Tribute to the Deceased Ladies

Dick Stephenson

 

I stand before you, the Class of 1957 55th Annual Reunion participants, to offer a brief tribute to the deceased Ladies/spouses of the then male-only members of the Class of 1957.  To address those spouses of the Class of 1957, as well as the some 160+/- here in this Chapel with us today, in remembrance and respect of those who are no longer with us here on earth, I must also reflect upon the recent passing of my wonderful wife, Dianne.

 

My Dianne and I had a superb, luck-filled, 58 years together...the last 55 of which years started in this very Cadet Chapel on 4 June, 1957 when we were married right here, at this alter, in this very comforting, memorable place.

 

Dianne passed away on 6 April, 2012, a very short time ago. (a cell phone loud-ring call from my daughter, Tracy Viana, from Stuttgart, Germany, came in, much too loud, and I thought that I had hurriedly hit the off-button then)., and a friend entered the diannestephenson family into the www.caringbridge.org  diannestephenson web site where families with life-threatening, extended, medical issues, can share, at no cost, the experiences with anyone/everyone inside the family/extended-family/other networks.  The outpouring of messages, cards, letters, and e-mails with sympathetic recitations and extended, most amusing and admirable, stories about Dianne's very widely recognized zest for living, loving, and life itself, to the fullest.  On the caringbridge.org  Dianne Stephenson web site noted earlier, we have had nearly 4,000 hits, including over 70 classmates, widows, and other friends. Up until very near the end, Dianne loved my reading the networking friends, family, and acquaintances anecdotal entries describing her inordinately keen sense of humor, and love of music, family, children, and grandchildren. She loved being a part of the West Point Class of 1957, as I am sure, is the case with all of the nearing 175 deceased spouses as well as all of the spouses here with us today.  Hopefully those already upstairs are amused by our reminiscences of their exploits in days and times long gone by.

 

(About here in this brief message I received yet another too loud cell phone ring, which led me to apologize to all hands once more, while blaming today's technology instead of those of us still trying to catch up on using it properly...as an aside, the in-coming calls were from my daughter, Tracy, in Germany, where she lives with a four grandchild-nest with two family nesters left and two in colleges elsewhere(WP with Will Viana now finishing plebe year and Robert Viana @ USF, in Tampa, Fl. and my son, Richard E. Stephenson II, from Naples, Fl.,where he resides with two (of the total six grand total from Tracy and Rich) grandchildren, RES III, at 4 1/2, and tiny Evangelina Grace at about 16 months.(his next 20 years at the age of over his present over-50 years will require some effort and 1/2, but he has it spot-on....so far!!! )

 

Dianne's sentiments were very clear as to how she was to be remembered. In a note to our daughter, Tracy, some several months ago; she wrote:

 

 "I was here. I had a good time.I had a wonderful marriage, children, grandchildren, and friends. That's all."

 

Dianne's obituaries were in the Weston Forum newspaper in Ct. page 12A, and the Washington Post, as well. 

 

Please join with me in a short moment of silence and our sincerest thanks in reverent memory of our deceased spouses who gave an even more wonderful life to those of us lucky enough to have been with them as lifelong partners with the West Point Class of 1957.....thank you God and all our ladies up there for looking over us. Amen.