Elizabeth Diane “Betty” Tubridy

My beautiful mother passed away on October 10, 2019. She had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks with pneumonia and tragically she was too weak to fight it. We did get her home with the whole family including Dave’s sons Adam and Carl before she passed in peace. She was 91 years old.

Mom was born in rural Pennsylvania- it says Dunbar Township on her birth certificate – on April 7, 1928. She was the second youngest of 12 children born to Mary and John Kovac. Her parents immigrated some years earlier from somewhere in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. This region encompassed Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and the western part of Ukraine. My nephew Adam found this entry on Rusyn Americans that might help explain where they came from – we never knew exactly. Her mother died in childbirth when Mom was an infant and she never knew her father.

Kovac Family ~ Mid 1930s
Kovac Family~ Mid-1930s
Mom as a child with friends ~ 1937
Mom as a child with friends ~ 1937
Betty Summer 1938
Betty Summer 1938

The story I heard recently was that when the Mother died the Father took off leaving the older children to fend for the younger. They were nearly separated but somehow the older sisters kept the family together. Mom lived with her older sister Mary when she got older helping her take care of her 2 nieces Edwina and Sandra and nephew Pete. We were very close to Mary, her husband (Uncle) Ed and our three cousins growing up. Apparently she moved for a while in her high school years to be at a better school but after graduation came back to live with Mary and Ed again. Mom worked in the different mining towns Uncle Ed worked at. I know she worked for a while at a general store in one of the towns and handled all the mail.

She had one serious boy friend during this period that I know of – a sailor named Murphy. I asked her once why she did not marry Murphy and she told me that she didn’t think he could provide for her in the manner she was looking for. Lucky me I guess! Mom was a quite a catch in my estimation!

Mom met Dad when Dad’s father – a mining engineer working for my uncle Ed – was invited with my father to watch a World Series broadcast on Uncle Ed’s new-fangled TV! I believe Dad was working for Goodyear in Ohio after separating from the Air Force. He would come home to visit his parents during that time. They were married in Grant Town on July 31, 1954.

After Mom and Dad were married she moved for a brief period of time to Dayton, Ohio where my Dad was working for Goodyear Aerospace on the early aspects of the space program. Shortly after they moved to Alamogordo New Mexico where I was born.

Dad switched jobs and started working on the Atlas rocket program with General Dynamics. They moved to San Diego for a short period of time where Rick was born before moving to Cocoa Beach in early 1957. Our family was part of the first wave of engineers and scientists to support the fledglings space program.

Mom took an interest early on in gardening. She was a member of the Garden Club – I remember going to the shows where she displayed her arrangements.

Mom was a member of the Garden Club when we were very young
Mom was a member of the Garden Club when we were very young. Newspaper clipping of her with our next door neighbor Emily Young.

She loved being outside working hard in the Florida heat to tend her gardens around our house. She was a Cub Scout leader when we were younger. She enjoyed sailing with the family. However, when Dad learned to fly she was less enthusiastic about that! She was the best Mom you could hope for – always encouraging us to do new and different things and always being there when you needed her.

Sailing 1975
Sailing July 1975

When we were growing up we would vacation most summers in Virginia with my Grandparents and in West Virginia with Aunt Mary and Uncle Ed. They had a farm in the mountains that we enjoyed visiting and meeting many of Mom’s many relatives. My Mom’s family now has hundreds of second and third cousins!

My birthday at Shaw's farm in West Virginia 1968
My birthday at Shaw’s farm in West Virginia 1968

Mom grew up in Hollywood’s Golden era and I believe she dreamed of being a movie star. He favorite movie stars were Barbara Stanwick and Tyrone Powers. She was fascinated with stardom and was an avid fan of celebrity talk shows in the 60s and 70s.

They moved for a short period of time to the Los Angeles area in 1975 – the same time I went to college in nearby San Luis Obispo. Brother Dave was still in high school and was with them. I enjoyed going home on breaks and visiting them there. After they moved back they lived for more than a decade in a waterfront house near the golf course. When Dad retired in the early 1990s they moved back to the original family house which they had been renting.

Mom outside their home in Country Club in Cocoa Beach in the 1980s
Mom outside their home in Country Club in Cocoa Beach in the 1980s

After we left the house Mom and Dad started traveling. They made several trips to the Pacific Northwest when I lived there in the 1980s. They made a number of trips to Europe in the 1980s and 1990s and visited me twice when I lived in Germany in the late 1980s. During their second trip they traveled to Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit a Catholic site. They also traveled closer to home visiting the Canadian Maritimes on the East Coast and and a cruise to Alaska.

Slideshow of Mom & Dad’s Travels

In the late 80s and throughout the 90s Mom celebrated the birth of two grandsons Adam and Carl and Rick’s marriage to Myhra in 1997. We did a lot of things together as a family.

Mom’s extended family is very large. All but the two older sisters married and had at least 3 children if not more. Her sister Barbara passed when her children were young and the oldest sister Ann took care of her two children. Her older brother Michael also had a very large family. She kept up with them over the years and the house was full of pictures of relatives I had never met.

Irene, Ann, Betty, Julia, Katherine and Mary - 1994
Irene, Ann, Betty, Julia, Katherine and Mary – 1994

Mom was raised in the Catholic Church but stopped going when we were very young. She starting attending the church again in the mid-1980s. After she started back it became the center of her life until her death. She spent a lot of time with her church friends and was very active in dozens of church activities.

Dad passed in 2002 and Mom lived, with brother Rick’s help, in Cocoa Beach until 2014. In 2004 her house was severely damaged in a hurricane. Rick worked to rebuild as she spent time up north with her relatives. She spent all of her free time at Church or with various church friends. A woman named Claire Nicholson who was also very active in the church became very good friends with Mom.

In 2014 Mom suffered a serious fall and we decided it was best for her to move to Panama City where brother Dave could help her care for herself. She resisted the idea of a assisted living facility and successfully stayed in her house there until her passing. The past couple of years she had several women that helped her including Beth with whom she became very close to. I moved back to Cocoa Beach around the same time and visited Mom 2 or 3 times a year while she was there. I am grateful for those last years we had together.

In August my youngest nephew Carl got married in Ormond Beach Florida and Mom was able to attend. She looked beautiful and was able to attend the ceremony and reception. It turned out to be the last time the whole family was together – including Carl’s wife Kari’s family too! We were very, very grateful for that – a true gift.

Kari & Carl’s Wedding – August 31, 2019

Her funeral mass was attended by dozens of her church friends and the family including cousin Sandra. Her long time friend Clare was there and with the Franciscans said a special prayer for her. Her favorite choir director Phil played beautiful music during the service. It was a special moment for all. She rests in peace at Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Palm Bay Florida – just several miles south of Cocoa Beach.

Rest In Peace Mom – we love you!

Rest in peace Mom – thanks you for giving me life with Dad – thank you for always caring and the gifts you gave me. I will always love you and keep you in my thoughts along with Dad. You and Dad were the best part of me – I miss you both.

Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017

Jake & I spent Christmas week with Mom and brother Dave & Fam in Panama City Beach. I got Mom a cedar glider for Christmas. Jake got to play with Bonnie and met Elly Mae for the first time.

Mom, Eddie & Jake

Christmas 2017 Panama City

Carl was able to make it home. He’s just a great young man & I am so proud of both him and his brother Adam. They both live in Seattle – Adam works as a analyst with HUD and Carl is an Engineer working on large machines that build composite aircraft parts.

Christmas in Panama City

Lisa cooked a great Christmas dinner (as always) and everyone enjoyed!

Christmas 2017

First Half 2017

Some pictures from the first part of 2017.

Highlights

New drums! Jake loves the Kayak! Renovation phase one complete for Valhalla! And the best fucking sunrises and sunsets on the face of the planet!

Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016

Panama City Florida

Jake Fall 2016

He’s a fine young fellow! A handsome young lad!

Songsten’s Loyal Companion Samwise

Samwise – my best friend

Songsten's Loyal Companion Samwise
Songsten’s Loyal Companion Samwise

January 11, 2004 – February 4, 2016

Sammy was a Dokhi Apso – commonly called Tibetan Terrier or Tsang Apso – who was the love of my life and my best friend. He came into this life in Fort Meyers Florida. Both his parents were champions of their breed and he showed every bit of his lineage. A ancient breed – they are known to be their own dog.

OK - what's next!
OK – what’s next!

On his first car ride on the way back to the airport we started to bond which would set the pattern for one of his favorite things to do – ride in the car!

Cape San Blass
Cape San Blas

Sammy often spent his vacations on the beach. One of the things he loved to do was find anything stinky to roll in. He wasn’t as fond of being hot so he regularly got haircuts to stay cool and comfy in the heat.

More food!
More food!

The breeder told me before I even picked him up that he was a ‘talker.’ Some Dokhi Apsos apparently were known to be very vocal and this was certainly true for Sammy – especially later in life.

Lounging with his bone
Lounging with his bone

Sammy just loved the bed and his bones. His core competency was sleeping and he did it every chance he got. He loved his bones – both to guard them from the other dogs and even chew them every once and a while.

What is this thing!
What is this thing!

He was a curious dog – always exploring the world around him. He wasn’t like other dogs as much as he wasn’t one to sit in your lap and lick your face – he was his own dog.

Contemplating the nature of the universe
Contemplating the nature of the universe

I was convinced from a very early age that he was a reincarnated buddhist monk from his homeland of Tibet. He would spend hours contemplating the nature of the universe and no one ever quite knew what he was thinking. His was an ancient breed and they primarily were temple dogs who spent their days with the monks.

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

While he did like to do some of the things that ‘normal’ dogs did he never had a keen interest in playing with toys, fetching the ball, etc. I always thought he never really saw the point in it but did it because the other dogs did.

Where's something to roll in!
Where’s something to roll in!

Generally he was very well behaved and never really got in much trouble or mischief. But he had many sides to him and always took advantage of the situation he was in. He truly lived for the moment.

Handsome boy!
Handsome boy!

He was such a handsome boy! People would often remark what a beautiful dog he was. As he got older they couldn’t believe he wasn’t younger. He was truly a specimen and represented the best of his breed being from a champion mother and father. The breeder told me that I should breed him – he was champion material.

Sammy just loved to watch George!
Sammy just loved to watch George!

He always brought joy to my heart – he could be a clown in his own little world. Never jealous or resentful because he got less attention sometimes because of the other dogs. He was very territorial though and disliked mean or overly agressive dogs. He always would take a stand.

Sammy at Indian Pass
Sammy at Indian Pass

But more than anything – he was everybody’s best friend. He would always greet everybody like they were special but never demanded much more than a butt-scratch. He would always walk between my legs and raise his rear feet when he got a good scratch! He didn’t demand much more but always loved to be with his peeps.

Sack time!
Sack time!

He never demanded much from me – other than riding in the car! He loved to take walks and while he liked the beach well enough he was never as fond of it as my other dogs. Like most dogs – he mostly liked to sniff and hopefully find a tasty treat (the grosser the better) or something to roll in. Boy did he like to roll in shit – the stinkier the better!

Take me for a ride!
Take me for a ride!

And did I mention how much he loved to ride in the car. Sure – most dogs do but for Sammy it became his obsession later in life. He loved both sniffing the air with his head out the window or lying next to me while I scratched him all over as we took our trips. He loved his scratches but was never demanding.

Eleventh birthday
Eleventh birthday

He was on this earth a wonderful 12 years and enjoyed ever moment being here. He always made me aspire to be the person he thought I was. He was always my dog from the beginning though and he ended up being the love of my life. Well – he never was really my dog – he was his own dog but I got the honor of sharing this lifetime with him. I treasure the moments we had together.

My best friend!
My best friend!

Sammy enjoyed every moment of his life. He lived in the moment and never had a mean bone in his body. Everybody that knew Sammy loved Sammy. He taught me so much I was always be grateful and humbled for my time with him. It was truly an honor to be part of his life here. I know that he will live on in my memories and somewhere out there he is on his next journey of wonder. I miss you terribly my friend – you really touched my soul.

The Rainbow Bridge

Riding the wind!
Riding the wind!

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

Samwise January 11, 2004 – February 4, 2016
Samwise January 11, 2004 – February 4, 2016

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Mom’s new digs

Sammy and I spent the last three weeks in Panama City visiting with my Mom, Brother Dave and Sister-in-Law Lisa. Mom celebrated her 87th birthday on April 7th and is still going strong! I am blessed that I work out of the house now and can spend this time with her. She just moved into a new house near my brother Dave. I helped him out with some construction, painting, furniture repair and helping her hang pictures in the house. I was able to go with her to Church and celebrate the Easter season which I enjoyed very much. I am looking forward to spending two or three weeks every couple of months up there with her.