Thank you all for coming today Funerals are for the living. How many of you came with somebody? Please turn to that person, imagine for a moment a world without them, and then give 'em a great big hug for me. Let me tell you a bit about this extraordinary woman - this will take either 10 minutes or 37 years. I might have to slow down a bit here and there 'cause I've been talking through a lot of tears. I've written most of this out because I don't want to forget anything. Purple, she liked purple. I got her the purplest casket I could find. Got purple picture frames & mats. Lots of purple. In 1969 I was a skinny, geeky guy working as a junior accountant in a CPA firm in San Francisco. Lonely, too. One day a new person showed up at the switchboard/receptionist spot, physically quite beautiful, terribly nice to everyone. As months went by, she warmed to me, and one day she was preparing her lunch in the lunch room, and the flavors made me drool. I asked her if she would come over and make dinner for me some time (I was *really* hungry). Later she told me that of all the "lines" guys had tried with her, that one was unique. We started doing lunches together, I asked her to go see old movies at the hippie storefront "Feather's Point Cinema" in the Castro, and the night we saw "Top Hat", she got really mad because the audience was laughing at how camp it was rather than enjoying the artistry. Big lesson for me. Over the years she taught me respect for many things artistic, and to avoid making fun of what I did not understand. Who says you can't change the guy you're marrying? We hit it off, she moved into my hippie pad which quickly became an un-hippie apartment. And although possessed of a wonderful sense of humor in her own right, she laughed at my jokes! Trapped! Hogtied! No way out! We got married, on D-Day, the 6th of June, I was the luckiest guy in the world. The wedding was wonderful. I hope you've had a chance to see the pictures on the memory boards. This one here is my favorite, as we came out of the hall they were throwing rice at us and it hurt! I call it "Mike & Jeanne against the world", or "Jeanne & Mike", if you prefer. You might look at these two pictures and think, well, aren't there any of her by herself? Is this a suggestion she was nothing without him? You could not be more wrong, because that is backwards. Those are pictures of Jeanne, with Mike tagging along. People talk about their better half, over the past 16 days I've come to believe it's the better 90%. In eighth grade she was tested highest in math aptitude. She says by the time she started high school it all turned to Lithuanian and she started limping, dragging her left foot. We believe that was her first big multiple sclerosis attack, one that lasted several years, but at the time there was no explanation. 40 years later Kaiser gave her a diagnosis, but throughout the intervening years she didn't know what the problem was, she was made to feel it was her fault, that she was making it up. Some days she'd be fine, some days she couldn't even get out of bed - classic MS. But she never gave up. She spent most of high school on crutches or at home - and Oakland High was a 3-story building so it wasn't easy. Eventually this series of attacks waned and she was able to walk again unaided. She wound up hating school, although she had touches of brilliance in art and literary composition. To the very last she was an avid reader, even as she was going blind, devouring 2 to 3 large-print novels per week. Her vocabulary was awesome. Her ability to work crossword puzzles unmatched by any one else in my experience. I was an accountant. I went to law school. I learned to program computers. What I did not do was learn how to be a good employee, I'm still not quite sure why. In those early years I had a tough time keeping a job. Jeanne had similar problems. We did not know it at the time, but MS had worked its mischief on her logic processes to the point that she would make the same mistakes over and over again, stuff would get mis-filed and she couldn't explain why, she would forget to do things she was told, again some days she couldn't even get out of bed so her sick leave was constantly used up, and so on. We started solving these employment problems in a different way. With help from her parents we began accumulating rental property, property nobody wanted for nothing down and a promise to pay, and living in them to operate them because that's the only way we could make it work. Kinda neat, because it became a job we could not get fired from. We made every mistake you can think of, but toughed it out - nobody toughed it more than Jeanne, I would go off to work and she would get stuck with the problems. Without her efforts we would not have gotten anywhere. I could make the deals, but she made it work. We traded quite a bit of money out of East Oakland, hunkered down in Manteca, and in recent years using the rental plan she developed we've become comfortable. I had thought for the past decade that I was working towards making sure her medical needs would be covered for the next 30 years. I am very sad I cannot use the money for her. I've brought you my bathrobe. Jeanne didn't like my old bathrobe, so she went down and bought some polar fleece, modified patterns, and put this together. I invite you to check this out. The other night we were trying to figure out when she made this, and it looks like about 1980. The seams are still tight (except for this little spot here), the workmanship is exquisite. I treasure it. Jeanne was an awesome seamstress. She'd make clothes for anyone in her family or among her friends who would allow her to. She'd put labels in them, "fashioned by Jeanne". Her clothing was better than store-bought. She'd make christening blankets that some of you out there still have many years later. For years she had a very fine Pfaff sewing machine until some fast-talking salesman talked her into trading it for something inferior. She missed that machine so much, I bought her a Viking #1 in November 1997. She didn't use it much, turned out she was going blind and losing her manual dexterity and I hadn't realized it. Losing the ability to sew upset her more than she ever let on. How many of you remember her cheesecake, raise your hands. Jeanne's cheesecake was unrivaled. While she was in the hospital I brought her a piece from the Cheesecake Factory, she loved it, but with a twinkle in her eye said "not as good as mine", and she was right. Her cooking skills were awesome, she was always experimenting. People loved her chile, her ribs. I was particularly fond of her Cornish Game Hens in the clay pot, they melted in your mouth with delicious flavors. MS took her cooking from her. Angela Preciado, her other caregiver for some 5 years or so, wave your hand Angela, was able to produce for her in later years many of her favorite dishes. MS robbed her of the sense of taste and smell, and the ability to chew and swallow, so, while she still loved the dishes Angela prepared, it wasn't the same anymore. I retired at the end of 1997 and a month later she was in a wheelchair - she had held out as long as she could, I didn't know she was that bad off and while she had been using a cane and powered shopping carts at the stores, it was a surprise. Her friend Ann Williams, give us a wave, Ann, helped by Mark Ryser, wave at us Mark, put in a flower garden in the area next to our front door, beautiful flowers, so she could sit in her recliner with the door open and look at the flowers. Last winter I got the planting itch and spread Jeanne's garden throughout the complex, 65 or 70 camellias, 200 or so azaleas, 500 or so Cyclamen, roses, African daisies, geraniums, mums, and more. She seemed to really like that, got out a few times to check it out. I plan to spend years caring for Jeanne's garden. I'm carrying a torch. It helps me. People have praised me over the past decade on how I was taking care of Jeanne. Angela has helped as Jeanne's other caregiver for the past 5 years. She can tell you that I was not as princely as you might have thought, in fact a real jerk from time to time. But I will tell you, that as she got weaker and weaker, and needed more and more help, it did not get tougher, it got easier, it was a true calling, it gave a deep purpose to my life, a fulfilling purpose I would have happily continued with for the next 30 years. And now it's gone. And she's gone. And I miss her so very, very much. Lately I've been remaking myself into an "Uncle" from a "caregiver", so, God willing, I can do some good. By the way, if you or someone you know needs a caregiver who is compassionate and competent, call Angela. Some of you who know or knew Jeanne may be curious about the religious overtones of today's ceremony. Yes, Jeanne did not think much of organized religion. But out of curiosity I'd read the King James Bible & Apocrypha cover to cover over the past 2 years, 2 chapters a night until I finished. She started giving me funny looks about it a year ago, but never criticized my interest. I've been singing with a quartet that has leaned more and more towards spirituals, I love the music, it lifts me, and helps me with my relationship with God, and Jeanne encouraged that too. On one of her last lucid evenings, Jeanne said to me that she had spoken with God last night and made peace, or that at least her brother-in-law, Ron Rivera, give us a wave Ron, had helped her to do that. I know now the pain medications they were giving her by mistake were generating increasing hallucinations, but this comment seemed particularly clear. I would like to think that she went to her rest having made peace with God. No account of Jeanne would be complete without animals. She loved every one without reservation. Dogs, cats, lucky she stopped with those. We owned maybe 10 dogs over the years, Sunny is the latest, she named him because he is a ray of sunshine. We shared our lives with maybe 40 cats altogether, and each one was a loved friend to her, from Teddy and Gertrude all the way up to Mr. Lucky and Ozzie - these days Sunny, Mr. Lucky and Ozzie wander around looking for that wonderful lady who was here. As do I - As do I. With seldom and unkind word for anyone, generous to a fault, look at this room, look at all the people who loved her. She was truly, "Beloved by all" Thank you Now, those of you who know Jeanne know she loved to "do lunch". As she deteriorated, the longing to go out to lunch never left. So, today, Jeanne is taking us all to lunch. Those of you who are willing, we're going to have lunch at IHOP, on Jeanne. It's on East Yosemite just this side of Cottage. If you need further directions, turn to anybody around you and just ask. When you go in there, tell them it's Barkley so they can put it on the tab. They have some extra waitresses today, I just know there's going to be some singing, and Jeanne would be so pleased. Please join us. Thank you.