More than 25 years ago I returned from a summer visit to my sister in Southern California. She had enthusiatically told me about a learning-in-retirement program at the University of California at San Diego for, and administered by, retired older adults. Upon return home and finding nothing beyond the traditional "night school" classes run by Modesto Junior College Community Services, I had an idea about starting such an organization, but with hardly a clue as to how to go about it. Someone suggested I contact Bette Belle Smith. I invited her to have lunch. To my surprise, she accepted and at lunch she gave her ideas and enthusiastic support for what ultimately became MICL -- Modesto Institute for Continued Learning. Without her support long ago, I am not sure where MICL would be today.
Now she is gone from among us and Modesto's collective heart is broken. But she will be more than welcomed at the Pearly Gates as St. Peter will soon find a way to put her organizational talents and great enthusiasm to work. Surely Bette Belle deserves sainthood.
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