Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Let's Lift a Glass to Lydia

Walt Whitman wrote in Leaves of Grass, "Nothing can happen more beautiful than death."

Don't believe it.

There's nothing beautiful about losing a friend or family member or a contributor of good in any form. Death is a horrendous loss.

And those of us of a certain age are confronting such losses with frightening regularity. Over the past several years, I lost a treasured Pfizer colleague and two of my best friends. Three others, all marvelous people, are teed up waiting for the call. It's just a matter of time.

The most recent loss was a particularly tough one.

Lydia Galton, who passed away on June 24, was a loss, not just to me, but to the entire Naples community that she served so selflessly for years.

I had the privilege of working with Lydia as a founding member of the Collier Citizens Council, where we organized and ran some 15 public forums, covering everything from water quality to political candidates to constitutional amendments. The purpose was to educate and inform voters. It was a high form of public service, and Lydia believed in public service.

A wonderful colleague, she had boundless energy and a formidable intellect. Brooking no nonsense, she was quick to cut down pretentiousness. And totally Irish, she relished a good fight. It was said she never met an argument she didn't like.

For a while it seemed Lydia was everywhere and doing everything.

  • She headed the Naples Garden Club and was a prime mover for the Naples Botanical Garden.
  • She chaired the local chapter of the League of Women Voters.
  • In addition to the Collier Citizens Council, she served on the board of Greater Naples Leadership, helped guide the Identity Theft Task Force, and was a major player in Opportunity Naples.
  • She was honored by the Community Foundation as one of the "Women of Initiative" in 2014.
Urbane and great fun to be with, Lydia believed that if a man could do a job, a woman could probably do it better. I remember being confronted by her some years ago because no women were on the committee to honor Jeff Lytle's retirement from the Naples Daily News. She bullied her way onto the committee and then delivered a marvelous poster.

That was the thing about Lydia. She always delivered. No matter the task or the challenge, she always delivered.

There are very few like her, here or anywhere.

She will be sorely missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment