Last week, I lost a friend and Kansas City lost one our best community advocates in Joan Berkley.
The memorial service for Joan was remarkable — but then, you kind of knew that it was going to be because Joan and Bert Berkley and their family are so very special.
All of Joan’s children and grandchildren spoke so warmly and eloquently about her as a mother and grandmother. The common theme that emerged from listening to the eulogies was that the two most important gifts that Joan gave to each of her children and grandchildren were unconditional love and time. She always had time to talk, to listen, to give an opinion, to teach, to explore, to laugh, to challenge, to love.
One of the speakers used a quote when describing Joan that I thought was simply perfect: “The benefits you receive are the debts you owe others.”
Joan spent most of her entire life caring for her family, friends and the social causes that she held dear to her heart. She was there for people in good times and in bad. She was the same person in a community meeting as she was at home: loving, direct, a good listener and very committed to making a difference.
Under Joan’s picture in the memorial brochure were the words that give you a glimpse of how this wonderful lady lived her life:
Be at Peace with the Earth.
We mourn the loss of this inspiring, caring and devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend.
Rest in peace, my dear friend Joan!
Steve Roling is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Each week he blogs about issues that inspire him as we work toward eliminating barriers to quality health.