Essay: Read at Joanne's Memorial Get-together

I would like to welcome Joanne's many friends who are out there. We have just heard the strains of Bach 's Sixth Brandenburg Concerto, a work which was used in our wedding some 51 years ago.

It is a pleasure to introduce Rosemary Detrich, whom Joanne counted among her best friends and Penny Linch, wife of my late cousin Albert who tragically succumbed to leukemia on January 1st of this year.

Fifty-one Years
I am thinking back to 51 years ago when I first met Joanne. It was 1962 at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana during graduate school. She was vivacious, good looking, and smart. And, she seemed to like me as well. Her friends and room mates were warning her to beware of a relationship with me saying "its probably no more than a summer romance". How wrong they were!

Things moved quickly, and before you knew it, I was meeting her parents, and we were calling mine on the phone. Soon, after only a few short months, a September wedding took shape, with all the excitement and planning that implied.

But lo! What should pop up? An elopement to "Sin City" Illinois. We made the decision to go ahead and get married before moving into our recently-rented one-room apartment. So, taking off on Friday afternoon, we headed for Danville, Illinois, the famous "Sin City" with our Illinois license, where we soon linked up with the local coroner who provided us with a short, but sweet, ceremony. We then headed back across the Indiana border to occupy our new one-room apartment in Lafayette.

It was suddenly very exciting to be married and planning another marriage. How many people can say they've done that? The second wedding, a church affair, was almost an anticlimax, except of course for all the family who arrived for the ceremony. The music consisted of the Sixth Bach Brandenburg Concerto, provided by cousin Albert who controlled the 33 rpm recording -- using the record I still own. In addition to family, several Purdue professors attended.

Fast forward now to 1965 when it was time to leave Purdue for New York City. A two-day drive took us there, with everything we owned in the car plus a small trailer. After visiting good friend violist John Graham and his new wife Cinda we began looking for a place to live. Almost immediately, we zeroed in on the exciting lower east side of Manhattan where we rented a second floor, 5-room, rent-controlled apartment on Delancey Street for $81 dollars a month. There were many really nice neighbors nearby. Old Teddy, the "Super" who could fix anything, Richard Ballantine and Bill Marsano across the hall, Mae Cox, and Estella Johnson as well.

Joanne and I both initially taught at Hunter College and soon made friends there with John Snygg and his artist wife Virginia. Many pleasant evenings playing bridge soon followed, and to this day, we remain in close touch.

Soon, after arriving in the Big Apple  we immersed ourselves in the birding community, primarily by attending meetings every two weeks of the Linnaean Society which met in the Museum of Natural History. There was the scholarly John Bull, who wrote the Birds of New York, and Guy Tudor, the unmatched bird artist, as well as the influential ornithologist Eugene Eisenmann. There was also the dean of amateur birding Tom Davis, as well as the ever enthusiastic birder-ornithologists Paul and Fran Buckley who subsequently accompanied Joanne and me on many Christmas Bird Counts and birding trips.

The Montauk Christmas Bird Count was one of the oldest and most prestigious in the northeast, and  Joanne and I participated every year.

Recalling one cold December day, 1966 I believe, we had decided to visit Gardiner's Island, which is in the Montauk count area. The plan was to use our folding Klepper Kayak to sail accross Gardiner's Bay to the island. This would enable us to count the many hard-to-get species which are routine there -- like Wild Turkey, Carolina Wren, and a multitude of waterfowl. This was a 3.5-mile crossing from the nearest point on Long Island and the visit was to be done without the permission of Robert Gardiner, the hereditary lord of the manor.

The night before, we proceeded to our takeoff point and soon were sound asleep in the car, anticipating an early start the next morning. Not too long after that, a car came by and went up and over the dune at the end of the road. We ignored this unwelcome development and tried to go back to sleep. But you couldn't ignore an incessant spinning noise of tires on the beach sand. So I looked out the back windshield and could see that the tail lights were now hidden by the dune at end of the road.

Becoming somewhat alarmed, I hopped out of our car and up over the dune to see the sight of a car now three quarters of the way into the tidal water. I ran to the driver side and knocked on the window, whereupon a lady opened the door and, as water rushed into the interior, she said, in a somewhat confused manner "Where am I? What body of water is this?", to which I dramatically replied, "Ma'am, this is the Atlantic Ocean" (It's really called Gardiner's Bay).

Now we were really getting somewhere. She introduced herself as Elaine De Kooning (expressionist painter and estranged wife of the famous Willem de Kooning). She was by that time fairly wet and it was cold, so we took her into the car and drove back down the road looking for a house with lights on. We finally entrusted her to a friendly resident, who called a wrecker and immediately offerred her a drink. Then we went back to our car and returned to a fitful sleep.

Finally morning dawned, and we assembled the trusty Klepper Kayak, hoisted the sails and set out toward Gardiner's Island. On the way over, scoters and Long-tailed Ducks were whizzing right by the boat oblivious to the human occupants. As we neared the island, we lowered sail lest we be spotted by the resident caretaker, whom we knew to be one by the name of  Jock Mackay. Pulling the Klepper ashore, we concealed it from view and set about doing what we had come to do -- counting birds. I went north to look for waterfowl on some of the large ponds while Joanne went south to the area  near the large manor house. Well, Joanne was caught almost immediately by Mackay, who then proceeded to question her, and learning that I was there also, took off in his truck with her to look for me. I succeeded in evading his efforts, so he finally released Joanne and allowed her to go about her bird counting for the day. Later, Joanne and I met at the hidden kayak and made the 3.5-mile sail back across Gardiner's Bay. Well, many interesting birds were reported that day, and the Montauk Christmas Bird Count has never been the same. Joanne was indeed a gutsy lady.

From that point on the Montauk Count took on a new look. Joanne and I became count co-compilers along with good friend Bob Paxton, a well-known historian at Columbia University. And now Gardiner's Island was an integral part of the overall count. Joanne and I would frequently count the bird species in some of the hard-to-get-to parts of the island. There were many memorable times  with colorful and well-known participants such as Roger Tory Peterson, Russ Kinne, and George Plimpton, and of course Gardiner himself, who relished the fact that 'his island' had such a storied past in the arena of natural history.

During our time in Manhattan, Joanne and I became very good friends with a another group which revolved around chamber music, and in particular a string quartet which we frequently referred to as the Abelian Quartet. In addition to many pleasant days of music making with good friends Lon Rosen, Lyn, Charles Small, Mimi, Fritz Steinhardt and Vicki, we hiked and climbed mountains together.

Oft-repeated clichés were very popular. My favorite, spoken by yours truly for the first time one day on the arrival of  violinist Fritz -- "Well, well, well, if it isn't Fritz. This quartet is really going places!" That cliché became a signal that things were about to really get going. Quartets were played many weekends either at Fritz' place or at the NYU Courant seminar room on the ground floor.

Joanne was a really good hiker and mountain climber, and she always went along with the group, even on the more challenging jaunts. The two of us even did a climb up 14,400 ft Mount Rainier with a professor from City College, making it all the way to the top, using rope, crampons, ice axes, and all the other accoutrements.

In the Big Apple, Joanne taught, first at Hunter, then at Upsala College with colleagues John Snygg and Jack Roth. John introduced her to Jack who enthusiastically hired her for a position. That was the beginning of several enjoyable years for both of us.

Every Christmas, Joanne and I would fly or drive from New York down to my parents' home in Roswell, Georgia for a big family Christmas. On the way, we would always stop to exchange gifts with the Linch family, including my cousin Albert, his lovely wife Penny, and their two talented daughters Karina and Natalie. After moving to Meadowlin, a big Virginia farm, they were joined by Albert's mother Faye and aunt Bo as well. Tragically my cousin Albert died on January 1st this year after fighting leukemia for six months.I'm very happy to have Penny here sitting next to me to say a few words. (lead-in for Penny).

Penny Linch Comments
Thank you Ben for sharing your wonderful memories of the 51 years you and Joanne had together.  She was totally supportive and loved all of the trips and events you planned and enjoyed.

My own memories almost always consist of Ben and Joanne together, as one unit, inseparable.  Our husbands shared a special bond as cousins, spending their early years in a two family home they shared with their sister's and parents.  I'd heard stories about Ben and Joanne long before I met them.  I remember in 1980 the first visit to NJ where they lived backing up to a golf course and my oldest daughter was just a toddler.  It was the first time any of us had seen a 'home computer'.  Jessie's kids had already learned to master the keyboard.  Ben and Joanne were way ahead of the technology curve.  Ever the gracious host, Joanne made us feel so welcomed with her great cooking and shortly after we settled down, the games began.

Games and puzzles were a usual part of our gatherings.  Joanne was a great instructor as she challenged us all to put on our thinking caps…and I'm sure we won occasionally, due only to her soft heart, not our own skills.  But she never let on.  She was also an avid reader and I wonder now, how many books she actually read…I'm guessing thousands.

Over the years we shared many such visits and great conversations.  Joanne rarely spoke about herself and certainly was humble when it came to her individual accomplishments…. a rare, but admirable trait in today's world.  She always seemed to accept people for who they truly are and she enjoyed everything she participated in, from weddings to parties, to bird counts, dog walks, to quietly reading in an easy chair.   She was happy doing whatever the day called for and could create fun doing whatever anyone wanted to do.  She was selfless and undemanding.

She collected T-shirts from all of her travels and enjoyed wearing them. … a walking billboard for some of the best memories.  She also was very thoughtful and gave such special gifts…like the baby present of a Blue-footed Booby photograph that hung in the children's rooms, reminding them that wondrous things can be seen, by those who travel to find them.  She brought out her treasured Bears given by friends, for my grandsons to play with and toys for the pool. Where they cooled off in the Austin heat.  My four year old remembers this well.  And a blue-footy booby proudly snuggles with Freddy in bed at night.

My girls grew up with a love of travel, games, photography and birds and counted Joanne as a major female influence in their lives.  She lived with dignity right until the end and we all will remember Joanne with love, appreciation and admiration.

One of the ways I've chosen to deal with my husbands' death is to think of it as the next big adventure.  Like Joanne he loved to travel, take risks, live life to the fullest, be it on the road again or feeding the pelicans on Key Largo.  So now, I'd like to believe if there is a next big adventure, that Joanne and Al are planning it out…. Maybe they'll travel farther than we on earth can imagine.

Christmas in Georgia
Leaving Virginia, we would proceed to Georgia to experience the pleasures of a newly-cut Georgia pine for a Christmas tree. Joanne, of course, would be immersed in the custom of gift-giving that always took place. My sister Jessie, her husband Savas and their two young children Raif and Aylin were there in later years. There were frequently visits with other family, and mother would invite students from other countries for Christmas dinner. After Christmas, we would frequently fly down to the Bahamas with Raif and Aylin to places like Cat Island, Abaco Island.

In the fall of 1967,  Joanne and I moved to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania. We made many good friends among the students there -- Bob Rubin and wife Rita, Rich McGovern and wife Alice. The Rubins managed the Chamonix Mansion, which served as a youth hostel for the Philadelphia area. We spent many enjoyable evenings there playing bridge with Bob and Rita. There were also enjoyable times spent with Penn Professors Herb Wilf, Albert Nijenhuis, Frank Warner, Oscar Goldman, and Andrew Wallace.

At that time both of us began teaching math and computer science at Glassboro State College in New Jersey (now Rowan University) . Those were great years teaching numerous students with whom we still communicate, many working today in computer-related jobs. We came to know and work with many valued colleagues such as Tom Osler, Don Stone, Fran Masat, Seth Bergman, Bert Greenspan, Bob Linch, Rose Glassberg, Muriel Onni, John Sooy, and the list goes on and on.

Hudson Valley New York
In 1982, I left Glassboro to begin working at RCA Government Systems Division in Camden, and the following year accepted a position at IBM in Kingston, NY. Joanne obtained a nice Assistant Professorship at Marist College in Poughkeepsie and began the first of many years of enjoyable association with many colleagues there such as Rich McGovern, our old friend from Philadelphia.

Many exciting airplane trips occurred during the Kingston years. Our Mooney Executive 21 (M20F) was purchased from our good friends Ginnie and Herb Styles, and we made good use of it. There were trips to Quebec City with Doris and Bob Benson, a great trip to Quebec and on to Prince Edward Island with Denny and Elaine Eaton, and a jaunt with Steve and Becky Kellogg to Quebec City, L'anse aux Meadows (where the Vikings landed), Newfoundland, and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

In 1992, I obtained a position in Austin for some exciting development work, and a year later Joanne joined me here in what  is our present home of 22 years, on Shadow Mountain Drive.

Several colleagues from New York were able to join me, including Raj Panda, Linton Ward, Mark Johnson, and John Detrich.

It was in Austin that Joanne got to know Rosemary, wife of John Detrich. Rosemary had many of the same interests as Joanne and the two became best friends.

Rosemary Detrich Comments
When I moved down to Austin nearly 21 years ago, I met Joanne.  Our husbands worked for IBM. We went out to dinner together both when I came down here to house hunt and when we moved down.  During this time, Joanne and I became friendly. We started going out to lunch together and exploring places in Austin that our husbands either didn’t have the time to visit or weren’t inclined to – such as the French Legation and the Texas Book Festival. We were both mystery readers.  Over the years, we visited the Mystery Book Store that used to be on Lamar.  We attended writer’s panels at the early Texas Book Festivals.  One of my fondest memories is a session we attended that Bill Crider – a Texas writer – participated in. He was an interesting and engaging speaker. We started reading his books and continued to share them over the years.  Since we both read mysteries, we would suggest new and good writers to each other.  I recently finished an excellent book by a writer that was new to me.  I thought,  I’m interested to see what Joanne will think of him and then it made me sad to realize that no longer can we share this reading pleasure.

We came to share parts of our family dynamics with each other.Joanne always had a true, clear-eyed view of family relationships. But, was always kind in her dealings with her family. Years ago, when her mother, who lived here in Austin, decided she wanted to move to California to be near a sister, Joanne said to me, that she knew this probably wasn’t going to work out – for various reasons. However, she helped her mother pack up and made arrangements for her to move, then went with her to help her settle there.When, after a relatively short time out there, her mother decided it was a mistake. So, Joanne went back out to California and helped her return to Austin. While Joanne discussed this venture, she never fussed about the amount of work involved and was unfailingly kind to her mother. I valued her clear insightfulness on all kinds of issues. We talked about local politics and could skewer political types with vigor and humor. It was great fun over the years. She often could help me see a particular issue I might be dealing with greater clarity.

To put it simply, she was one of my closest and most valued friends. She is dearly missed.
Austin Water Aerobics
It was here as well that Joanne joined the water aerobics class at the 24-Hour Fitness club where she made quick friends with many of the participants. Dorothea and Richard, Ann, Anne, Betty, Carolyn, Joy, Kathy, Katie, Melody, Michele and Marilyn. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning Joanne left for the gym, returning around noon, usually with some grocery pickups. This became a ritual year after year, and I would listen for the garage door in order to meet the car and carry in the load.

Some of my best friends are doctors sounds like a cliche', but for us, how true it has been. In addition to old friend Bill Caldwell, with whom we spent many happy hours, we have been showered with friendship by Camille Hemlock and Mark and Margaret Clark. Camille came all the way back from New Zealand to be with Joanne during her final days. She and Margaret were with her during her most difficult moments and were there when she died. Mark and Bill came to visit her numerous times when she was in the hospital -- a real boost in morale for someone so sick -- it made her feel a little bit important, as though someone really cares.

In Austin, Joanne met cousins on my side of the family -- Beth, her husband Jim and children Jimmy and Lindsay, as well as Nell and her son William. We spent many happy hours visiting with them.

Austin led to new personal opportunities for Joanne to pursue her prowess in dealing with puzzles. She began concentrating on the most difficult crosswords she could find, tackling every single Harper's Puzzle (found at the very end of Harper's magazine). A winner is determined by random choice from all the correct puzzle submissions. After winning for the first time, there came win after win, finally amounting to four wins and what must surely be a record of some sort. Harper's finally established a rule that made a submitter ineligible for one year following a win.

It was in Austin that, for the first time, Joanne and I began to explore the west. Many trips by trailer, car, and airplane to points such as New Mexico and even further west. And some exciting things happened. On one particular trip by car, we were passing through southern Colorado and arrived at a Forest Service campground where we wanted to camp for the night, and immediately the host informed us that a large Black Bear was working the campground for goodies every night. Well, it was too late to even consider going anywhere else, so we pitched out trusty tent and went to bed. During the night, in the middle of a sound sleep, there was suddenly an earth-jarring blow to the entire structure. I immediately picked up two pots and banged them together loudly. In response, a few loud grunts were heard followed by a return of peace and quiet, but the next morning a 16 inch surgical tear in the tent fly was discovered. Our little dachshund Lindbergh, decided to show his indignity at the whole affair by raising his leg at that exact spot.

Our biggest trip of all was probably the Alaska trip in 1999. We left Austin in our Mooney airplane in high spirits, flying via Salt Lake City. We passed near Mt. St Helens in Washington State, scene of the violent eruption of some years ago. Continuing into the Alaska panhandle, we encountered incessant rainy weather, so instrument flight plans were the order of the day. After stops in Sitka and Yakutat, we continued on to Kodiak, the home of the largest of the Big Brown Bears (males go up to 1800 pounds).

In Anchorage, we rented a car and drove the Denali highway, where we had incredible views of Mt. McKinley, as well as wildlife galore, including a young reindeer trying to outrun the car. We continued on to the picturesque fishing town of Homer. Here, shops line the 5-mile long spit which extends out into Kachemak Bay. Returning to Anchorage, we had the opportunity to camp along the Russian River, one of the best fishing spots in Alaska.

Next, we flew to the old gold mining town of Nome, finishing point for the Iditarod sled dog race. On main street, the Nugget Inn provided signs to orient the traveler: Moscow 4400 miles, Dallas 4600 miles. Continuing west, we crossed 100 miles of the Bering Sea to land in Gambell, St. Lawrence, Alaska which is only 45 miles from the closest point of Russia.

On the trip from Gambell back to Anchorage, we saw Mt. McKinley clearly on the horizon. Then, we again made our way south through the Alaska panhandle and the old Russian capital of Sitka.

In later years, Joanne and I especially enjoyed visiting my sister Jessie Ozmelek and her husband Savas, first in Augusta, Georgia and later in Canton, as well as her son Raif and wife Kerry in Pittsburgh and daughter Aylin and husband Mike in Canton.

A few of the things people have said about Joanne
* I first met Joanne and Ben when I was attending Glassboro State College from 1972-1975. I had Joanne for many math classes and Ben for computer classes. They were sponsors of the Math Club and so much fun to be with with. I remember the famous spaghetti dinners in their townhouse and their beautiful dog. Dr Joanne Trimble was so smart! I was in awe of her. What a dynamic couple. Over the years, Ben and Joanne keep in touch with us thru their holiday letters. We enjoyed their visit to AZ and I had the pleasure of going to visit them in Austin. Jeff and I cannot thank Ben and Joanne enough for being so supportive to us when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. No one truly knows what you are going thru unless they have walked in your shoes, and they had. They were a godsend for us and very caring. We are deeply saddened by Joanne's passing. She was an amazing woman.

* She was a thoughtful person with sensitive insights into people and life. Often, after listening quietly to a conversation, Joanne would produce a perceptive observation that would summarize or arrive at the core of many minutes of previous discussion. She was an avid reader, deep thinker and a fount of information. I don't ever recall seeing her without a slight smile on her lips or a pleasant expression on her face.

* I remember the chocolate wedding cake, and the tossing of the bridal bouquet later at our house. It was coming into my hands but was intercepted by my older sister who pounced upon me to get it! They were a special couple and an inspiration to me that has positively influenced my life.

* So grateful our family moved to Austin 15 years ago so we could get to know my 2nd Cousin Ben and Joanne. We have shared many wonderful special holidays and occasions together, Christmas and birthdays. We also got to celebrate Ben and Joanne's 50th . I was so proud of them to celebrate such a significant milestone. I have such wonderful memories of Joanne. I always respected Joanne for her intelligence. You could always tell she was a great professor in Math. She was a devoted wife to Ben. She has been a great role model for me and my children. We will dearly miss Joanne.

* I knew Joanne in Water Aerobics class. She was one of my dearest and closest friends. She was always so sweet and friendly. I miss her every day and always will.

* I'm so sorry to hear about Joanne. We worked out next to each other in the pool at Water Aerobics. She was a wonderful lady.

* I am so sorry to receive such terrible news about Joanne -- you must be heartbroken. You two enjoyed one of the happier and longest marriages of my friends and associates. Well, Ben, what more can I say to you? , except I remember Joanne as a lovely woman. Your old friend, GT

* She was a wonderful person. I have such fond memories being in the field birding with the both of you.

* I was really fortunate to have had her for a friend during our college years and beyond. It was a pleasure and an honor to know you both.

* Joanne and I were classmates at Valparaiso. Both of us majored in math and were members of the same sorority, which included the majority of math majors in the class. The friendship of Ben and Joanne has been a treasure.

* What I can tell you is how much I love you and Joanne. Despite the many miles between us during my adult life, I felt you were a 'bonus' aunt and uncle. Loosing Joanne is like losing family.

* Whereas I voted, Joanne campaigned all across America and shared her travel experiences; whereas I was trying to add to my Birder's Life List, Joanne helped me gain insight through her birding expertise, and was always inspiring. She was also quick to laugh, had a good sense of humor, helpful, sweet and smiling.

* Joanne was lovely, dear, and always full of good cheer. I'll always remember her for her kindness and for the music of her sweet laugh.

* Joanne was my favorite mathematics professor at Glassboro State College.  Joanne and Ben (my favorite computer professor) were quite the dynamic duo.  It speaks volume when you still keep in touch with students you had back in the late 70's.

* When I moved to Texas 20 years ago, I met Joanne. Over the years we developed a close friendship. We alerted each other to new good mystery writers. We met for lunch regularly (sometimes with our husbands). I valued her clear thinking on all kinds of issues. Joanne was a true friend and already I miss her dearly.

* Joanne was one of my mathematics professors, a mentor, a colleague, and foremost a friend. When Joanne and Ben moved out of the Glassboro State College area in 1984, the Mathematics Department wasn't the same. Every year, I loved to read their Holiday Letter to learn of their travels and exploits. The world is much sadder without Joanne in it. I will miss her.

* I was reminded of a conversation I had with Joanne a long time ago about her love of puzzle solving. I had no idea it was a field of study until she explained the mathematics. Our lives are all richer for knowing and loving Joanne and her memory lives on in our hearts. Peace.

* I'll never forget the time Uncle Ben and Aunt Joanne landed their plane out in the fields of our farm, much to my delight. Or how they gave me my very first vegetarian cookbook for Christmas at age 11, even though everyone else thought it was just a phase. As children my sister and I thought they lived the most exciting and sophisticated life. We were charmed. Uncle Ben and Aunt Joanne have been inspiring me for years. I've thought of them often as I taught, traveled the world, and worked at an Internet company. Aunt Joanne was always so sweet and gentle, brilliant and fun. She will live on in all of our hearts.

*  Uncle Ben and Aunt Joanne have always been a huge inspiration in my life. You guys encouraged me to travel, see the world. Study. Work hard. Have fun. Laugh. These last few years have been extra special with you both. We love visiting you in Austin. Joanne always showered such warmth and will always make me smile when I remember all the great times. This has been a rough year, but our families hold the love and strength to prepare us all for one day another unknown adventure. Much love to you all.

* Christmases, Disney World, Cat Island, Abaco Island, Mt. Washington, Wheeler Peak, Pittsburgh museums, help with math in high school, playing trivial pursuit, Sweat Mountain, bird identification, Austin restaurants, Timberlake and the list goes on and on ....

* Joanne lived exactly the way she wanted - books, puzzles, traveling, her pets, and healthy living. And two were meant for each other, soul mates. Joanne will never be forgotten through our memories and fond feelings for her through the rest of time.

 * I have so many fond memories of being with Joanne and Ben. Starting over 35 years ago, up until they last visited my husband Al in the Autumn of 2012 when Joanne shared the most beautiful long stem red roses with us. Albert fondly remembered being in charge of the music at their wedding, and I remember how wonderful it was to have them both at our daughter's, Natalie's & Karina's weddings. Joanne was always a huge influence with the girls as they'd try to put puzzles together with the picture upside down like Aunt Joanne could do and of course the love of dogs, word games, great intellectual conversations and educational endeavors. Joanne even had me laughing during our last conversation. Remembering her sense of humor brings an automatic smile to my face. You will never be forgotten dear Joanne.

* I remember many good times together. Trip to Delancey St., many holidays, playing Pictionary, Easter Egg hunt in NJ, visit to Mt. Washington and Woodstock, much fun in Turkey, tubing in Rhinebeck, big party in Austin and much more. Your kindness and wit always shone through your quiet nature. You are always supportive of others yet undemanding for yourself. I wish you weren't leaving us, but know that who you are will remain fondly with all of us and we will often speak of you and remember all the good times.

* I will never forget the times we did spend together at our house and Timberlake. Playing bridge, talking, and looking at pictures. Our families always had a special bond which time and distance never severed.

* It was a special time when Ben came back to Decatur Ga to celebrate his 55th Decatur High School graduation and Joanne came with him. We gathered in various places with dear classmates and friends. One of my favorite memories now is our lunch with Clarke Rodgers, Carole Ann,and Ben and Joanne, Doug, and Gene joined us. It was quiet, we talked and talked until we felt the dogs would feel they were abandoned. I am thankful for this special time with this brilliant woman.

* What a legacy she has left to inspire us! Her razor-sharp mind that devoured both numbers and words. Thank you for all you have given us.

A slightly paraphased version of a poem posted online by Kerry Ozmelek
(Penny reads)
"I'll lend you, for a little while, a bird of mine," He said.
"For you to love while she lives, and mourn when she is dead.

It may be six or seven years, or maybe twenty-three,
But will you, till I call her back, take care of her for me?

She'll bring her charms to gladden you, and shall her stay be brief,
You'll have her lovely memories as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise she will stay, as all from Earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this bird to learn.

I've looked the whole world over in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you.

Now will you give her all your love - not think this labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call, to take her back again.

I fancied that I heard them say, 'Dear Lord, thy will be done.'
For all the joy this bird shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run.

We'll shower her with tenderness and love while we may,
And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.

And should the angels call for her much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand."

If, by your love, you've managed, my wishes to achieve,
In memory of her you've loved; be thankful; do not grieve.

Cherish every moment of your feathered charge.
She filled your home with songs of joy the time she was alive.
Let not her passing take from you those memories to enjoy.

"I will lend to you, a Bird", God said, and teach you all you have to do.
And when I call her back to heaven, you will know she loved you too.

~Author unknown
(Ben reads)
Over the years, Joanne always followed wherever I went without griping -- New York City, Philadelphia, New Jersey, back up to New York State, and finally to Texas. Ruth was her middle given name and, she was like the Biblical Ruth who said "for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people.... Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried...and ... ought but death part thee and me.

Joanne was kind and unassuming. During almost 51 years we rarely, if ever, argued or raised our voices at each other. She asked for very little. I wish I had praised her more.

A few weeks ago, when she lay dying, her last words to me were "Take good care of yourself". A few moments later she said "You'll have to learn to cook". Camille and Margaret who were in the room heard her say "Best husband in the world, ever".

Thanks, Hug!