What a very good remembrance of Betty. Thank you, Lois and Steve, for your loving tribute to your mom and to my cousin. You caught the very person whose company I relished for the whole of my 75 years and whom Mitsuko came to love the moment they met.
I shall always think of Betty as a grand soul, full of life and love and expansive in her generosity and good will. I grew up eagerly looking forward to our holiday train trips from Detroit to St. Louis, because I knew that my father's side of the family could be counted on to be busy and boisterous and jolly. And they always were. When her parents died, Betty (with Tom) stepped up to host dozens of family get-togethers in their home, with heaps of food, lots of animated conversations, uproarious laughter, marathon card games, and heart-to-heart chats about the life of the family. One of my earliest memories of Betty, when I was just a wee tyke, was getting directions from her about how best to serve as the ring bearer in her wedding to Tom. Our cousin, Barbara, was her flower girl. These early memories of Betty were tied directly to the most important matters in her life, her love of God, her church, her husband and family, and her friends. And these loves remained most important to her all her life long. Always introduced as her "up-north cousins," we worshiped with Betty and Tom and her family whenever we visited St. Louis. And in her church, we met many of her many friends, those happy souls who served the congregation, used their talents to make charitable craft gifts, and hosted many a wedding reception and funeral luncheon. Back home, it was always in her extraordinarily tidy kitchen, around its warm and familiar table, where we would catch-up on news of our Missouri relatives, share news of our Michigan lives, and revisit the joys and sorrows of our family history. Some of these family stories have grown to legendary status, like that of the infamous Christmas celebration of 1959 when--among other notorious events--Betty and Tom's dog, Freddy (a freeloader, they explained), offered my Aunt Mary and Uncle Walter's pet parakeet, Dodo, an unwelcome, toothy, and altogether traumatic howdy-do. Much shock, especially on Dodo's part, followed by a riot of shouted alarms, animal wrangling, and animated family consultation! Such events and the stories that recount them have grown over the decades into a multitude of family treasures. They more often than not have Betty at the very center of the action, either as the cause or as the story teller . . . or as both. They abide with us as a permanent source of family pride and now as our solace. There was much hilarity to be shared among the family, to be sure, but there was more that Betty had to give and did. Scripture tells us that Jesus told his disciples that there is no greater love than when one gives his life for another (John 15:13). For the whole of Tom's long, last illness, Betty gave hers to him. She was constantly at his side as his loving companion, patient attendant, and careful nurse. In matters such as these, Betty's life turned saintly. She willingly became a suffering servant and an enduring example of selfless love.
Constantly the same, and constantly surprising, Betty's life ran deep and wide, full of faith and joy, and for this we will feel blessed forever to have her life as a part of ours. Thanks be to God.
William and Mitsuko Marx
William and Mitsuko Marx
January 27, 2021