At PSU, Program and Comments

A Celebration of the life of Betty Roberts was held July 28, 2011, 4:00-6:00 p.m. in the Smith Hall Ballroom, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.

This is the program of that Celebration, with links to the comments of each speaker and words of the poetry and songs included.  View the printed program.

Click on the speaker’s name to see their remarks, or the title of the poem or song to see the words.

During the actual event, while each speaker was making their comments, a collage of relevant photos of Betty was displayed on a large screen behind the speaker.  In each section below, there is included a link to the associated collage of photos.

The Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell
Minister Emerita, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR

Music Selection
“The Spirit of Life” (Carolyn McDade, Composer)

Tributes & Remembrances
Dr. Melody Rose, Vice Provost, Academic Programs & Instruction, PSU   (photos)
Pete Grundfossen, Former Teaching Colleague  (photos)
Steve Schell, Environmental Attorney; Organizer   (photos)
Gretchen Kafoury, Advocate, Politician, and Teacher   (photos)

“The Low Road” (Adapted from poem by Marge Piercy)
Lynn Nakamoto, Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals

Tributes & Remembrances
Mary Deits, Retired Chief Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals   (photos)
Sue Leeson, Mediator; Former Justice, Oregon Supreme Court   (photos)
Ann Aiken, Chief Judge, US District Court for Oregon   (photos)

Music Selection
For Good (Adapted, Stephen Schwartz, Composer)
(followed by a moment for quiet reflection)

Tributes & Remembrances
Robert Cantrell, Brother    (photos)
Erin Salisbury, Granddaughter    (photos)
Dian Odell, Daughter   (photos)

Darest Thou Now, O Soul” (Adapted from poem by Walt Whitman)
Bobbi Holland, Granddaughter

 Music Selection
I’ll Fly Away (Adapted, Albert E. Brumley, Composer)

The Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell


Music Selections
Signe Lusk, Pianist
Elizabeth Bacon, Vocalist
Eric Hundoft, Vocalist

Spirit of Life
Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me,
Come to me.

The following is the closing passage from Betty’s book* that ends with a poem by Patrick Overton:

What the future holds for us and our society remains a mystery, but we can influence the way it unfolds. With the hope of every new dawn, and with unfailing faith, we must step out of the places that have always held us and walk into the expanding horizon of our lives.

When we walk to the edge of all the light we have,
And take the step into the darkness of the unknown,
We must believe one of two things will happen —
There will be something solid for us to stand on or,
We will be taught how to fly.

 * With Grit and By Grace, Breaking Trails in Politics and Law – A Memoir (Published 2008, Oregon State University Press)

A special thank you to:
• The Oregon Women Lawyers for providing the flower arrangements and other assistance  (Yellow roses were a favorite of Betty’s.  In June, 2008 she was knighted into the fellowship of the Royal Rosarians with an honorable title of Dame Betty Roberts.  Her rose is “Sunspray”, a deep yellow tea fragranced miniature.
 The amazing staff of Portland State University for all their dedication and coordination of this event.

Contributions may be made in Betty’s honor to:
• Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation
     (Diane Rynerson, PO Box 82522, Portland, OR 97282)
Center for Women, Politics and Policy
    (Melody Rose, Political Science Division, Portland State University,   PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207)
Justice Betty Roberts Women and the Law Program
    (Libby Davis, Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College,  10015 SW Terwilliger Blvd, Portland, OR 97219)

Our sincerest appreciation for all the love, thoughtfulness, support, and comfort extended to us during this difficult time.

We will cherish always the memories of such an incredible woman. She touched so many people in so many positive ways.

Her legacy will live on.

– Betty’s Family