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My daughter, Molly O Troutman, died on November 12, 2015.

Molly’s  memorial services were held at the Kanuga Inn in Hendersonville, North Carolina on June 25, 2016.

Her siblings put together one of the most touching memorial celebrations I’ve ever attended.

Her youngest sister, Maggie, studied Molly’s Buddhist tradition and arranged a ceremony that included many of the sacred elements of her faith.

Molly loved water and always felt drawn to it.

Maggie wove the significance of it throughout the ceremony- starting with water drawn from the near-by creek, to the water cup, to the last passages in the ceremony.

Molly's husband, Benjamin Iber Troutman
Maggie Kemsley Shafer with daughter Sydney Shafer


What the Caterpillar
perceives is the end,
to the butterfly
is the beginning.

Diane Kemsley Cossaboom
Opening ceremony --

Maggie began by explaining --

The Buddhist Transference of Merits & Water Cup Ritual

Good deeds or acts of merit bring happiness to the doer both in this world and in the hereafter.  Buddhism teaches Good deeds can be accumulated and transferred to others.  The transference of merit is the highest gift the living can bestow upon the dead.

Maggie led us in the Buddhist chant for the Transfer of Merits --

Idam me natinam hotu, sukhita hontu natago 

Idam me natinam hotu, sukhita hontu natago

Idam me natinam hotu, sukhita hontu natago

(In English "Let this merit accrue to our relatives and may they be happy.")


To transfer merits to the departed, it is common for a water cup ritual to be performed.  Water is poured into a small bowl and allowed to overflow into another, the overflowing water signifies the transference of merits to the empty cup (Molly).  Just as the cup fills up with water, so is Molly filled with the transference of good deeds and merits, filling her with joy and happiness.

The water in the ritual also represents life, for there is life where there is water.  The water also represents the merits without which none can be peaceful and happy just as without water none are able to survive. Just as water gives brings life, meritorious deeds give beings vitality to live.

Maggie poured water into the cup saying these words --

As river, when full must flow

and reach and fill the distant main,

so indeed what is given here will

reach and bless the spirits there.


As water poured on mountain top

must soon descend and fill the plain

So indeed what is given here

will reach and bless the spirits there.

Eulogy-Tributes were said in turn by

Benjamin Iber Troutman, Molly's husband

Diane Cossaboom, her older sister

Katie Kemsley, her younger sister

Andrew Kemsley, her brother

Katie Kemsley

Closing prayers for Molly and Silent Reflection

Maggie led us in the following prayer:

Just as water shapes the ground, forever leaving the earth changed,

Molly has shaped our hearts, mind and soul,

forever changing us with her kindness, love and compassion.

Then we observed a long silence to reflect on Molly's impact upon us all. 


We'll all miss Molly.

Her mother and I first took Molly hiking in the woods from when she was barely old enough to walk.

She became the "leader of the tribe" of Kemsley children who followed, one by one, as soon as they could walk.  And she did it with a smile.

We hiked.  And hiked. And hiked. It was our most frequent Sunday afternoon activity.  With Molly always keeping the tribe together on the trails.

Molly was also the first of the tribe to become a competitive swimmer, winning honors on through high school and college.

But I believe Molly loved water as much during those times when our children went "tubing" down the Esopus River in the Catskill Mountains.

While she never showed it, I'm sure that it was something of a nuisance for Molly, to set limits for the younger children.  I wish I could have the patience that she had in shouldering this huge responsibility.

One most of the memorable things that Molly and I did together, was preparing for the Christmas season.

We had to buy particularly tall Christmas trees to reach toward our 18-foot living room ceiling.

She and I would spend the better part of a day searching through tree sellers' yards of trees for the "just the right" tree for our home.

Molly also put her muscle into helping me both get the tree from the truck into the house and standing upright, before we put on the lights and trimmings.

It was always an exciting time in our household. And Molly was a key to making it so.

I believe that our Molly is now already there waiting for us in the forests, with the birds and animals she loved so much.


Andrew Kemsley

Molly died at 51 of a long struggle against brain cancer.

She was born January 25, 1964 to the late Marcella (Bennis) Kemsley.

I adopted Molly upon my marriage to Marcella.

Molly loved to cook, garden and hike.  She was deeply passionate about nature, loving all animals, in particular cats, dogs and fish.  She also held a deep attraction to water, feeling a connection both spiritually and as a life-long swimmer.

She was succeeded by her husband, Ben Iber Troutman, adored cats Lobo and Little Sister, her adoptive father, William Kemsley, Jr, siblings Diane Cossaboom, Katie Kemsley, William Kemsley III, Andrew Kemsley, Maggie Shafer, three nephews and four nieces.

One Response

  1. Ted
    | Reply

    Cancer … doesn’t seem to matter whose body or what part of the body it attacks, its still there and it’s still distructive. And so far there’s nothing that can be done about it. At least not yet, however that doesn’t matter, in the meantime people are still dying from it. Its sad, right now millions of dollars are being thrown at it and the process is still in bably steps, and I have to think that sooner or later someone will come up with a cure. And of course that will be wonderful. But of those that have gone ahead of the cure it won’t mitigate the sadness and feeling of loss that grips our hearts.

    I don’t think I ever met Molly, maybe when she was a child, but I knew her uncle and her father for most of my life and if their kindness and gentleness and generosity reflects if she was anything like them, then like them she would be the kind of person you would want to hold tight to your heart. I said if, but what it means is that being a Kemsley she is all those things and more.

    Molly, may your next journey be all that you want and more!

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