“I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand.”
That’s what was playing as I sat out on the balcony, my sister Doreen’s memorial reception starting up around me. “Doreen, here’s to you,” I said to her memory, then raised my glass and drank.
I knew her as my big sister, my mentor, my friend. Other people knew her in their own way. Their tributes revealed several different facets of her personality.
I think my question, “What do you hold sacred?” And her answer, “Truth,” gave the true colour of her character. She told me she loved data, I guess because it revealed another little piece of the Truth. She was always searching for more and more of this. If the data didn’t support something, neither could she.
Some of her former grad students called her “Dragon Lady.” She was fierce when fighting for Truth in science. Someone said she did not suffer fools gladly. If you were her grad student, you had a moral obligation to serve Truth, and to do that she expected rigorous research, clear writing, and fearless defense of what the data revealed. And they loved her. When she committed to them she stood by and supported them, through good times and bad.