Eulogy by Michael
My mother had many names in her life. Her Hebrew name was Rivka and formally she was Rebecca,
but everyone knew her as Becky, Betty,or “Mrs. B.” throughout her life. We added a few names as the years went by, including Grandma and Grandma “Skabetty,” but for me, she was always Mom.
Mom was one of seven children, part of a close-knit family that supported each other in a way that was extraordinary. As each child became old enough to contribute to the family, they went to work, often while still in school. Mom thought she could help the family best by going to business college to learn “keypunch” technology. She finished the course at the age of 18, having graduated early from high school, and was sent to Boeing to apply for a job. The only shift available was “graveyard,” and it was considered unsuitable for a young woman to take those hours. But, she convinced Boeing otherwise, and took the job. She did so well in her job, that Boeing sent her to “IBM” school to learn more skills.
Mom worked her way up the ladder, and by the end of World War II she was on the swing shift, then the day shift and head of her department.
Mom joined a young Jewish singles organization and that's where she met Dad. They courted, then
married, and Mom continued to work at Boeing until she became pregnant with my sister, Gae. But, she must have always wanted to work, because one day, she asked my Dad what sort of papers he was processing after a long day repairing televisions. When Dad showed her what he was working on, she said “I can do that,” and she did for the next 50 years. Thus began a true partnership of family and business.
Though Mom ran her household, and assisted my Dad with the business, she always made time for
something special in our lives. We called those times “adventure days.” One outing might take us to the waterfront where we saw Namu, the Killer Whale and another might include a day at the zoo to visit with Bobo and Fifi, the first gorillas in Seattle. We also went to the hydroplane races, especially when they were the only professional sport in town. As a family, we took up skiing and would go up to Snoqualmie Pass on Sundays after Hebrew School. To save time, Mom made sure we were wearing our ski clothes and boots so we could hop in the car and enjoy the rest of the day on the slopes. Mom didn't just spend her time in the lodge, she learned to ski with us. She may never have advanced beyond the bunny hill, but she made the effort to join us in a family sport. This is a cherished memory of mine.
Most people have enough on their plate working full time and raising a family, but somehow my
mother found time to do even more. When she was done with skiing, she took up golf with a passion, playing three times a week with her regular foursome. She also became captain of the Glendale Women's Golf Association and--this is very important —in 1978, she shot a hole in one. She wanted to make sure that you would believe it, so here's the proof. (Hold up trophy).
Mom was very proud of her heritage. Her freezer was always filled with Sephardic delicacies and she was thrilled when we invited her and Dad to join us on a cruise that would take us to Rhodes, the home of her father's family, as well as Dubrovnik, which was close to her mother's family's town. In Rhodes we visited the Jewish cemetery and found her relatives' graves over which we said Kaddish. In every port we visited, we sought out the sights of Jewish interest, including synagogues and former ghettos. I know this was a powerful time for her, sharing this history with our family and her grandson, Joshua.
We had the good fortune of including Leslie's parents, Lou and Shirley on that trip, which highlighted the special relationship our parents had with each other.
Mom grew up under challenging circumstances. There wasn't much money, but there was always
family. Mom lost her oldest brother when he was only 18, and she, just a few years younger. This broke her heart and filled her with sorrow all her life. She and her siblings supported each other and their mother in a way that is rare in this day and age. She always spoke fondly of family picnics and gatherings and told us many times of how proud she was of her heritage and her history. And though she remained close and devoted to her siblings and her mother, she built a strong new family and supported us in every way. I don't know how she managed this, but she never missed a little league game, one of Geoff's golf matches, or Gae's dance recitals. And even as we matured and became adults, she took great pride and interest in our accomplishments. We will miss her terribly.
Eulogy by Leslie
Becky exemplified the “liberated” woman, long before the term was coined. Though she was frail
toward the end of her life, she was a lioness to the core for much of it, balancing not only the needs of three generations of family but handling a practically full-time obligation as the bookkeeper and “behind the scenes” administrator for Harry's Electronic Service, which thrived for over 50 years. In fact, Becky was the epitome of an executive. She ran her household, handled countless financial aspects of the business, and even found time to play golf three times a week.
When I married Michael, I had no idea how truly blessed I was to have such an example in my life. Becky's loyalty to her family and her fierce devotion and love for her children was boundless. Her energy was amazing, for not only did she handle so much responsibility, but she found time to read numerous periodicals, two daily newspapers and countless murder mysteries and thrillers. I used to tell her that she chewed up those mysteries, because she could devour a book a day!
My fondest memories involve our family dinners. Initially Michael and I would come over, just the two of us, but it became a lot more fun when Josh arrived. Becky reveled in her first grandson and loved sharing time with him, preparing her special spaghetti, her oven-baked chicken, and her miracle birds—the turkeys that came out perfect every time, in under 2 hours. Actually, this was a miracle on two fronts, because not only was every bird a gem, but she'd put dinner on the table after 18 holes of golf! Dinner was simple, but always delicious, including what I called her “popcorn” rice, prepared the way her mother had taught her, as well as salad with the most delicious home-made lemon and oil dressing. It was lip-smacking.
Often, after dinner, Becky and Harry would bring out piles of paperwork to process. And we would help them, as well. Being a part of a family business added a unique perspective to our family dynamics and not only taught us useful skills, but added to the time we spent together.
Becky was remarkably humble, and such a wonderful mother-in-law, grandmother and friend. She
filled her life and stayed true to those who needed her. She was a great example of a human being and I will always treasure her memory.