Bettina Dickerson Twarog
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Published in The Boston Globe on April 19, 2020
TWAROG, Bettina Dickerson Nee Bettina Loyce Dickerson, a devoted wife and mother, passed away early Monday morning, April 13th, in the comfort of her bedroom with her beloved sister-in-law, Patti by her side. After 20,634 days of marriage, she and her loving husband, Frank, were forced to spend her last four days apart from one another. This, because he was in hospital suffering from the same coronavirus that claimed her life after many years of struggle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Joseph and Francis, her devoted children, held vigil outside her bedroom window.
Bettina was born on April 27th, 1939 in Greenlawn, NY, the daughter of Elizabeth (nee Eliza) and John Stevens Dickerson. Dubbed by her father as ‘Tuna the Tinafish,’ she spent summers swimming from boat-to-boat across Northport Harbor and enjoying treats at Northport Sweet Shop. In 1961, she graduated from Saint Joseph College in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She received her Masters in Marine Microbiology from Saint John’s University in Queens, New York in 1963, the same year she married her lifelong love, Frank. From there, it was decades of entwining Dickersons and Twarogs… marriages and births, celebrations and holidays, baptisms and funerals. She was an only child who adored her aunts and uncles, her cousins MaryLiz and Bill, and siblings in marriage, Skeeter, Marie, and Joseph, Rita, Gerry, and Patti, and her godchild, Danielle. She loved her daughter-in-law, Lee, her grandchildren, Jake and Mia, and her son Joseph’s partner, Katherine. And, she was adored by her home health aides, Rose and most especially, Evelyn, who made certain that ‘Mum’ was comfortable and well stocked with her two favorite food groups, granola and mints. Bettina devoted her life to her family and to Christ. She loved swimming and sailing and margaritas and the Eucharist and Russell’s Nursery and chicken and Land Rovers and Sauvignon blanc and Siamese cats and Wasik’s Cheese Shop and morning Mass and pretty shoes and lavender and Doncaster clothing and gold earrings and Tanglewood and sunlight and sunsets and sand and seashells and Caesar salads and Lake Waban and cappuccinos. Bettina was not from New York, but rather, “Lon Gisland.” During their annual anniversary weekends ‘out east,’ she would briefly revert to speaking her local Long Island dialect. She donated crocheted hats for infants. She made sure there were fresh flowers at the foot of the St. Elizabeth Seton statue at St. Paul’s Parish every week. Though petite in size, she was immense with empathy. Always the optimist, late in life she took to saying, “I can’t complain… I’m not in pain.” Frank and Bettina were the epitome of devotion, notching 57 years of absolute dedication that cannot possibly be described in a few short paragraphs. They were, in a word, ‘one.’ They were, in a thousand words, ‘one.’
Bettina Dickerson Twarog will always be remembered as a kind, sweet, loving, and selfless daughter, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, friend, parishioner and wife. We love you, Ma, with all of our hearts. For those who have generously inquired about making a donation in Bettina’s memory, she would have been grateful to direct you to Compassionate Care ALS ccals.org which supported her throughout her progression.
While interment will be at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Wellesley, likely at a ‘social distance,’ her family eagerly awaits the day when her friends and extended family will safely gather together for a Mass at Saint Paul’s Parish in Wellesley to celebrate her life and share memories of this extraordinary woman known to us all as Tina. For online guestbook, gfdoherty.com. George F. Doherty & Sons Wellesley 781 235 4100