Homily for Becky Devey Bermann – 11/24/07
I would like to invite Becky’s life-long friend, Renee Didowski, to speak to us.
Listen to this famous poem, written for so many of you in the room: “High Flight”
The following thoughts were given to me by Becky’s children…
From Hannah: What I’ll miss most about Becky is her caring and giving
personality. I always admired how she treated others and especially her children.
From Lindsey: I’ll really miss how Becky was always smiling and her happiness
was contagious. When any of us were feeling down she was always able to cheer
From Sam: My mom was the best mom in the world, and she took care of me so
well. I want to be just like her when I’m older. She was so happy and it was the
worst thing ever to see her go. I love her so much.
From Lexi: My mom was the best mom ever and she did everything for me. I miss
her so much and she probably would not want us to be sad because she was always
Well, now, that was tough! But you, young ladies, may not know just how
profound – how important were the things you wrote!
If you have arrived today thinking that this service will take away all your
pain, or that everything will become easy to swallow, you will be disappointed. For
not only is that impossible, but it isn’t our purpose either.
If you are here to find a reason for such a tragedy which makes sense and
relieves our sense of injustice, you won’t find that either, nor can that be our
If you are here so that the church, or God himself, can put a magic bubble
around you or the ones you love, and never allow such things to happen – your
expectations are not realistic.
We are here to praise God for Becky’s life of love; her connections with so
many others; her service to thousands in her work, and to thank God for the
promises that God fulfills to her.
We are here to remind you of the nature of God’s gift to each of us who
knew Becky, and for his gift to her of life that wells up to eternity. Every one of
you could fill in memories that are unique as well as many shared by others. We
can’t mention them all, as Becky was not inactive! She was no couch potato! In
fact, the stores are already calling to ask, “Where’s Becky, the champion
Before we get to any interpretation, most of you know some of the bare facts
of Becky’s life. She was something of a fighting Illini – being born in Melrose
Park, Illinois, having lived there to the tender age of three years, for about one
year, the Deveys lived in Leetsdale, just across the river, and then they came to
Moon in about 1967 – before she entered school. During the course of events,
Becky confirmed her baptismal vows here at Sharon Community Presbyterian
Church on April 17, 1977, and continued as a member ever since. I understand that
when she was in the Kid’s Club as a young teen, there was a period of time in the
Wednesday afternoon schedule, that the girls were supposed to go to practice with
the choir, and the boys went off to recreation, led, in part, by her father. Would it
surprise you to know that Becky wanted to know why she couldn’t go to recreation
and sports with the boys?!
Becky knew what she wanted and pursued aviation from the time of her
graduation from Moon Area H.S. After attending Beaver, she went on to Purdue
University and received her B.S. degree in Aviation technology. Becky worked for
a time as a corporate pilot, followed by a long time with US Airways – about 18
years – and finally with Southwest Airways. She married Louis Ciccone in
September of 1990, and although that union ended, the most important aspect of
her life was the result – Sam and Lexi.
On February 15, 2001, Becky married her beloved Bob, and has been
ecstatic in that relationship of mutual love and affection.
Most of that everyone knows. And if you knew Becky well, you will
recognize what follows.
You see, Becky was a person of perseverance and endurance. She was
bound and determined to be a pilot, in what was primarily a man’s field, and to be
the best! She was a woman of great personal confidence and competence! She told
me that she was a better pilot than Lou and Bob, her husband, as well. She
probably was – what with her drive and commitment – and who was any one of us
to challenge that belief! She was very proud, in the last couple of years, to work for
Southwest which, she felt, treated her well and with respect. If this is any
indication, the care Southwest has taken for her family in the last five days has
been astounding and heartening; and certainly a credit to that company.
When, in later years with US Air, it looked like her career might come to an
early close, Becky was flexible enough to start pursuing nursing. This was another
example of her perseverance and endurance – nothing would threaten to lessen her
provisions for her children. Through the emotional roller-coaster ride of a few
years, Becky maintained her drive and her family responsibilities.
The perseverance and endurance that Becky had was displayed in another
way. In spite of what untoward factors might have created stress and difficulty in
her life, Becky had a way of lighting up the room for everyone else. She was
always smiling! She maintained so many relationships for so long – as someone
who brought joy into any circumstance. Her high school friends have stuck with
her all these years; even through the time that Bob was serving an on-again-off-
again duty in Iraq; Becky maintained the good life for Sam and Lexi, and her
wonderful closeness with her sister’s family and her parents. It is one of the closest
and most loving families you will ever meet.
No matter what was happening in her life and career, she was always thrilled
to come home to her kids, to care for them; and they were always filled with joy to
see her. You said she was the best mom in the world. Now most all of us, at least
anybody with a heart, feels that way about their mom, but you may, at least, be
close to the truth, since her first commitment – in front of everything else – was to
All of you are here today as a cloud of witnesses to the character of this
woman. Earlier we read the famous passage from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians
concerning love. So often read at weddings, for obvious reasons, what is not so
obvious is that what Paul speaks of is not the kind of love we usually think of at
the time of a wedding. He is talking about God’s love – agape – a love that is
steadfast and will not let us go, even when we are not living up to God’s call for
our lives. God’s love is love in spite of what we are and what we do – a love than
can overcome our despoiling the image of God in us. None of us can love as
perfectly as God first loved us.
But I believe that the closest the human heart can come to God’s agape is the
love a parent has for children. Becky exemplified that love.
So we appreciate Becky’s perseverance, drive, endurance, and love – not
only of her daughters – all four – natural and step – but also of her sister and her
family; her parents; and indeed so many of you. But far and above any of these
things, we witness through her attitude the reception of God’s love for her – the
very thing that cannot and will not be separated from her. Becky’s resurrection and
eternal life in the arms of her Lord is assured through her receiving the love God
first offered to her, and merely displayed in the way she treated others.
It makes me think, in the midst of these very sad days, that we might just
have to rejoice a bit. Today we mark Becky’s resurrection because of her Lord,
Jesus Christ, and his sacrifice and resurrection!
Lexi said she thought her mom would not want us to be sad, but to live life
joyfully – a little change of words, but the same thought. Although we are all sad
to lose Becky in our lives, we can still rejoice in her everlasting life, and the joy
that God has prepared for us to have in this life – Becky would want all of you to
know that joy. AMEN.