Some people think it is strange that I read all the obituaries in the newspaper. Every day.
I like to read about peoples’ lives: where they were born, where they came from, what their lives were like, and I even like to read the lists of their relatives. It’s like a reading a very short novel.
Often, I wish I had known the person.
But I don’t like to read the obituaries so much when there is a death notice of someone I know. Last week, it was the effervescent and kind Betty Lou Lovie, of the Fieldbrook Valley Apple Farms.
Even if you didn’t know her name you probably recognize her smiling face as the woman who loved to give samples of her apples to you at the farmers’ markets. She was always glad to talk recipes and which apples would be better for which recipe.
The apples were always wonderful.
Even more wonderful was the loving banter between Betty and her husband, Dick. I’d come away from the booth with a bag of apples and the knowledge that love was possible.
Not a bad combination.
Betty Lou Lovie was born July 13, 1943 in Great Falls, Montana. She died after a battle with cancer on Nov. 6. She was active in her community, working on Pony Express Days and serving as president of the Chamber of Commerce, according to her obituary.
She leaves behind her husband Dick, sisters and brothers, five children, 11 grandchildren and 750 apple trees.
The Lovies and their farm were featured in this column last year (Union, Sept. 16, 2015).
Here’s an excerpt:
When asked about his favorite apple, Dick Lovie said, “I like them all.” He did narrow it down to “Jona Prince, Mutsu Crispin, and for pie, McIntosh.”
Betty Lovie’s favorite was a definite “Golden Supreme.”
When asked who was the pie maker in the family, Betty Lovie laughed. “He peels the apples,” she said. “He tells me, ‘I’ll peel the apples, if you’ll make a pie’.”
How often is that? “Whenever he wants,” she said.
I often deliver extra copies of the column to the farmer I’ve written about. (It’s fun for me and I always like to check if I’ve made any mistakes, especially with spelling unusual varieties of fruits and vegetables.) When I went to the market with copies for the Lovies, several of their customers had beat me to it. One even laminated the article so they could keep it at their booth.
“We loved the article,” Betty told me with a big smile. She came around from the back of the booth to pat my shoulder. “You did a good job,” she said.
She was only five years older than I am but she made me feel like a happy kid, bringing home a good report card from school.
That’s a gift, to be so kind in this world. Thank you, Betty.
A memorial is planned in the spring at Fieldbrook Valley Apple Farms.