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Remembering a friend

To the Editor:

If you please, I would like to take a few moments to reflect on the recent death of my friend, Diann Byrd Inge. I read her obituary in The Herald, and there was so little information about her life of 71 years that I wanted to share my appreciation of the person I had the privilege of knowing.

Diann and I knew each other for most of our lives. In fact, she was born a little less than two months before me. A fact she liked to remind me of in later years when I would call her for her birthday. We attended elementary school, middle school and high school together.

She was always much smarter than I was, and she often competed with Marshall Cook, another classmate, for the honor of valedictorian of our high school class.

Probably the worst kept secret during high school was that I had a huge crush on her. In fact, we actually went on one date together during our senior year. Sadly, it took me that long to work up enough courage to ask her out. I often wished I had done so sooner.

After graduation, we lost touch with each other. She went off to New College in Florida, and I attended the University of Richmond. We reconnected during a business trip I took to San Francisco many years later. Not long after that, she moved back to Farmville. Even though she returned home, I always thought her heart had remained in the Bay area, where she seemed to fit perfectly into the culture there.

I will admit that I took some degree of pleasure in her moving back home. Her living in Farmville allowed my wife and I to see her more often when we returned to visit my parents. We would sit in the parlor of her house and talk about how things were going in her life and what was happening with my children. We chatted on the phone regularly, and she took pleasure in telling me what was happening with her neighbors and in Farmville. She loved her garden, her cats and her long-time partner, Scott.

Diann was extremely proud of her nephew, Jesse, and she often spoke of him and his many accomplishments.

Diann always displayed a strong sense of compassion and love of people. She enjoyed life and the togetherness of family and friends. She had an ongoing deep respect for everyone she met and appreciated experiencing new ideas and cultures. She also had a strong sense of fairness, justice for everyone and the climate.

I last spoke with Diann a few days before her passing. She sounded tired, more so than usual.

There was so much potential in her. She was a beautiful person and a loving soul. I will miss seeing her, our many conversations together and hearing her deep voice and infectious laugh.

Thank you for letting me share some of my thoughts and memories of my friend.

Jeff Weinberg

Highlands Ranch, Colorado