By Rev. Carol Bodeau
The last few weeks has brought great loss to our community at Westside. Two of our foundational members, Mary Donovan and Bill Calhoun, died last month. Mary passed on January 22nd, and Bill on January 26th. These passings leave a great empty space in our congregation, and Bill and Mary will be missed terribly.
Bill, with his wife Lois, was an original founder of this congregation. Through the years, he and Lois served the community in innumerable ways: helping to build the physical building we inhabit; serving in formal leadership roles—Bill was most recently prominent in lay pastoral care—and in a thousand informal acts of service. Westside would not exist were it not for the initiative, determination, and loyalty that Bill and Lois have demonstrated over more than 30 years.
Mary Donovan was also an essential member of this community, joining just after the initial founding, during the ‘storefront’ years. Mary led choirs, played piano, and worked on worship planning for many years. With her partner, Merry Levering, Mary too worked in innumerable roles—both formal and informal—in her years at Westside. The sanctuary will always echo with the music Mary made here.
At Bill’s memorial, I quoted one of his favorite authors, UU minister Robert Fulghum (of Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten fame):
“Every person passing through this life will unknowingly leave something and take something away. Most of this “something” cannot be seen or heard or numbered or scientifically detected or counted. It’s what we leave in the minds of other people and what they leave in ours. Memory. The census doesn’t count it. Nothing counts without it.”
Mary and Bill leave behind incredible memories, in our thoughts and in our hearts. Though their legacies surely are built of the roles they played at Westside--the acts of service and commitment they performed--their greater legacy is the legacy of their spirits. Our memories are filled not so much with tasks completed, but with the way they completed those tasks. With the smiles, the sense of humor, the determination, the fortitude. They were amazing people, and they leave us with amazing, inspirational memories. They will never be forgotten.
In gratitude and grief, Rev. Carol