Eulogy of Bettie Strang by Carter Strang (David's older brother) :
On behalf of the Strang family I want to thank all of you for your love and support
during this difficult time and throughout my mother's life.
You all have become--in a way--a part of our family.
We simply have branches of it in the communities in which we lived.
Football gypsies that we were, we entered your communities as strangers.
How quickly that changed.
How difficult it was to then leave.
But, we never really left. While physically removed, we maintained our ties to each community.
The ties were preserved through the friendships that endured.
Our identities were so closely tied to each community that
moving on entirely was simply impossible.
That is why--even after moving to Kent--
we still felt that we were Ashland Eagles, Caldwell Redmen
, Upper Rams, Shaw Cardinals, and Massillon Tigers.
It is, however, telling that my parents chose Kent as the city
in which to live out the rest of their lives. It is great community.
You all made them feel very welcome.
My parents were very touched by how you stuck with them during
the tough times in their lives.
David and I thank you for doing so.
We would be remiss in not thanking this church community for taking mom in after dad's death.
She was a lost soul and found a home here.
She loved the services, the University of Life program and Minglers Club, to mention a few.
You gave her so much and asked so little in return.
It is entirely appropriate that today we not only remember
mom's life but also dad's as well.
His life and mom's were interwoven since that fatefull day
they met at the USO Stagedoor Canteen in San Francisco, California during WWII.
He, a young man from Ashland, Ohio now called to serve his country in the Pacific,
and her, a beautiful young woman attending the University of California at Berkley.
I have seen photos of mom from that time period. She was stunning.
Clearly, dad was never going to let her get away.
David and I are glad he didn't.
Since dad's death in 1996, his life has been memorialize
with a mural in Massillon that includes his portrait.
And, at KSU, there is a football award given annually in his memory.
His was a life well lived.
He was --because of the depression and WWII--
forced to be come a man and face the
harsh realities of life at a very young age.
It made him tough and resilient.
It made him focus on the present and live life to the fullest.
He always said his goal was to leave this world
a better place than when he entered it.
We all know that he did so.
My mother's long recent health problems--and our knowledge of her impending death--
hard as it has been, has indeed given all of us time to reflect on her life.
She is someone that does not need to be, and should not be,
enlarged in death beyond what she was in life.
We all have our own memories of her,
and we cannot ever do justice to all she was during this service.
But we can and shall talk about what a
profoundly caring, loving and giving person she was.
Inquisitive and resourceful, she possessed a rock-hard resolve
once she had made up her mind about something.
She was also one of the most optimistic people I have ever met.
My mother's eternal sense of optimism was a perfect match
for my father's need for new challenges.
As we made our family trek through the Buckeye State in my father's march up the coaching ladder,
my mother was the one that provided the love and reassurance that --as children--we needed
to believe that what is around the corner may be as good if
not better than what we left.
And, she was right.
Each move was heart reaching but each opened
up new opportunities for dad and all of us.
That optimism was present even as her health declined
and her ability to paint, read and do many
other things she loved was limited or ended all together.
When others might have complained, she did not.
When other would have seen the glass have empty, she saw it full.
David and I realize how lucky we are to have had such great parents.
They were different in many ways.
However, they complemented each other quite well.
Each provided the missing parts the other did not have.
Dad realized perfectly well the central role mom played in his success.
He simply could not have done it with our her love and support.
As noted, Dad's many accomplishments have been formally memorialized.
Mom's, being less quantifiable, are not
However, if quantifiable, she would certainly be in the
"Motherhood Hall of Fame" for the love and support she gave to her family.
Both parents were, then, similar in that the focus of
much of their lives was on serving youth.
Dad did so through coaching, and mom through her children and grandchildren.
It is , then, entirely appropriate that mom's death, as with dad's,
be cause for a renewed commitment to serve youth through
the "Bettie Strang Kent State University Honors College Scholarship for Excellence in the Arts".
It will be an annual monetary award given to a deserving student honors college art student.
I know she would--as someone who never put herself first
--be absolutely ecstatic about such an award.
The award is also fitting given mom's tie to the Honors College,
where she worked in the late '60 s and early '70s.
She loved working there and interacting with the
faculty, students and administrators.
But she gave that job up the day my dad had his heart attack.
She became his devoted full-time caregiver.
She nursed him back to health.
She never complained about what she has given up.
As with dad, it was what mom did that left an impression,
not so much what she said.
The message from this act of devotion to my dad was clear: family is first.
Mom always talked about returning to finish her degree.
I think she may have but for dad's heart attack.
What everyone in the family knows is that she already earned
her degree though it bore others names.
First and foremost, dad's Bachelors of Science degree
from Ashland College was in very large part mom's doing.
She wrote his papers, and it was not a well hidden secret.
In fact, one professor wrote on dad's term paper,
"Nice job Bettie".
She also deserves a lot of the credit for the five
college degrees that David and I obtained.
Last fall, she attended her 60th HS reunion in SF.
She went on her own, which concerned me due to some
memory and motor function problems she was experiencing.
But, she was resolute on going and doing it on her own.
Two days before she is was to return,
she called to tell me about the great time she was having.
And "Oh," she said, I also had a "little accident".
I will tell you more when I return.
When I arrived at the airport to pick her up,
I saw someone coming around the corner sitting in a wheelchair
covered from chin to forehead with bandages-
-very much looking like a living mummy.
It was mom.
Seems her "little accident" was a fall that she had
shortly after her arrival in California,
which resulted in some 60 stitches and several days of hospitalization..
She had not told me how bad it really was because she
had not wanted me to worry.
She then proceed to again tell me what a great time she had.
That is a positive outlook on life. That was mom.
Mom was also very creative.
That creativity was expressed in her art work, crafts, decorating, and in many other ways..
Just one example of this creativity was
her "from scratch" Halloween costumes she made for my boys.
She promised them she would make any costume they wanted.
And she did.
Though, one year Kevin put her to the test.
He decided he wanted to be a cupcake.
Now it takes creativity to make a cupcake costume.
I can say that he was the only walking,
talking cupcake at Halloween that year.
Of course, there is no grandmother more proud of
her grandchildren than she was of hers,
and she was perfectly willing to tell you so and why.
There is much to be proud of because all three are remarkable young men.
Sometimes she may have been a little fast
and loose with the facts, or maybe she was just prophetic.
We will see.
However, I will try to set the record straight.
Kevin, the youngest, is not lead Bass with the Cleveland Orchestra.,
though he is Principal Bass with the Shaker HS Orchestra. and a National Merit Commended Scholar.
Carson, the middle son, is not playing in the NHL but is in
the NAHL (North American Hockey League) and one of the league's leading scorers,
and he is completing his second year. of college.
Steven, the oldest son--who was born on mom's birthday in 1981,
which that yr. also fell on Mother's Day--
is not on the Supreme Court, though he was selected to the National
Collegiate Scholars Society and is considering--among other options--
a career in law after graduation from Miami University in just a few weeks.
I see something of mom and dad in all three of them.
All share mom's love of learning and dad's love of athletics.
They brought mom and dad a lot of joy and happiness.
I am very proud of them.
When mom had her crippling stroke in mid May, she was not expected to live past the weekend.
But, she did.
The doctors were dumbfounded.
They could not explain what was keeping her alive.
She simply was not ready to leave us.
Like our summer weather that inexplicably continued deep into November,
mom's life continued on long past when it was expected to end.
But end it did, as we knew it must.
Mom's winter and ours had finally arrived.
Though we all will miss her dearly,
our family is comforted by the fact that so many of you loved her,
and are here today to share that love and your memories of
her with us in our hour of sorrow. Thank you.