Today was a glorious day so all the more difficult to deal with a great sadness. The Phactor met Betty nearly 44 years ago when but a callow youth. She was a singularly strong willed woman even then and only got more so as the years passed, but yet she was not without heart or compassion. However she suffered no fools, so carefully did the Phactor tread in courting and wedding her eldest daughter. Her passing came quickly, and somewhat unexpectedly, a blessing of sorts because she greatly feared being an invalid. Betty was the matriarch of the immediate family no matter what her husband thought. It seems clear from this perspective that her eldest daughter will take over her Mother’s leadership role, but not with such a heavy hand as now the family is but her siblings. Considering what an outsider the Phactor was, a non-Irish, non-Catholic, academic geek, and all, she almost always treated me well, ordering me around quite nicely in the early days, but eventually actually acknowledging my value even if another son-in-law was always her favorite (that suck up). Her daughter, my wife, evolved a life style very much different from her Mother’s because she was a pretty strong-willed woman herself, but for all of that Betty never acted as though it should be any other way, even accepting our cats. Just as she would have no one dictate to her, she herself would not dictate, except maybe a little now and then. Betty will be very much missed by all of us, and things seem a bit grayer today, as if an entire color has been removed from the palette of our family.