Funeral for Betty Rodes Hoover (April 12, 1927 – February 14, 2021)
Eulogy & Homily for Betty Rodes Hoover (April 12, 1927 – February 14, 2021)
Betty Rodes Hoover – April 12,1927 – February 14, 2021
Pictures of Betty Jane Rodes as a young girl show that she had poise and flair from the very start. She was the first of two children of Elizabeth Foster and John Calvin Rodes, Jr., and was born in Philadelphia, Pa. in the spring of 1927. Her brother was born a couple of years later.
Betty’s father was a jeweler, which perhaps gave her a taste for sparkle and finery. After graduating from high school, she went straight to a local finishing school. There she learned the “social graces,” plus a whole range of other skills that would support her career and shape her life.
Still in her teens, Betty started working as a clothes model in Philadelphia and, in 1949, she married Walter F. Harriman. In 1953, she entered the “Mrs. Philadelphia” contest and won. She later divorced and, in 1956, Betty married Herbert Hoover Jr., a distant relative of our 31st president. Herbert, a department head at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), had been a lieutenant in the US Navy and longed to live near the water. The two moved to New Rochelle and soon settled into a corner apartment overlooking Long Island Sound. The Hoovers bought a boat and joined the Huguenot Yacht Club, with its 1910 club-house — the former east-coast home of silent-film star, Lillian Gish. Betty would live in the apartment at 300 Pelham Road for the next sixty years.
During the 1960s, Betty took a job at the Bonwit Teller department store in Manhattan. Did we mention that Betty was crazy about fashion? At Bonwit’s she modeled the latest clothes by walking through the different floors during the day and on the catwalk at the store’s fashion shows. “I modeled all over the store,” she remembered. “I changed clothes all day long.” For Betty, that was heaven.
In 1963, she began working at the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (LIM) on E. 53rd St. in Manhattan, a school specializing in fashion and merchandising. In her 20+ years there, she helped to train thousands of students for careers in fashion. She lead courses in personal development — instruction in hairstyling, proper dress, make-up application, posture, manners and public speaking. She also taught her students how to stand: Right foot slightly ahead of the left, at a 45-degree angle.
All of this went into the more than 150 fashion shows she and her students staged over the years at the Plaza Hotel, featuring clothes borrowed from designers like Ann Klein, Valentino, and Oscar de la Renta. She also advised employees at a variety of companies, including NBC, on how to present themselves. Her business cards read: “Mrs. Betty Hoover – Social Skills and Etiquette.” Betty loved her working life. Even after she left LIM in the 1980s, she taught etiquette classes through The Charm Workshop in New Rochelle, and in her apartment, where she kept her dining room set with fine china, silver and crystal for her students.
Out for a stroll one day in 1965, Herbert stepped into Pelham’s Christ Church on a whim. The two eventually became members. “I loved it for its beauty and its pageantry,” Betty told the church’s Soundings magazine. When Herbert died in the 1980s, she became a greeter at church events and on Sunday mornings. She did this with such flair and devotion for so many years, that the minister named her “Chief Greeter for Life.”
Betty also joined the boards of the Colburn Nursing Home in New Rochelle and the historic Bartow Pell Mansion, in the Bronx. But most of all, she cherished her membership in The Manor Club. She loved decorating the club’s annual Christmas tree and helping to orchestrate its afternoon teas. Some swore Betty’s two favorite words were “tea sandwich.” At her passing, a Manor Club friend circulated an email lamenting the loss of “our own Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy.”
Betty had a strong faith in God, and a strong sense of fun. She adored men, flowers, dogs, clothes, and jewelry. She absolutely could not get by without vanilla ice cream or Prosecco. She had a gift for working all the angles, and she truly got the most out of her life.
Now, Heaven has a new greeter.
Today’s Lections from Holy Scripture
Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33 Reader Terry de Marco
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.
Psalm 116 Reader: Carol Ipsen
1 I love the LORD, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, *
because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.
2 The cords of death entangled me; the grip of the grave took hold of me; *
I came to grief and sorrow.
3 Then I called upon the Name of the LORD: *
“O LORD, I pray you, save my life.”
4 Gracious is the LORD and righteous; *
our God is full of compassion.
5 The LORD watches over the innocent; *
I was brought very low, and he helped me.
6 Turn again to your rest, O my soul. *
for the LORD has treated you well.
7 For you have rescued my life from death, *
my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.
8 I will walk in the presence of the LORD *
in the land of the living.
9 I believed, even when I said,”I have been brought very low.” *
In my distress I said, “No one can be trusted.”
10 How shall I repay the LORD *
for all the good things he has done for me?
11 I will lift up the cup of salvation *
and call upon the Name of the LORD.
12 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD *
in the presence of all his people.
13 Precious in the sight of the LORD *
is the death of his servants.
14 O LORD, I am your servant; *
I am your servant and the child of your handmaid;
you have freed me from my bonds.
15 I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving *
and call upon the Name of the LORD.
16 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD *
in the presence of all his people,
17 In the courts of the LORD’S house, *
in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Revelation 21:2-7 Reader: Brenda di Padova
I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son.”
Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”
The following pre-recorded musical selections will be offered by our full choir:
Hymn: “Amazing Grace”
Words: John Newton (1725-1807), alt.; last verse, John Rees (19th cent.)
Music: NEW BRITAIN, from Virginia Harmony, 1831; adapt. att. Edwin Othello Excell (1851-1921); Public Domain.
First, fourth and fifth verses harmonized and arranged by Jeffrey Hoffman (b. 1970), copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Second and third verse harmonization by Eric Routley (1917-1982). Copyright © 1985 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Used by permission from the publisher.
This presentation copyright © 2020 by the Parish of Christ the Redeemer (Christ Church), Pelham, New York. All rights reserved.
Hymn: “How Great Thou Art”
Words: Stuart K. Hine (1899-1989), translated from a Swedish poem by Carl Boberg (1859-1940), additional lyrics by Stuart K. Hine.
Music: O STORE GUD, Swedish folk melody, adapt. Stuart K. Hine (1899-1989)
Text and music © 1949, 1953 The Stuart Hine Trust CIO.
All rights in the USA its territories and possessions, except print rights, administered by Capitol CMG Publishing. USA, North and Central American print rights and all Canadian and South American rights administered by Hope Publishing Company. All other North and Central American rights administered by the Stuart Hine Trust CIO. Rest of the world rights administered by Integrity Music Europe. Licensed under OneLicense.net A-713125. Used with permission.
Last verse harmonization and descant by Jeffrey Hoffman. Copyright © 2021. Used with permission.
Sung by soprano Tonna Miller-Valles, mezzo-soprano Jann Degnan, tenors Jeffrey Hoffman & Douglas Purcell, and bass-baritone Simon Cram;
with members of the Christ Church parish choir Jeff Bodenmann, Curtis Chase, Mboti (Missy) Kisob, Barbara Nelson, and Margaret Young. With special thanks to virtual congregation participants Noah Agerberg, Simon Agerberg, Chisara Alimole, Ozichi Alimole, Claire Allen, Angela Barone, Allison Bodenmann, Sandy Dunn, Jean Gruener, Diane Hayduk, Carol Ipsen, James Kenworthy, Marie Main, Arianna Mable, Madison Mable, Liam Mead, Matthew Hoxsie Mead, Nicolas Mead, Walter Roberts, Tom Salvatore, Sarabeth Weeks, and Bruce Weis. Jeffrey Hoffman, organist & director of music, recordist and producer.
Recorded in loving memory of Mary Lesher Paul (1920-2010).
This presentation copyright © 2021 by the Parish of Christ the Redeemer (Christ Church), Pelham, New York. All rights reserved.
Before the service begins, the organist will play the following selections in prelude: Chorale-Preludes on “Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (“I cry to thee, Lord Jesus Christ”), BWV 639, “Sheep may safely graze,” BWV 208, and “Christ lag in Todesbanden” (“Christ Jesus lay in Death’s strong bands”), BWV 625 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).
During communion, the organist will offer an Improvisation on the hymn tune “On Eagle’s Wings” by Michael Joncas (b. 1951).
The organ voluntary following the dismissal will be an Improvisation on the song “Unforgettable”by Irving Gordon (1915-1996).
Jeffrey Hoffman is the organist for today’s liturgy.