Penny (McKinney) Dolph

November 26, 1956August 26, 2018
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Penny (McKinney) Dolph, age 61, of Greensburg, Indiana passed away on Sunday, August 26, 2018. Penny was born November 26, 1956 in Greensburg, Indiana to Donald C. and Marilyn "Audie" Gill McKinney. Penny was a 1975 graduate of Greensburg Community High School. She married Michael Dolph on May 6, 1995. She was dedicated to her career with Graceworks at Grace Community in Greensburg for over 15 years. She was generously devoted to the residents. Penny was an active member of the Indiana Association of Service Coordinators, American Association of Service Coordinators, Special Olympics Coach, The Arc of Decatur County, and Senior Executive Club.

Penny had a passion for life and a drive to help anyone or anything that crossed her path. She would always be the first to help and was committed to following through until the end. Penny loved nature and animals. She spent endless hours in her flower garden. She was a devoted wife and poured herself into all of his hobbies to be close to him. She believed her greatest accomplishment was raising a wonderful daughter and best friend, Jody. Penny also cherished being the "Cool Aunt" to her niece, Sharilyn. Penny loved sharing food and laughter with all of her family and friends.

Penny is survived by her husband, Michael Dolph; daughter, Jody Coffman; father, Donald C. McKinney; brother, Thomas (Carolyn) McKinney; as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her mother, Marilyn "Audie" McKinney.

Visitation for family and friends will be held at the Gilliland-Howe Funeral Home on Friday, August 31, 2018 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Funeral services will be Saturday, September 1, 2018 at 11:00 am also at the Funeral Home. Contributions in Penny's memory may be made to Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, 2626 E. 17th Street, Columbus, Indiana 47201 and Cancer Treatment Centers of America- Chicago, 2520 Elisha Ave, Zion, Illinois 60099. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the family.


  • Donald C. McKinney, Father
  • Marilyn "Audie" McKinney, Mother
  • Michael Dolph, Husband
  • Jody Coffman, Daughter
  • Thomas (Carolyn) McKinney, Brother


  • Visitation Friday, August 31, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, September 1, 2018

Penny (McKinney) Dolph

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tawnya Norman

September 4, 2018

I am a Service Coordinator in Marion, Indiana and I was a member of the Indiana Association of Service Coordinators along with Penny. I remember my first meeting that I attended when she was the President; she was so encouraging and supportive and really LOVED what she did. The way that she spoke about her job with so much passion inspired me. She will truly be missed!

Ashley Ryan

August 31, 2018

You will be missed deeply ❤️ From our family to yours!

Judy Budi

August 31, 2018

Penny was a strong resident advocate, always looking for ways to help them. She had an amazing smile and laugh. She will be missed. My prayers are with you through these difficult times

Beverly Crawford

August 31, 2018

I'm a service coordinator in Dayton, Ohio property Martin Luther Community I known Penny close to nine years she was caring, kind, and if you needed anything she was there for you. My heart felt sympathy goes out to her family also love you Penny rest in peace. Beverly Crawford Service Coordinator.

mike shotwell

August 31, 2018

It all go back to the day of racing and the good time we had doing it she was all way the one to keep us all in line and to get thing done. I will miss her for that and the fun we had at the house when I was there just one good friend to have around. my prayers go out to mike and the family

Susan Ricke

August 30, 2018

Have many great memories of working with Penny at STI. She was real!!Always had a great attitude and would help anyone out. Quite simply, I loved her. R.I.P. Sweet lady, you are missed.

Sarah Williams

August 29, 2018

My FAVORITE memories with Penny and Mike will always be our motorcycle trip out to South Dakota in 2006! Mike and Penny were with us when my husband proposed in Wind Cave National Park!! Penny was so thoughtful to collect for us a large rock from the site where we got engaged!!! I will always cherish that pink quartz and remember her everytime we look at it!!! I also loved her little southern accent she had and She always had a huge smile on her face!!!
We will miss you Penny... until we meet again in Heaven! We love you!!

Budd and June Ryle

August 29, 2018

Our heartfelt sympathy to all of you at this very difficult time. Penny was a beautiful lady inside and out. May our Almighty God wrap his loving arms around all of you. Love and Prayers.

Ron Graack

August 29, 2018

I will never forget all the dragracing we did together, and you showing me your lovely gardens. Penny I will miss you greatly. Rest in peace. Thoughts and prayers go out to Mike and Jody,rest of the family

Debbie Stuart

August 29, 2018

Carolyn and Tom
I'm so sorry to hear about Penny she was such a friendly caring person, she was so good to my dad, your grandpa (Harold McQueen Sr.) and to me when he lived at Grace Luthern. She will be greatly missed.
Debbie Stuart


“Anything is possible.” That is what Penny Dolph believed about life. She was a creative woman, a perpetual thinker, who seemed to be able to find a solution for any difficulty confronting her. She had faith in her ability to find those solutions. Penny thoroughly enjoyed understanding how things worked. She possessed an inquisitive, confident, and rational nature matched with a versatile and agile mind. Penny was a person who believed that she could achieve whatever she set out to do.

Penny was born on November 26, 1956 at Decatur County Memorial Hospital in Greensburg, Indiana. Her parents were Donald "Mac" and Marilyn "Audie" McKinney. Penny was raised in Greensburg, Indiana. She showed her ingenuity even as a child. When she was confronted with a problem, Penny could develop an imaginative solution, and she derived satisfaction from knowing she had that ability.

This same talent for finding solutions had a positive bearing on Penny's family relationships. She had a younger brother, Tom and a "sister", her cousin, Pene. When a difficult situation or dilemma arose within the family, Penny was always there to help figure out a solution for making things work.

As a young girl, Penny could be found building and inventing new and different things. She was curious, resourceful and interested in anything original. Penny took part in swimming, gymnastics, basketball, and volleyball. She was a Brownie. In her spare time she liked drawing, painting, crafts, and pottery. She rode her bike all over the County with her friends. Memorable moments included her love of rescuing all stray animals including one animal she “claimed” jumped out of the bushes and clung to her.

Endowed with an appetite for knowing how her world worked, Penny enjoyed school. Penny was adept at scrutinizing different possibilities and designing innovative solutions. She graduated from Greensburg Community High School in 1975. She enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. Her favorite class in high school was Art. The teacher she enjoyed learning from the most was Miss Richey. Penny was a class officer of her graduating class all four years of high school. She was in Follies and Madrigal.

Penny was socially resourceful, an expressive person who was willing to try new things. These qualities drew a lively circle of friends around her. Always interested in her friends’ activities and interests, Penny was uncritical of her acquaintances. She was sought after by people who recognized that she was generous with her time and energy, and these same friends found Penny to be very stimulating company. Penny's humor and curiosity were contagious for those around her. While growing up, some of her best friends were Judy Dierckman, Tina Sibbitt, Connie Zigler, Jane Knecht, and

Karen Hurst. Later in life, her friends included Cheryl Harford, Karen McKinnley, Roberta Evers, Toni Decker, and Polly Wheeler. Her very best friend was her daughter, Jody.

On May 6, 1995 Penny exchanged wedding vows with Michael Dolph at First Christian Church of Greensburg, Indiana. Penny was adept at devising original and creative ways to enhance and improve the marriage partnership on a budget. Penny loved diving into the hobbies that Mike enjoyed. Penny was able to bring out the best in others. Penny was an entertaining conversationalist who was quick to respond to her spouse’s needs. She was very perceptive in recognizing others’ feelings, especially regarding Mike's.

Penny's remarkable talent for being inventive influenced her relationship with her daughter, Jody. She would create original, clever and fun games for her and had a knack for finding ways to make everyday events, even chores, enjoyable. Penny always found a way to make her daughter smile, especially after hard days. She was also blessed with one fur grandchild, Millie Ann Chocolate Kisses. Someone who was quick to laugh, Penny found it easy to spend lots of time with Jody, and she was rarely overbearing or guilty of pushing herself on to her.

As a born inventor, Penny was definitely in her element in her work place. She could easily create new and innovative systems, and incorporate those changes to bring a fresh approach to any work situation. Penny was a focused worker with a strong drive for achievement. She could assess all of the options before her and, using her analytical skills, could comfortably find answers that no one else had even considered. Her personal initiative inspired those around her. Penny was always good at getting a project started and completed to the best of her ability. Her primary occupation was Social Services Coordinator. She was employed for over 15 years by Graceworks. Penny always made an effort to be a team player, doing what needed was necessary in order to get the job done.

Penny's passion for finding a better way to do things was often an end in itself for her. In fact, that interest by itself became something of a hobby for this perpetual problem solver. Since Penny was always searching for new and unusual activities, she developed many interests and leisure pursuits. Some of the things she became an “expert” in might come as a surprise to those who knew her, but most friends and family understood that Penny simply couldn’t be limited to just a few activities or ideas. Her favorite pursuits were flower gardening, motorcycling with her husband, traveling, collecting rocks, reading, junking with her best friends, horseback riding, coloring, painting with her niece, and sharing food and laughter with family and friends. She also enjoyed the art of Feng Shui.

Penny's calm demeanor and eternally positive outlook served her well in sports. In high school, Penny joined Gymnastics. Recreational sports after high school included bowling and drag racing. Penny was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed following her favorite events whenever she got the opportunity alongside Mike.

Penny's talents were well suited for being actively involved in professional and community organizations, something she did throughout her life. She enjoyed being involved and was willing to jump in and help out in most any situation. Penny could bring a breath of fresh air to any organization, simply by introducing her novel ideas and problem solving strategies. Throughout her later years, Penny was an active member of the Indiana Association of Service Coordinators, American Association of Service Coordinators, Special Olympics Coach, The Arc of Decatur County, and Senior Executive Club.

Penny was continually concerned with the status of local, national and even world affairs. Her keen interest and strong values led her to become active in her community. Serving on committees for the Indiana Association of Service Coordinator as a past president, past vice president, treasurer, and program director.

Faith and spirituality were important to Penny. She was baptized at the First Christian Church.

Having the opportunity to visit and explore a new place always intrigued Penny. Traveling and going away on vacations offered yet another opportunity for Penny to expand her ever-growing inventory of knowledge. Favorite vacations included going to Hawaii on her honeymoon in 1995. In 1988 she took Jody to Dollywood and rode every ride. Later in life, Penny enjoyed traveling all over the United States, alongside Mike, on their Goldwing with family and friends. For her last time traveling, she loved seeing the redwood trees in Redwood National Park with her best friend, Cheryl.

Penny was a lover of animals and cherished her pets. One of Penny's favorites was Lady, her first Dalmatian. They were best friends for 14 years. Her family was rounded out by a Labrador, Chance, two cats, Buddy and Sissy, and Red Fish.

Penny passed away on August 26, 2018 at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, Columbus, Indiana. Penny fought a brave battle against melanoma. She is survived by her husband Mike, daughter Jody, father Don, brother Tom (Carolyn), several nieces and nephews. Services were held at Gilliland Howe

Funeral Home on Saturday, September 1, 2018. Penny’s wishes are to travel and be spread at all of the beautiful places in the world.

During her lifetime, nothing appeared impossible to Penny. She met the words “it can’t be done” with the enthusiastic challenge of a “wanna bet” attitude. Penny was able to recognize the possibilities a new idea held, even when those around her could not. For Penny, the traditional way of doing things fell short of her expectations, especially if there were original and untested methods for handling a challenge. For Penny Dolph, the fun of living her life could be found in the challenge.

Eulogies from her Service

Penny leaves behind many, many friends and has several she considered her “best friends”. I am the person she introduced as her “oldest best friend”, which is true-of all of those closest to her, I am the oldest and have known her the longest, since she was a very little girl.

Jody is the youngest of her best friends, of course, and is her soul mate and her truest best friend in every sense of the word. I can’t imagine any daughter caring for an ailing mother with any more love and devotion that Jody.

My name is Karen McKinley – not to be confused with McKinney. I can’t count the times over the years that folks who were introduced to us confused our names and thought we were sisters. I even used to receive the McKinney’s mail on occasion and Penny and I would laugh over the silliness of it all.

Our parents were friends first. My mother was an honor attendant when Penny’s mom and dad were married and later on I was Penny’s maid of honor when she married Mike and she was mine when I got married. Mike proved to be a devoted husband to Penny in the years she fought cancer and truly lived his marriage vows – for better or for worse, and until death do us part.

I first got to know Penny as a child when our parents would socialize, mostly at the home where Don still lives. My sister and I would play Barbies with Penny and my brother would go off somewhere with Penny’s brother, Tom. As we grew older our lives grew apart, but then in 1985, when we both returned to Greensburg, I met up with her again when Jody was just 4 years old. Jody was in my office with her babysitter, who was attending workshops, and at first I didn’t know who Jody was – only that this pretty little girl with beautiful waist-length blond hair was behaving perfectly while being forced to sit through boring workforce development sessions with her babysitter. Eventually, after a few weeks, the connection to Penny was discovered and a new and lasting friendship began. We entered that friendship full-force as single parents, raising our children together and serving as each other’s free child care providers. Both of us struggled to make ends meet over those years – she drove a VW Beetle that was missing most of its floor and I drove one that forced the front-seat passenger to scrape ice off the inside windshield because of a pitiful defrosting system. It was always a toss-up as to whose care we would take when we ventured out together. My boys, no doubt, remember the countless home perms we gave each other over the years – often I would joke that she gave we so many that I eventually didn’t have to curl my hair any longer. Also during those years, the boys and I watched Penny do some really wild things to make ends meet – from her dressing up as a Twinkie and handing our samples at The Ranch, to collecting insurance payments door-to-door at all hours while I watched Jody.

We shared a love of all animals, especially horses, and even though we never fulfilled our dream of having our own, we found stables close by that allowed us to ride exactly how we wanted. We last rode late last summer and you would have never known that the woman mounting the horse of her choice was actively battling stage four melanoma. She was as much at peace on a horse as she was working in one of her many flower gardens. In the early years of our friendship, I was present during the birth of many of her Dalmatian puppies, and I also watched over the years as she collected strays. Neither of us ever dared criticize the other for taking in the stray cats or dogs that we did, even though our money was almost always tight.

Over the years, Penny and I also went to three wonderful Yanni concerts and in late July, even though she was in rehab and unable to attend. She insisted that Jody use the Yanni tickets that were her gifts to Penny and Mike. Jody (not a huge Yanni fan), myself, and some of my family attended, and in just one example of her devotion to her mother, Jody held her cell phone for nearly three straight hours so that the concert could be Facetimed or streamed live to a computer in Penny’s hospital room where another best friend, Cheryl, stood by to assist. I have yet to listen to any of my Yanni CDs since Penny left us Sunday. It will take a while.

We shared many, many good times – treating ourselves to appetizers and margaritas at Chi Chis because we couldn’t afford a full meal; taking road trips to friends’ parties while singing along to songs on the radio at the top of our lungs; trips to El Reparo for each of our birthdays, and sitting on her patio eating queso and drinking margaritas……

If you were Penny’s friend, you never received just one card on a special occasion, you received several, because she’d always find different cards that spoke exactly how she felt, and so she sent them all, even as recently as just a couple of months ago. Over the years, as our kids grew up and went their own ways and Penny and I got busier with our jobs and families, we didn’t see each other as much. We each developed other important friendships but never lost contact with each other, and whenever we were able to get together, we would just start up where we’d left off. She is the one person that knows all of my secrets. One of her last birthday cards to me says it best: “One of the things I really love about our friendship is how easy it is. I get you. You get me. And that’s that. We’re just two friends who understand each other by heart”.

Everyone in this room know that Penny fought this horrible disease harder than any other person, even though she admitted to me on a trip to Cancer Treatment Center of America early on that it would eventually kill her. She impressed every medical professional she came in contact with, one of them declaring, after Penny’s first craniotomy, that she was the “perkiest brain surgery patient” she’s ever seen. And less than four days later, she was back at it – landscaping and planting at her dad’s, and delivering a huge potted plant to me (and probably others) for Mother’s Day. She couldn’t be stopped. Even just a few weeks ago while I sat with her at dinner while she was in rehab she talked about returning back to work. She could not and would not be stopped until she absolutely had no other choice.

Penny’s smile and spirit is engraved in the hearts of everyone she touched – her friends and family and the hundreds of folks she advocated for over the years. She was a true hero to those she served. She forgave those who wronged her and moved on.

There is a line from a movie that I saw in the past few years where a father is talking to his young daughter after a close call. He says to her (and I paraphrase) “Sweetheart, don’t ever do that again…because I can’t imagine a world without you in it.” I spoke those words to Penny the day she told me there was nothing else to be done with her illness.

I can’t imagine a world without Penny in it.

Unspoken, additional memories:

• Her Dalmatian, Beaumont, who would howl and sing whenever a Michael Bolton song came on the radio.

• Penny’s statement: “She’ll take it!” when she and I entered the Michigan Avenue home to see if it was something I should buy.

-Karen McKinley

Penny and I first met in 1979. We were clerks at a convenient store called King Quik. My first impression was and never has changed. That she was like a bottle of freshly opened champagne: bubbly, fresh, and light. She was single, sharing an apartment in Monroe, Ohio with a gal named Cheryl. There were living on fumes, however she amazed me with her creativity: making her space organized, comfortable, and welcoming with inexpensive, unique items. Her interest in Feng Shui hadn’t grabbed her yet.

We would go for months, sometimes years without seeing each other, our first marriages were turbulent and chaotic, however, when we spoke, it was as if no time had passed.

In the Dayton, Ohio area, we have many beautiful parks that Penny and I enjoyed hiking, being in nature, good conversation, and delight in the nature around us. Her love of nature is attested to by the HUGE amount of flower gardens at her home. Mixing nature with castoff pieces she would find on the side of the road, making unique settings around every corner, complete with a pet cemetery.

Jody was always, in all ways, the light of her life. Coaching from the sidelines, she was always protective like a mama bear. They laughed hard and yelled harder at times when Penny was being over controlling. Always from a place of love, she desired the best possible outcome for her. Penny couldn’t sing her praises enough for the love and care Jody has given her.

Penny when through a dog breeding phase with Dalmatians. My favorite was Gypsy and hers was Lady. She was a Magnet for stray cats and dogs that were dropped off near her home or just picking them up when she was out and about, like The Brown’s, a male and female pair of mixed breed dogs.

Penny often took on the interest of who she was with. When she met Mike, he was not in a good place in his life and she quite literally because the wind beneath his wings and threw herself into his interest in racing, making sure he was safe and had it together. She was quite touched at his unflinching chivalry in his care for her as her illness progressed and particularly in showing and voicing his emotions to her. She told me how much that meant to her…she said it meant everything to her.

She had a passion and drive to help others in whatever way she could, becoming legal guardians of several through the years. While the rest of us fly in the peripheral, Penny dove right in, not shying away from making a long term commitment and did her due diligence in service to them.

After a state budget cut and losing her state job, she drove 3 hours to stay 2 days every week for 2 years to give my husband respite care relief. She took very good care of Donnabelle and was a true blessing to my husband and that’s just one of the many that she made a difference in their lives.

While I will deeply miss Penny, I know when I see her again, it will be just as if no time has passed and we will pick up where we left off. All of our lives are better because she showed up for all of us and will continue to do so if we just ask. We have a mighty angel on our side with Penny.

–Roberta Evers

My friend Penny was an extraordinary friend would didn’t do anything half way. Penny put her heart and soul into any job or project, from decorating a float, to gardening, or advocating for a friend to the point of putting her job in jeopardy, which she truly felt that her cause was in the best interest of others that would be the result.

Penny didn’t just decorate a wall or just plant a flower. She had a grander plan! She didn’t just get dressed in the morning, she picked out her accessories and then picked out her clothes.

Yesterday, I went to the rock jar twice and didn’t find a rock until the second attempt. Penny once told me to wait when choosing a rock, “it will speak to you.” And on my second attempt this rock spoke to

me. It has a hole all the way through it. My heart has a large hole in it and I will miss her always, but like the poem my life will never be the same. Penny left footprints on my heart.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go – Some people move our souls to dance – They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom - Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon - They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same.

– Cheryl Harford

Hi ya’ll. Thank you so much for coming to celebrate my mom’s life today and always.

The word eulogize literally means to praise or glorify. And to be honest, I’ve struggled to find words that can possibly encompass my momma’s spirit on this earth, and I don’t know if there are any. Speaking with someone very dear to me, she described her as unconditional. I think it is a wonderful description: decisive, genuine, unequivocal, no if’s, and’s, or but’s, an unmistakable kind of woman.

She was beautiful, but I don’t mean just like the women in magazine. She was beautiful for the way she thought. She was beautiful for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful for her ability to make people smile even if she was sad. No, she definitely wasn’t just beautiful for something as temporary as looks. She was beautiful deep down in her soul.

Most people by now know that Mom and I shared a birthday. Mom always said I was a testament that Nana’s words couldn’t be more untrue, that “your children would come back to haunt you”. Several times over the last few years, Mom has personally told me that, “I am the best thing she ever did,” and not just because I came out on Thanksgiving in time for all the relatives to come visit and still eat dinner. I never truly knew how to respond to that statement because, she is the best thing in my life and I was lucky to have HER.

Because of this and other experiences, I believe we were linked not just as mother and daughter, but also as eternal best friends. We fought hard, but we loved harder. Sometimes that was hard for people around us to understand. We just can’t help it. We have big personalities.

One of the things I loved about my momma was that she wasn’t necessarily religious, but was very spiritual, maybe even mystical. She pulled in all the great qualities of several things she learned over the years. She believed and practiced the art of Feng Shui. This is the Chinese belief of balancing your physical environment to promote harmony and a sense of wellbeing. They believed that everything has energy, or chi, and how we arrange those objects can affect all aspects of our lives. Now don’t get me wrong, I spent A LOT of my teenage years making fun of this, but truthfully, she said I always naturally gravitated toward decorating this way, and she’s right. So today, the room is decorated as best as I could to this practice:

* The Love and Marriage corner is represented by her wedding dress that she designed herself and many photos of her and Mike.

* The Children/Creativity/Career corner is represented by all her favorite hobbies and pictures of those dear to her.

* The Travel corner is represented by pictures and magnets Mom collected on her adventures with Mike.

* The Wealth and Blessings corner is the area of the TV and is represented by the beautiful flowers and photos on the video.

* The Fame and Reputation corner is where mom is lying at rest in front of us.

* The Health corner is the center of the room, and all present represent why she fought so hard to be healthy each day.

Momma left me with two very important lessons in life. First, “Always be grateful.” The front of the journal I am writing in today says, “Ok FINE, I’m grateful”, a statement I sarcastically said probably 100’s of times when I was younger, but as I matured and wanted to strive to be even half as great of a woman as she is, it has developed to, “I’m beyond grateful”. I’m grateful for all the horrible jobs she took to make sure I wanted for nothing. I’m grateful to have had Nana and Papaw be a part of raising me to be who I am today. I’m grateful that she met Mike and he took me in and provided for us to have all the wonderful opportunities in our lives. I’m grateful to have been raised by such an amazing woman. And I’m grateful to have been granted the time to have been able to spend every last minute with her to laugh, to cry, and to love. The second lesson is shorter: “If you have to choose between being kind and being right, choose being kind and you will always be right”. This one is much harder for this Sagittarian that yearns to be right all the time, but I have no doubt that with Mom by my side, she will help to always guide me towards being kind.

Before I end, smiling and laughter is how Mom and I deal with tough situations. So I’m going to end with stating her top 10 favorite sniglets. Sniglets are any words that don’t appear in the dictionary but should…

* Barcuuming – v. using the family dog to remove the crumbs that have dropped on the floor.

* Dunken Hacken – n. violent coughing attack brought on by inhaling the powdered sugar on a donut.

* Idiolocation – n. the spot on the shopping mall map marked, “ You are here.”

* Manumulching – v. transporting leaves & sandwiching them together between one hand and the rake.

* Nutrasecond –n. the few seconds of pleasure before the after-taste of a diet drink sets in.

* Reyulerate – v. to reposition Christmas lights so no two colors are beside each other.

* T-ration – v. to use less and less toilet paper as one nears the end of the roll.

* Tater crater – n. hole dug in mashed potatoes to keep the gravy in.

* Tupperwarp – n. condition of plastic containers left in the microwave too long

* Margrane – n. the blinding pain from drinking margarita slush too quickly.

Someone told me Mom always made lemonade out of life, but I would say she made margaritas!

-Jody Coffman