Memorial for Betsy Truffini
(A speech delivered by Supervisor Dave Rosenberg on January 4, 2003, at the Memorial Service for Betsy Truffini)
Over the past few days, as I reflected on the life of Betsy Truffini and gathered my thoughts for what I wanted to say today, I realized that over the decades that Betsy and I had known each other and worked together, there is one thing - just one thing - that I never said to her.
Now, many of you know that I served on the Davis City Council for 12 years, including two terms as Mayor of Davis. Over those years, Betsy Truffini and I had many meetings and many discussions about her beloved Seniors and the Davis Senior Center. Over all those years, and in all those discussions, there was one word I never said. And that word? That word was "no".
On reflection, that was a good thing. It would have been a useless and idle word. Betsy didn't like to waste time, and she certainly didn't like to engage in idle chatter. More importantly, saying "no" to Betsy Truffini would have been like standing in front of a city office at 5 p.m. I would have been run over.
I guess, in theory, you could say "no" to Betsy. But why bother? Eventually, you were going to say "yes, Betsy." So why expend the time and energy? Just cut right to the chase. Don't waste time. Perhaps that's why Betsy and I got along so well over all those years.
In fact, our conversations were really quite straight-forward. Betsy would simply call me or make an appointment to see me. She would always be on time, impeccably groomed and coifed, with that perfect wide smile and cheery demeanor. "Hello, dear" she would say, "how are you today," and really mean it.
And eventually, usually quite soon, Betsy would get around to the business at hand. It was always about her Seniors, or her Senior Center, or her Travelaires. And she would state what it is she needed or wanted. Mind you, it was never really a question. It was always a statement of fact. And I, of course, as the Mayor of Davis, would always respond, on each and every occasion, in precisely the same manner.
And with Betsy it was always business. The business of the Seniors of Davis. Her Seniors. Never once did she bring to my attention or trouble me with a personal matter. Oh sure, she would always find a good reason to mention her beloved husband, Joe Truffini, ("My Joe" she would always say). But that was right and proper because when Joe was alive, oh what a team they made. And even in her last years, when the physical pain made it tough, I never heard her complain about the cards life had dealt her. She just played the hand she had. And often as not, she won.
No, her discussions with me were all business. She was the champion of Senior issues, be they housing, recreation, or services. Betsy was one of the founders of the Travelaires, and she didn't often miss a trip of that traveling group of Seniors. You may remember her column in the Davis Enterprise, "Senior Smiles", that was always upbeat and vibrant, and featured that wonderful photo of Betsy with the ever-present flower in her hair. She was the voice of the Senior Center. In fact, she was a driving force for the Senior Center, and for its expansion. If you go to the Senior Center today, you won't find a wall there that doesn't have the name "Betsy Truffini" inscribed on it. We would not have a Senior Center in Davis if it were not for Betsy Truffini and a handful of others who pushed, pulled and prodded to make it happen. Twenty-three years ago, in 1980, the community of Davis recognized Betsy Truffini's many accomplishments by giving her the highest honor this town can bestow: Citizen of the Year.
So, on this day when we celebrate the life of Betsy Truffini, for the very first time, I am going to say the word that I never said to Betsy face-to-face.
I am going to say to Betsy Truffini: "No, Betsy, I will never forget you."