Meet Antigo’s afghan, quilt queen

By Lisa Haefs | For The Compass | January 5, 2015

Thelma Lamont makes blankets for parish fund raisers

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]ANTIGO — Over the decades, Thelma Lamont’s afghans and quilts have kept hundreds of people warm and her funeral dinners have nourished many more.

Your Catholic Neighbor: Thelma Lamont (Lisa Haefs | For The Compass)
Your Catholic Neighbor: Thelma Lamont (Lisa Haefs | For The Compass)

But it is her cheerful demeanor and can-do attitude that truly warm the spirit.

At 84, Lamont says she is just hitting her stride as a volunteer for St. John the Evangelist Parish, involved in a long list of activities ranging from supplying hand-made items for church raffles to serving as lector, extraordinary minister of holy Communion and commentator.

“I like to be part of the service, rather than sitting in the congregation,” she says. “I’m a people person and I want to be involved.”

St. John’s has been Lamont’s home congregation through baptism, confirmation and decades of marriage to her husband, Jeff. He was a longtime Antigo city police officer who died four years ago.

“Now it’s just me and Cody,” she says, referring to her aging, but spunky Sheltie.

Always a church-goer, Lamont began attending Mass on a daily basis following her husband’s death.

“It’s a good way to start your day,” she says. “It gives you a good reason to get up.”

Lamont honed her professional skills in a variety of work settings, including as a secretary for the University of Wisconsin Extension System for 10 years. She now subs in the St. John Parish business office.

“You get to see a lot of people who come into the office and it is a way of sharing skills that  I have,” she says.

Her outgoing personality makes her a natural for duties as lector, a responsibility that can literally cause grown men and women to break out in a cold sweat at the notion of public speaking before a large crowd.

“Once I got over my first reading I was all right,” she says. “Now I look forward to it.”

Preparation is key, she says. She studies the readings in advance, making sure she can pronounce any unusual names or locations.

“I go through it a couple times so I know what I’m saying,” she says. “I try to read it like a story.”

She is scheduled as lector about once a month, but finds herself in front of the congregation far more often substituting for others.

Distributing Communion and serving as a commentator, reading announcements after Mass, are other ways of sharing her faith.

And then there are those afghans and quilts.

“I make either a quilt or an afghan every year for the fall festival — and now the international dinner,” she says, adding that her creations often travel far afield from Antigo.

It is a painstaking process, ranging from first selecting the design, colors and materials through the actual construction, hundreds of hours in all.

“I use quality materials,” she says. “I make what I think looks nice and hope others like it as well. I enjoy it when I know the people who win it because you know they are appreciated.”

She has also organized and served hundreds of funeral luncheons as well as assisting at church fish dinners and brat fries. If there is a job that needs to be done, Lamont has probably either done it or is willing to try. And she shows few signs of slowing down.

Through volunteer work with the church “you see a lot of people and you get to share,” Lamont says. “God has been good to me.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info” style=”rounded”]Your Catholic Neighbor

Name: Thelma Lamont

Parish: St. John the Evangelist, Antigo

Age: 84

Favorite saint: Anthony

Words to live by: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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