May 28, 2009
Some comments about the passing of
Dr. Bob's Daughter-in-Law, Betty
I first met Bob and Betty (Dr. Bob's son and daughter-in-law) when Bob came to speak at A Day in Marin, which was a spiritual roots program put on by our Steps to the Solution Group in Mill Valley, California. More than 600 turned out to hear of A.A.'s spiritual beginnings. Mel B. of Toledo, Willard Hunter of the Oxford Group, and Bob were there to provide what Bob later called one of the most uplifting events he had ever spoken at. Betty frequently seconded that motion.
Betty was gracious, humorous, and serious. Once she became acquainted with my quest for information on early A.A., she gave me every support I could ask for. So did Bob. Each time I would call by phone, both of them would get on the line and pour out love, friendship, and information. The same was true of their correspondence with me--almost always as a team.
It was Betty who dug out the letters people wrote to Bill Wilson when Anne Smith died, and I was able to incorporate them in Anne Smith's Journal. Betty and Bob both worked up the list of Dr. Bob's books which many of us had thought were gone. This list, along with the one provided by Dr. Bob's daughter Sue, formed the basis for Dr. Bob's Library--my very first title.
When I visited Bob and Betty in Texas, Bob had just sustained some injuries and was in the hospital. But Bob knew I had come to ask questions about Dr. Bob and Anne, and he insisted I proceed. It was Betty who, though concerned about Bob's health, worked tirelessly with me to show me the records of early A.A. they had, to dig out more of Dr. Bob's books, to support further research, and to tell me about Dr. Bob's grandchildren. And what a family they were! Love, love, love! I was delighted to see these people in their home. And Betty was always interested in more about the Christian background of early A.A. My last meeting with Betty and Bob was at the International Convention in San Diego. We had lunch, amidst their busy schedule. Again, it was Betty who took me aside to discuss further the historical work I was doing.
Here was a tireless companion of Dr. Bob's son. Here was a lady who grasped the significance of her role as a resource. Here was a lady who thoroughly appreciated what A.A. has done for millions. Here was a lady who never held back when it came to telling what she knew about Dr. Bob and his wonderful wife Anne. I shall miss her as a friend, as an enthusiastic supporter, and as one of our fast disappearing links to A.A.'s earliest and most important developmental days at the home of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith in Akron, Ohio.
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