Rotary Club of Winchester

 
This link is the eulogy delivered by Jack Kean at Thursday's meeting, remembering Sydelle. 
 
In thinking about an appropriate opening to eulogize Sydelle I looked to some of the great female poets of history. Emily Dickinson, Amy Lowell, Emily Bronte, Maya Angelou but I finally settled on the lyrics of one of America's most prominent song writer's, Helen Reddy.
From her song "I am Woman":
Oh yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman
 
Those lyrics pretty much sum up Sydelle. She was a Renaissance woman with a powerful mind, a woman who proclaimed that women can do anything and forged the path.
She was a woman of vision who everyday let life unfold with intensity, determination and purpose. Sydelle was intelligent, creative, energetic and idealistic. She wanted to move the world.
Sydelle was an accomplished lawyer, an actress albeit of amateur status and an avid dancer and instructor. The tango, the waltz or even the two-step the one step she avoided was the side-step. She always confronted life head-on. There was no black and white with Sydelle, she was vivid technicolor.
As those who knew her will attest she had strong convictions, she was independent; she had uncommon stamina; she was vibrant, a mover and a shaker not a follower.
She was fastidious to a fault about language not only the proper legal phrasing but she abhorred incorrect usage of the English language. I can attest to that from personal experience.
Sydelle was a staunch warrior with a cause and for her there were no shortages of causes, large or small.
Lady Bird Johnson once said:
"This is a country of many viewpoints.
I respect your right to express your own.
Now is my turn to express mine."
Sydelle had no difficulty expressing her views.
 
We share her family's sorrow for the loss of their cherished wife, mother and grandmother.
For all of this we, the members of this club, shall best remember Sydelle as a fellow Rotarian.
She joined the Rotary Club of Winchester in 1996.
I have the honor today to stand at the same podium from where she so ably directed this club with distinction as president in 2002-2003. Sydelle was a plus-4 Paul Harris Fellow while a Winchester Rotarian.
As a member of this club she epitomized the Rotary ideal of "Service Above Self" and we owe Sydelle the continuation of her legacy by living our lives according to the four way test:
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
 
Sydelle and James Quinn, a Charter Member of this club, hold a similar, singular distinction. James Quinn was a Charter Member and First President of the Rotary Club of Turners Falls, MA and then upon moving to Winchester he went on to become a Charter Member of the Winchester Club.
Sydelle was President of this Club and then was instrumental in the formation of the Rotary Club of Long Boat Key, Florida where she was a Charter member and its first President.
Recently the members of the Rotary Club of Longboat Key celebrated the opening of the "Sydelle Pittas Digital Learning Lab" at Sarasota's Tuttle Elementary School. A testament to the impact she had in her Florida Rotary career.
 
 Add these words to the countless tributes and expressions of affection and respect that have been offered about Sydelle:
Today with her gone our world is emptier, less vibrant, less deep and a little less fun.
 
I would like to close with a poem by Joyce Grenfell, English Humorist and Actress. It contains a little of what Sydelle might have said on this occassion.
 
 
 
 
If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone,
Nor when I'm gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must,
Parting is hell,
But life goes on,
So sing as well.
 
 

Farewell Sydelle, Farewell