My friend and mentor Beverly Rathcke passed away on Thursday, January 6, 2011. She died comfortably at home in Ann Arbor after a short illness.
Beverly was my faculty advisor for my PhD dissertation in ecology, and in that role she helped me think critically and write clearly. Yet, she fostered more than my scientific interests, she recognized and encouraged the creative artist in me, pushing me to explore my interest in and talent for photography. We attended music and dance concerts together. And, she catalyzed the transformation of my perspective and thereby my life by introducing me to my meditation practice, Siddha Yoga Meditation.
Her beautiful Old West Side Ann Arbor bungalow served as a gathering place. She brought out the gourmet chef in all of us, as we competed to offer potluck contributions that could stand beside hers on the dining room table. She invited others to cook, drink, dine and dance in her home, and was always grateful when someone wanted to clean up the piles of pots and dishes created during a collaborative cooking event.
She lived a full and enthusiastic life and had, in my opinion, a good death, on her own terms, surrounded by devoted friends. I was honored to be with her and her friends in the days preceding her death as she slipped from consciousness. During the last few days I have met friends of hers new to me, and I have been impressed by her good taste. May I be as fortunate in my friends and in my passing. I feel so grateful to have known her.