By Ginni Spencer
Editor’s Note: Doris ‘Mickey’ Webber passed away on January 1, 2019. Her Memorial Service will take place at First Church of Christ, Congregational at 2 pm on Saturday, April 6, 2019.
There are certain distinctive aspects of Bedford life without which…well…would we still be Bedford? What if The Brothers Rocks were dislodged in a storm and washed downstream? What if Old Town Hall were sold to a crafty developer who turned it into a recreational marijuana center? Or you woke up to find that Bedford Farms had been sold to MacDonald’s? Would we still be Bedford?
That’s how I felt when I heard the news that our beloved senior citizen, Doris “Mickey” Webber died on New Year’s Day. For me, and I believe for many others, she defined Bedford by her unabashed love for our community which she expressed in countless ways over the many years she lived here.
Mickey met all the criteria for good citizenship: loyal attendee of Town Meeting; active engagement in local elections; founder of organizations and events like POMS and the annual Sunrise Service at Fawn Lake; active parishioner at First Church of Christ and supporter of the church’s outreach; Bedford Citizen of the Year and sole proprietor of an in-home day-care center that nurtured a generation of Bedford kids. And I am certain that this list is highly incomplete. I will leave it to others who I know will come forward to acknowledge Mickey to flesh out the full inventory of her accomplishments.
What I want to reflect on is what I believe made Mickey such a great contributor to our town: she was kind, modest, passionate in her love of community, an aspirational example of a person who lived simply, content in the knowledge that family, friends, and Bedford were all she needed to enjoy life to the fullest.
Kindness is a character trait that of late we don’t see much of. But if I were speaking publicly and asked everyone in the room to raise their hands if they ever received a handwritten note or card from Mickey in a moment of loss, sorrow, confusion, celebration or achievement – perhaps with an accompanying newspaper clipping – how many hands would go up? I was the recipient of such notes on more than one occasion. Once, during a difficult time, she sent me a note that said simply “Thinking of you. Here if you ever need a listening post.” Kindness in an envelope in her neat handwriting, simply expressed and clearly heartfelt.
Mickey believed in the power of small-town life to enable cohesiveness, good will, caring and the fun of shared experience to those who live here. She welcomed newcomers wherever she found them and helped make connections with those already here with whom they might have something in common. She took the time to tell them about Bedford Day, Bedford Santa, and other local traditions and then made sure they got directions or a ride or were contacted by others to ensure their inclusion. She was generous in her love of community because she believed Bedford — while not perfect — was worthy of our loyalty and commitment and in a hundred different ways she never missed an opportunity to say so. She did not seek the spotlight, she wanted only to somehow get you involved so you could experience Bedford as she did. She volunteered, she initiated, she asked questions, she wrote letters, she spoke out, she voted, and she could be counted on to deliver whatever it was she had agreed to do. Imagine what we could accomplish if all we did that.
So thank you, Mickey Webber, not only for all you did for Bedford, but for everything you exemplified in the process. The town you loved has been shaped forever by your appreciation of it and those of us who were lucky enough to know you will try and carry those values forward.