concerned about how our friendship might fare with an unprecedented physical distance, wondering who would now play in her backyard tree house and walk me home in the dark at the end of a summer evening of “night games”. In true Regina form, our friendship never skipped a beat and evolved into an even greater commitment to sharing new adventures as our lives and interests grew.

As young girls, Regina and I would walk to the travel agency office in our neighborhood and from the brochures they offered for various enchanting locations, we would be inspired to plan our own. We would return to her basement, where John always had a computer and printer, and plan out our vacations. The sky was always the limit for Regina. Nothing to her was out of reach, improbable, or without reason to pursue. A few months ago, Regina sent me the itinerary that as 10 year old girls we meticulously researched for a trip to “Sunny San Francisco”, eliciting fond memories, and not missing the irony that we took that trip some 20 years later. In true Regina form, whatever she thought she could do, she did, and as her side-kick, I was often fortunate to accompany her.

From different middle schools, high schools, and colleges on opposite ends of the country, our connection never wavered, and I never had to worry about when I would see her again, because Regina always had a plan, and another adventure in the queue. Those adventures included evenings hanging out in Ft. Collins, salsa dancing in Puerto Rico, the most magnificent views of the night sky in a coastal hot tub in Southern California, a weekend retreat in Yakima to celebrate her pregnancy, and hours walking a deserted driftwood beach shoreline on Camano Island. 

In the fall of 2018, Regina sent me a text message saying, “how about for your birthday present, I register you to run the Colfax Half Marathon with me?” My answer was an unequivocal “yes”, quickly followed by panic, realizing I’m not a runner. But then again, if Regina thought I could do it, I could and would. Another of Regina’s super powers: the belief that anything is possible, at any time. I never heard Regina doubt herself, anyone else, or let fear of failure hold her back. Of the many remarkable super-hero qualities she espoused during her Earthly experience, it is her courage, joie de vivre, and her relentless approach to living life without bounds, which I will carry forward, just as she would expect me to.

In her final correspondence to me, Regina noted that hers was a beautiful life, as has my life been as a result of her being in it. Unfortunately, all super heroes must eventually contend with a villain, as Regina found herself doing when in March, a virus rendered her mind and body powerless. Regina put on a brave and exhausting months-long battle, which resulted in her retiring her cape, and assuming her wings. I will find solace knowing that anytime I need her, I can shine my inner bat-signal to call for her aide, and she will be with me, as her eternal presence is now that of a guardian angel. Regina’s legacy and legend will live on with all of us, in our hearts, and memories, and may we never let Travis forget that his mom was a real-life super hero.
Posted by Laura Rickhoff-Rogers on August 17, 2020
I grew up with the Ord sisters, and was Cynthia's best friend in grade school. As an only child, Cynthia and Diana were like sisters to me, and we were rarely apart in those early days. Gina was four years older than us, and I clearly remember her basement bedroom and all her cool stuff, and that we were absolutely not allowed to go in her room. But of course, being the annoying little 'sisters' we were, we didn't listen. I can still hear her screaming at us to get out of her room.

As we became older, we went to different schools and took different paths and didn't reunite as friends again until we were in our 20s. As I was 're-introduced' to Gina as woman and new mom, I couldn't believe it was the same person! Instead of the angry teenager yelling at her annoying little sister, she was almost unbelievably bright and positive. I am in awe of the light she shown and still admittedly in shock by her passing. As a fellow runner and mom to a single boy, I struggle to comprehend the loss of a 'soul sister'.

Gina, I hope I can continue to spread your joy and share your story and be a support for your family and friends. I believe you are at peace and I pray for Scott and Travis, and all those whose lives you touched.
her Life

A Letter to Friends and Family

Gina had an extraordinary life filled with adventure, amazing gifts, and wonderful people.

Between March and July 2020, her physical health deteriorated steadily. She had a variety of symptoms including nausea, headaches, focused and variable body aches, sound intolerance, large heart rate fluctuations, and an inability to concentrate; all of which are symptoms of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (or M.E.). The onset was rapid and triggered by an acute illness that may or may not have been COVID-19.

Several times she appeared to be getting better, but her symptoms would relapse after the smallest physical exertion, such as taking a short walk, picking berries in her backyard, or preparing food. She learned to wear a heart monitor to avoid aggravating the symptoms, but they still persisted and it required her to be very sedentary. The mental anguish of being unable to move her body in the ways she was accustomed to, including an inability to physically play with Travis, was very hard for her. In her last few weeks, she could barely leave the house, shower, or interact with anyone.

M.E. is often not given the attention it needs from medical professionals because it is multi-systemic, has no signature diagnostic test, and has no cure. Remission in those that are diagnosed with it is rare. If there is anything relieving about what happened to Gina, it is that she is no longer suffering.

Gina spent a lot of time researching M.E. and truly believed more attention to this disease was needed. She supported the Open Medicine Foundation for its dedicated research into this complex and life-altering illness.

Gina's Timeline

During the weeks preceding Gina’s death, she compiled a timeline of her life as a therapeutic project. She wrote it out by hand on six pages of paper taped together. We did our best to find corresponding photos and design it into the work of art that it is. 

See the PDF version here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QatmqGAsdPfNpL-WFwlJmukkTX8nTPBn/view?usp=sharing

The print display version of this is 8’ tall and 3’ wide. 

Gina's Obituary

Regina Marie Ord (Gina) was born September 6, 1979 in Denver, Colorado and died on July 27, 2020 in Yakima, Washington. The oldest of five children, she attended Most Precious Blood Elementary School and J.K. Mullen High School. In those early years she cared for her two youngest brothers with disabilities, babysat, rode bikes around the neighborhood, and swam on the high school swim team. She became a lifeguard and worked at various pools and camps during her summers in high school and college.

Gina attended Gonzaga University where she majored in Exercise Science, minored in Spanish, and graduated with honors. She developed a love of running and ran a marathon to raise money for Easter Seals.  She studied abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico and Granada, Spain.  Gina’s experience with and compassion for those with disabilities led her to a degree in occupational therapy at Colorado State University.  In her early adult years she developed a strong love of the outdoors and spent much time skiing, backpacking, biking, and climbing the Colorado fourteeners.  She completed an Occupational Therapy internship in San Juan, Puerto Rico and then moved to Yakima, WA for her first job in 2005.  She began to travel internationally, including adventures such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and cycling around Lake Titicaca. 

In November 2005, Gina met the love of her life, Scott Kline, and they were married on May 24, 2009.  She spent her career focusing on occupational therapy, health, and wellness.  From 2011-2013 Gina and Scott served in the Peace Corps together in rural Zambia where Gina was a rural health education volunteer. Upon returning to Yakima she served with the Washington State University Extension Office as the Yakima County Extension Director where she ran health and nutrition programs in the county from 2014 - 2019.

Gina became a mother to Travis Canyon Kline in 2015 and deeply enjoyed family trips and being a mother.  She took a break from work to volunteer at Central Lutheran co-op preschool and enjoyed organizing various kids’ activities.  She also began the doctoral program in Occupational Therapy through the University of Utah.  She was a yoga teacher and volunteered with the Yoga Collective of Yakima.  Gina was a loving, compassionate, and joyful wife, mother, friend, daughter, and sister and lived life to the fullest with vigor and energy. She loved her family, dancing, and the natural world. She was dedicated to cultivating relationships and serving others.  Her husband Scott once described her to a stranger “You can’t miss her.  She will have a smile on her face and a spring in her step!”

In March of 2020, Gina contracted a virus from which she never recovered.  Her physical health rapidly deteriorated leaving her homebound and with difficulty performing simple tasks such as cooking or bathing without bringing on flu-like and neurological symptoms.  She had been pursuing a diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis, a cruel and debilitating disease thought to be brought on by various viruses, and is exacerbated by physical or mental exertion.

Gina is survived by her husband Scott Kline; son Travis; grandmother Genevieve White; father and mother John and Ramona Ord; and siblings Diana Hermann, Cynthia, Thomas, and Phil Ord; as well as extended family and friends.  Donations may be made to the Open Medicine Foundation in support of research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. There is currently no cure for M.E.


Recent stories

Scott's Tribute at the Denver Memorial August 9 2020

Shared by Scott Kline on September 12, 2020
There are so many things I’d like to say about Gina.  I’ve struggled for a couple of weeks about what to say here today.  I had a dream a couple of nights ago, a nightmare really, about something bad happening to Travis that helped me prioritize the greatest gift Gina gave to me that I need to share today. 
I wasn’t interested in kids prior to Travis being born. GINA wasn’t interested in having kids of her own either when we got married. Then we spent 27 months in Zambia between 2011 and 2013.  
Before we met each other, both of us were too eager to take on a variety of physical and mental challenges to be slowed down by a baby.  For me these challenges ranged from 
  • packing my things and moving to a different state where I didn’t know anyone, TWICE
  • taking a self paced college level Physics class via remote learning BEFORE Zoom or GotoMeeting
  • A variety of outdoor sports like Back-country skiing, winter camping, mountain climbing, rock climbing, and ultimate Frisbee, 
  • Going to graduate school at 30 years old, AND
  • Proposing to Gina and committing myself to her for the rest of my life.
All of these challenges felt RIGHT.  I embraced them.  Then Gina said she wanted to create a child with me.  It was about mid-way through our shared-challenge of joining the United States Peace Corps.  I was paralyzed.  I couldn’t even talk to her about it.  All I could do was shake my head “no”.  We struggled for almost 2 years with that until I realized the future of our relationship was at risk.  Our Marriage wasn’t at risk- she was just as committed to me as I was to her.  But I sensed Gina would have a deep sense of regret and that our relationship would forever be scarred if she didn’t at least try to be a mom.  So I reluctantly agreed.  I secretly hoped that the botched X-Ray I had to get while we were in Zambia for an injured knee by a poorly trained healthcare worker with an X-Ray machine from the 1950’s had made me sterile. 

Even after a nauseating pregnancy that ended in a traumatic miscarriage Gina wanted to try again.  After another challenging pregnancy that exemplified Gina’s commitment to having a healthy baby, Travis Canyon Kline was born. I felt that amazing feeling that new Dads get when they are holding their baby for the first time, but I still felt that parenthood was for Gina and I was along for the ride.

Gina’s life was fulfilling and happy before, but the kind of fulfillment and happiness she got out of being a Mom was at a new level.  And just like the infectious smile on her face and spring in her step that I, and everyone else, seemed to notice about her, her love for Travis infected me.  The joy she experienced while showing Travis the world entered and grew in me.  The exhilaration of an entirely different kind of challenge- caring for and raising a child, filled our need for adventure.  I never would have felt that kind of love, joy, and adventure without Gina’s persistence and faith in my ability to be a father.  For that, I thank you Gina. 

Travis keeps me going these days.  His cheer and goofiness remind me of the good times with Gina and that life will continue.  It pains me that Travis will have few first-hand memories of Gina.  Think about that- how many memories of YOUR pre-six year old life do you have?  Everyday since I told Travis of her death I’ve talked to him about Gina.  And I encourage everyone else to tell the stories of Gina to him.  Show him the pictures and videos of her that show how wonderful she was.  Keep her spirit known to him and help all of us get past this grief.


Scott Kline's Tribute at the Yakima Birthday Memorial

Shared by Scott Kline on September 12, 2020
Here are three few of stories about some of the little moments with Gina that made her special to me. 

1). I’ll never be able to look at breakfast cereal the same way after living with Gina.  Prior to meeting her I would always eat cereal from the only open box I had, thinking that I wanted to keep the other 3 or 4 boxes of cereal fresh for when I opened the next box after the first box was finished.  She loved mixing different cereals.  I had to do a double take the first time we were having a simple breakfast of cereal and fruit.  She mixed her granola and her raisin bran.  Or her cheerios and mini-wheats.  Sometimes she would mix three or four cereals together! 
I said, “I think you’re going to end up with 4 stale cereals because it could take months to go through all the open boxes instead of a couple of weeks if you used just one at a time.”
“So what!” she said. “They taste better when you mix them, always better than just one cereal by itself.” 
It took me a few years to catch on, but now I frequently mix cereals together for a better experience. 

2)  Another standout for me was Gina’s love of getting to know and relating to other people, in particular people from other countries and cultural backgrounds.
Gina and I had just started one of our biggest adventures together as Peace Corps Volunteers in rural Zambia.  We had finished our 3 month training separately, learning Zambian culture, technical skills to help our village, and the local language of our village-to-be.  Gina was on par with her fellow trainees to learn the language we would be using: Chi-Lunda. Because of my proficiency in my language class, I was asked to speak in Lunda at our swearing-in ceremony to mark the end of training and beginning of our service. Even Gina acknowledged that my Lunda vocabulary and accent was better than hers. 
Early in our service I recall a neighbor Zambian coming over to our hut and wanting to talk to me about something happening in the village.  She seemed to have something important to say, though it didn’t appear to be an emergency.  The woman talked quickly and used at a lot of Zambian slang, so I couldn’t understand much of what she was saying.  The woman got frustrated with me.  Gina came out of the hut and the older woman started speaking to Gina about the same thing in the same manner.  I was amazed as Gina stood next to her, looked her in the eyes, and responded to her deluge of words with smiles, compassion, and some simple catch-all Lunda phrases placed at the end of the woman’s sentences.  After a minute or so the older woman thanked Gina and was relieved that she had conveyed what she wanted to say.  The woman looked over at me and slowly spoke in Lunda to explain that Amama Gina speaks better Lunda than Atata Scott, and then left. I asked Gina what the woman was talking about.  Gina smiled, a little embarrassed, and said, 
“I don’t know”.  
Even though I knew the mechanics of the Lunda language better than her she knew how to communicate universally with body language and empathy.  Gina’s way with emotionally connecting with people in the village let people feel comfortable around her and Gina made a lot of progress with that, in Zambia and all over.  

3). After our Peace Corps experience was over in 2013, we took a couple of months to slowly make our way back to the United States.  First stop: Ethiopia.  After returning from a one-of-kind multi-night trekking experience Gina and I both were eager to explore what a little town in northern Ethiopia had to offer for night life.  We went to a little restaurant where the only non-Ethiopians appeared to be me, Gina, and two of the people who went trekking with us.  The entertainment that night was a singer and a guitar player who set up in a corner of the restaurant.  After a while the musical act took to wandering around to individual tables and singing songs in Amharic improvised specifically for the people at the table.  We saw this happening at tables of other Ethiopians and there were lots of laughs from everyone around and embarrassed faces on the patrons. It appeared that the improvised songs were mostly made up to make fun of the people at the table.  Between each table the musicians/comedians would glance over at our table to see if we were open yet to withstand some musical ridicule.  After about 5 tables the singer’s glance over to our table showed Gina gleaming as if to say,
“Make fun of me! Make fun of me!”
They came over and started with their musical intro and proceeded to sing about each person at our table.  We had no idea what they were saying except for the occasional outdated American pop culture reference to Michael Jackson, President Bush, and McDonalds.  When they got to Gina’s turn to take the improvised ridicule, Gina responded as if she won a game and after taking her share of the jokes, got up and started dancing with the guitar player.  The whole place laughed harder than any joke of the evening.  And throughout the whole time I knew her that is how she was: Whenever there was a moment where she could make a choice between making fun of herself or other people, she ALWAYS chose herself.  Gina’s way of having fun allowed everyone to join in.  

A Tribute Poem to Gina (by Uncle Vince)

Shared by Cynthia Ord on September 3, 2020
Gina, we’ll miss you, more than you know
Long after this time of grieving and woe
So many memories of happier years
Of life you lived well, may dry all our tears
Right from the start, your energy showed
Your fire and passion from God was bestowed
You locked out a sitter, out in the rain!
Thought all books in library read – such a brain!
Bright twinkling brown eyes and spirited soul
Your fire burned hot, set goal after goal
With positive strength of purpose and grit
Sense of adventure and light-hearted wit
You cared for your mom and helped with your brothers
All of your life you showed kindness to others
A consummate planner right to the end
With notes what to do – always a godsend!
You and your crew came to see our kids’ plays
We met up at vineyards and other such ways
Last holidays joined us at cabin with snow
With energy plenty – always on the go!
In June when we talked, you said life got tough
I had no idea your illness so rough! 
We read in your logbook all its effects
Your ailments brutal, ‘bout bad as one gets
You were so happy and always so strong
It just isn’t fair your health went so wrong
“Only the good die young” goes the saying
Joyful repose of your soul we are praying
Saw Yakima tribute on paper and ground
Written with chalk, outpouring profound
So many said that you touched them with light
Now source of a beacon that always shines bright
You have our good word we’ll help Travis learn
What great mom you were - for you he will yearn
Scott part of the family, we’ll check in with him
Continue adventures, not let him be grim
Your parents, don’t worry, for we got them too
To offer support, we’ll just think of you
Your sisters and brothers we’ll call when we can
Strage how it now seems just part of the plan
We love you, Dear Gina, our go-getter niece
After hard sickness may you rest in peace
As you smile down from heaven above
Our hearts will soon heal with power of love