It's a sad day for Marshfield and the South Shore. A very sad day. Today as a community we begin official ceremonies for Betsy Hines, an extraordinary woman and friend to many.
No doubt many people claim Betsy as their first friend when they moved to the area; I know we did. We bought our home with the caring guidance of Betsy's real estate office. Her support didn't end at the closing. On the contrary, Betsy continued to shower us with recommendations and advice until her last weeks. She was perfectly suited for her profession, and she excelled because of her educational and professional background, her high intelligence, her passion, hard work, and her people skills. She genuinely cared. She was born for the work she did.
Our wedding date was set for the July after we moved here. It turned out to be a few weeks after her daughter Megan's beautiful wedding. Betsy encouraged me to crash Megan and Brian's ceremony and view the reception's set up the morning of the wedding. Who else would do that? The reception was at her home when most bridal families are pretty frantic. That was Betsy: sharing resources, helping people, and making connections.
Betsy was a natural connector. She enjoyed supporting local businesses and organizations, and she loved to help people find useful relationships. In recent days, so many people have referred to her as an exceptional teacher, mentor and friend. When we served on the Marshfield Chamber of Commerce board together, Betsy often added insight or suggestions overlooked by others in the room. She made her opinions known and we were better for it. That was just one of many volunteer positions she held – she gave much of her time and talents to her communities and professional associations. Our community is richer and stronger for all that she added.
Many of her accomplishments are listed in her obituary found here: Elizabeth "Betsy" Hines. What an obituary doesn't capture is the number of people deeply affected by her life and spirit. This last week, at every stop I made in town, I heard stories of Betsy and how much she meant to people. I received phone calls, messages, requests for prayers. If privacy weren't such a valid concern, I think we could have tied "bows for Betsy" on trees outside our homes in support of her medical battle – one she fought with great courage and fortitude. Our streets and neighborhood would have been plentifully adorned with colorful bows, as Betsy had helped a great many people buy or sell a high percentage of the homes in town.
In recent months it was an extra treat to see her. It signaled that her fortitude was winning a hard fought battle. If Betsy was in her office it meant that her dear Ed wasn't far behind. He rewrote the book on marriage vows while tending to so many of her needs without complaint, and with exemplary love and compassion. I've been lucky enough to rent office/studio space from Betsy and Ed, so I've seen them together quite a bit. He's been unconditionally devoted to her, and she truly lit up in his presence. It's been a joy to witness.
Ed was no doubt her number one. Yet, Betsy's smile also glowed while joyfully showing photos and telling stories of her children and grandchildren. It's an understatement to say that she was very proud of them. I feel as it I know them each – even grandchildren I haven't met in person. She was so proud of each one. As successful and savvy she was in business, you knew that family matters were tops in her books. The fruits of her efforts were great. She leaves behind a wonderful legacy of Mara, Megan, Missy and their families.
Betsy was wise enough to surround herself with talented staff and agents so that she could devote quality time to family and health when needed. She trained and mentored many wonderful people. Janice Walker has done yeoman's duty throughout Betsy's medical struggles. The continuity of smooth work is a testament to both of them.
Betsy's family members clearly appreciated their mom and grandmother, too. Her daughters' heartfelt Facebook tributes melted my heart. As Mara wrote, "no one loved life as much as she, and did not want to miss one single thing ever..." That was spot on! That's a characteristic missing from my factual notes above: Betsy zeal for life and living! She gave life all she had and sought all it had to offer. We should all continue to learn from her.
Missy added, "mum gave the biggest fight I ever witnessed in my life..." I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, I've seen too many cancer battles far too closely. Betsy showed us, once again, that a good life is worth fighting for. She made her life great, and she put up an ever greater fight.
Megan wrote that her "beautiful, sweet Mum has left our world but not our hearts." To that I only add that our hearts go out to you for your profound loss. Rest assured, friends and neighbors feel a deep loss as well. Betsy won't be forgotten. She made her mark in the world. What a beautiful mark it is!
Love to you all. Much love and gratitude to Betsy for all she did and taught us. She's earned her eternal peace and fun. She'll make it fun.
To Betsy's many friends on the South Shore I suggest you bundle up. There will be a very long line of grateful visitors at the MacDonald Funeral Home today. For good reason, too. Betsy, you've earned our respect and love. We miss you already.