The first time I met Betty Apperson, I was bald. Completely bald.
I had been in a play with Joy, and had shaved my head for my role. When I met Betty, I was a little intimidated, and a little bit embarrased. Nonetheless, she welcomed me into her home and made me feel like one of the family, ridiculous shaved head and all. This welcoming nature was a trait which ran through her entire family, and one for which I am especially grateful.
As the years went by, my respect and admiration for Betty grew. Countless times through the years, even at my worst moments, she was able to make me feel good about myself and the world around me. I felt I could come and talk to her anytime, and on nearly any subject. It meant a lot to me, at a critical point in my then-young life. I considered her to be like a "second mother" to me. I even gave a Mother's Day card to her one year; it was a silly, sentimental gesture, but it was from the heart.
After I moved away from Aiken, I lost touch with Betty, but Joy would keep me up to date now and again with the goings-on in her family. I'd tell her about my mom, and she'd talk to me about hers. I had hoped that one day I could meet with her again, and introduce her to my wife and son. But it wasn't to be.
Through it all, Betty Apperson was a friend and a beacon of faith thorugh works, not only to me, but to so many here and elsewhere. I wish I had been able to properly express my gratitude to Betty and her family for making me feel welcome, in their home and in the community of Aiken. I wish I could be there today to pay my respects, and to say "thank you" one last time. This will have to suffice.
Courtney, Lori, Joy: I mourn with you today the departure of your wife and mother. But please know that she lives on today and evermore, in the lives and souls of those who she touched with her kindness, her generosity, and her spirit. Thank you, Betty, for sharing your gifts with those around you. May we meet again.