Remembering Betsy Newman Beshires
August 1, 2009 - Sweet, caring, unselfish, kind-are words used over and over to describe Betsy Newman Beshires, our Jackson Ed.S. Cohort member, who died December 6, 2008. Betsy, a fifth grade teacher in Chester County, entered the cohort to pursue administrative licensure as well as her doctorate. As Betsy pondered this decision, her nervousness was evident as she questioned whether or not she should make this long-term commitment.
After making a firm commitment to enter the program, Betsy's excitement toward learning was contagious. Her excitement, combined with her nervousness, quickly endeared her to the other Cohort members. Because she was a bit older than her classmates, she quickly became "Miss" Betsy to all. From her first class in February to her last class in December, Betsy always had her front row seat. She became the "mother hen." Jonathan Kee recalls the day they were studying for Stats. He asked Betsy if she had a piece of gum; she didn't. Unknown to Jonathan, Betsy quietly left campus, drove to a nearby store, bought gum and gave Jonathan his piece of gum. That was Betsy-always kind, caring, unselfish, wanting to please.
Sondra Kiser describes Betsy as the epitome of a Servant Leader. Even this simple example of the gum bears that out. Betsy loved to serve others, which was evident in her treatment of her Cohort members as well as what we all learned about her as a classroom teacher.
Jamie Sanders recalls the day she was in the middle of a major remodeling project at home. Betsy called her to ask some Stats questions. Jamie sat down on her dusty floor, and she and Betsy worked Stats problems for an hour. Not only did Betsy want to please everyone, everyone wanted to please Betsy as well.
Chima Abakwue describes Betsy as genuine. He appreciated her continuous interest in him. He recalls how she would inquire about his wife even though the two had never met. Her genuineness, her compliments and her wonderful smile gave Chima something to look forward to.
Betsy's wit was always refreshing. Her weekly treat prior to Saturday classes was her trip to Starbucks for coffee and pastry. Her excitement over her treat made everyone smile. She became the official time-keeper for Saturday classes as she reminded the professor when it was time for a break.
On Saturday, December 6, 2008, the last day of the Supervision class, the cohort and professor learned that Betsy had suffered a heart attack the previous day and was in critical condition in intensive care. The Cohort stood in a circle, held hands, and prayed for Betsy. As updates kept coming, and finally word that Betsy had died, many tears were shed. Once again, the Cohort stood shoulder to shoulder and prayed for Betsy's family. The Cohort offered prayers of thanks for the privilege of having known Betsy. Chima, in his prayer, was thankful for Betsy's "nervousness," which was one of her endearing characteristics. Chima's prayer brought a chuckle, for this remembrance was one of Betsy that everyone loved.
Sweet, caring, unselfish, kind-all certainly describe Betsy. In addition, her genuineness, her example of Servant Leadership, and other characteristics too numerous to mention, endeared Betsy Newman Beshires to Ed.S. Jackson Cohort 9. Rarely does the Cohort meet that Betsy is not remembered with fondness. Betsy's death left a void that could never be filled in Cohort 9, but lives have been forever enriched through Betsy's example.
Betsy Newman Beshires will be awarded an honorary Education Specialist degree posthumously on August 1, at Union University's August graduation.