By MARGIE WUEBKER
The multicolored quilt with cross-stitched flowers and birds
is Sally Eifert’s legacy to State of the Heart Home Health
Thousands of tiny, precise stitches attest to the Fort Recovery
woman’s passion for quilting and commitment to perfection.
She finished the ambitious project just days before her death
in a January traffic accident.
Family members later brought the quilt to Patti Stahl, hospice
bereavement specialist. The quilt would be the lone prize in
a fund-raising raffle for the organization formerly known as
Mercer County Hospice.
Nearly 2,000 tickets were sold during the ensuing months as
the quilt occupied a place of honor at the hospice office or
at festivals throughout the area.
The long-awaited drawing took place Sept. 5 in Coldwater. Joyce
Schwieterman, who was among those in attendance, couldn’t
wait to find out where her mother’s quilt was headed.
Stahl made sure the tickets were mixed over and over in the
minutes leading up to the drawing. The honor of reading the
winner’s name fell to Schwieterman. A look of surprise
crossed her face and then a smile tugged at the corners of her
mouth. Tears quickly followed.
“Is it a good one?” Stahl asked.
“I think so. It’s my sister,” Schwieterman
The name on the ticket was that of Connie Buschur, the oldest
of Sally’s four daughters. She had purchased 18 tickets
for the drawing that yielded $1,961.50 for hospice.
“I sold quite a few tickets and jokingly told someone
I was going to win the quilt,” Buschur said. “Never,
never in my wildest dreams did I imagine my ticket would be
the one drawn. It’s still hard to believe. Mom must have
had a hand in this.”
Stahl approached Sally two years ago and asked if she would
make a quilt for the annual raffle. The outgoing woman with
a ready smile agreed without hesitation. Settling on the pattern
took considerably longer.
“I wanted something with lots of colors,” Stahl
said. “We finally settled on Oriental sketch and Sally
suggested the beautiful scalloped border.”
The Fort Recovery woman, known far and wide for her quilting
prowess, seemed reluctant when Stahl broached the matter of
the quilt’s value.
“You can’t begin to pay me for all the hours it
will take,” she replied. After several inquiries, she
grudgingly admitted $600 to $800 was the going rate for a handmade
quilt. Accustomed to making quilts to please loved ones instead
of to sell, she quickly changed the subject.
The project took two years instead of one due to some unexpected
health problems. Son Dan Eifert and daughters Judy Post, Pauline
Faller, Buschur and Schwieterman have special memories of their
81-year-old mother seated at the large quilt frame in the “good”
living room. They remember the colorful design blossomed in
her capable hands as radio music, Cincinnati Reds baseball games
or television shows played in the background.
“Quilting became more than a hobby to Mom particularly
during the winter months,” Schwieterman explained. “She
always had a quilt in the frame and two or three in the works.
However, she never let quilts get in the way of going out with
friends, playing cards or attending school volleyball and basketball
“Mom finished each and every quilt with love and a passion
for perfection,” Faller said. “Everything had to
be just so.”
She entered quilts in various competitions, often earning first-,
second- and third-place honors. Then, as if embarrassed by the
notable accomplishment, she would sit out a year or so.
Much like a proud mother displaying her newborn, Sally never
tired of showing off quilts to visitors.
“She was a loving, caring person who thoroughtly enjoyed
doing things for other people,” Dan Eifert said. “I
don’t believe my mother ever met a stranger. She talked
The hospice quilt, as well as the quilt she helped make for
the annual St. Joe Catholic Church festival, were not the only
philanthropic activities she enjoyed. She and her husband, Ferd,
used to take a camper to auctions. The money they raised from
the sale of sandwiches, snacks, beverages and desserts benefited
the Mercer County Community Hospital Auxiliary.
Quilting helped to fill the hours following his death in March
1997. She never ran out of projects with five children and 20
grandchildren. The children all had examples of her handiwork
and so did most of the grandchildren. She had plans for more.
Time ran out shortly before noon Jan. 26 near her driveway along
Ohio 119. The accident occurred en route home from Sunday morning
Mass. She never heard the wail of responding sirens.
The family came to a quiet house later in the day. An empty
chair stood at the quilt frame with a new project barely underway.
The hospice quilt, which she had completed three days earlier,
lay on a bed in the spare room.
“I saw Sally at a basketball game three days earlier,”
Stahl said. “She told me ‘Patti, the quilt is done.
Come and get it.’ I’ll never forget the look of
satisfaction and happiness on her face. It is a memory I treasure.”
The children never considered keeping their mother’s final
labor of love. It belonged to the organization that helps patients
and families facing life-ending illnesses. They donated it in
“Oh my God,” a longtime family friend proclaimed
upon hearing how the quilt has come back full circle. “Sally
must have been up there looking down when the winning ticket
Family members agree wholeheartedly. They can almost hear her
familiar warnings — “Be careful and remember you
can’t put it anywhere. A quilt taken care of properly
will last long after I’m gone.”