Saturday, April 21, 2012

Behold Betty Fry

Behold the amazing woman whose celebration of life I had the honor of attending at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Hillcrest this morning, Mrs. Betty Fry. The church was filled with her family and friends. The celebration was led by Reverend Kathleen Owens herself, who I've heard deliver talks a few Sundays at the church. This was the first time I saw her choke up. But a tremendous joy outweighed the sadness, as Betty's vibrant life came alive for us in words, song, memories .. and in the faces of her offspring. Betty's grandson, popular and talented San Diego musician and singer Nathan Fry, performed two memorable, rousing songs for his grandmother, accompanied by his long-time artistic partner Janet Hammer and two other singers.

I only met Betty a couple of times, briefly, in the months and years after I returned from my 2007 trip to Cuba. Her name always came up as the matriarch of compassion and activism behind San Diegans' efforts to right decades of wrong in official U.S. relations toward Cuba. I admired her greatly. She exemplified a kind of pure goodness, and I believe the world would be so much better off with more Betty Frys in it. She passed away at the victorious age of 93 -- about the same age my grandmother passed away at a few years ago. Perhaps that's why I found myself more emotional during this morning's service than I had expected to be.

Two great losses for revolutionary community