Mom Turns 90 and I get all the gifts

In the next week or so, my mom, Coleen Hurzeler, will celebrate her 90th birthday.  NINETY!  Pretty amazing.  And dad beat her to the mark…he will be 93 this summer.  They still live in the home I grew up in, still drive and continue to amaze me with their energy and love.

I am one lucky guy. Together, my parents gave me the greatest gifts that any young person can get…a strong moral compass and self-confidence.  They taught me the right way and then let me stumble along that path (an frequently off that path) on my own.

What I found was that I could make mistakes and then, if the mistake didn’t kill me, recover from the mistake…learn from it…and move on with my life.  When I needed help, due to some stupid action on my part, they were there to lift me up…put me back on the path…and let me try again.  When I wanted to quit…they told me to try some more…and try some more was often all that was needed.  What I learned from all that was that the right way was, in the long run, always the easiest way and…you can screw up and recover and those closest to you will still love you.  Powerful lessons.

So…Mom…Happy 90th.  I love you with all my heart and I am forever proud of what you have done and are doing with your life.  Thanks for always being there to support me…even when I deserved no support at all.  Thank for telling me “You can do it” rather than “You can’t”.  Thanks for letting me fail so I could learn that failure is just part of the process of living a full life.  And thanks for your cheers on those times when I win or win big.

I won big when I ended up the son of Jim and Coleen Hurzeler…and now I see that the true winners are Jim and Coleen (AKA Mom and Dad).  They are successful parents, grandparents, great grandparents…successful human beings.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  Happy birthday mom.  I love you.

The accompanying picture is one of my favorite of mom. And for those of you who note that I was kinder in my picture selection for my mom than I was for my father-in-law…Hey…it’s my mom!


  1. Sue McKibben on March 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I absolutely loved what you wrote. Mike and I are so glad Jeannie will be there to help your Mom celebrate her 90th. She is one special lady. I loved her from the first time I met her, some 32 years ago, or so. Your picture selection makes me smile ear-to-ear.

    • Don Hurzeler on March 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      Thanks. We will be there soon and have several long visits planned in the months ahead. Glad you liked the picture…much appreciated.

  2. Fran Harding on March 9, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Don … well said. I always knew your Mom and Dad were special — even though I didn’t know them. Your “story” was always unique. And many of us at Zurich always paid close attention to your successes. Always positive, you led by example. And we learned from you! My Mom will be 93 on Sunday. She was — and is — her own person. Even today. Her story — for us three girls — was you can be anything you want — can do anything you want — you just got to get out there and do it. I love her. I admire her. And I also wish her a wonderful birthday. My sisters and I are so lucky we’ve had her in our lives all these years. Here’s to Mothers everywhere!

    • Don Hurzeler on March 9, 2011 at 4:48 am

      Fran…well said yourself. Here is to your mom and moms everywhere. And thank you for the kind comments. I don’t miss working…but I miss working with you and all the other fine people I met along the way.

  3. Nathelle Stollens on March 10, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Loved the tribute to your Mom and Dad. Coleen has always had a very special place in my heart(one reserved for sisters). My brother surely picked the right one when he picked her. The McDonalds and the Hurzelers have strong, long living genes. Love, Aunt Nathelle Hurzeler Stollens.

    • Don Hurzeler on March 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Much thanks. The older I get, the more thankful I am to have those long living genes in the family. My love to you. Don