• • •  BETTE WILLIAMS ISALY SHUMAN • • •
October 21, 1928 - July 9, 1992
Mother of Ellen Isaly Clark
Grandmother of Bill Clark and Rob Clark
  

From Ellen:

ette Williams Isaly Shuman, my mother, met my father, Bud Isaly, on a blind date. They were married in 1949 and I was born in 1951. When my parents' marriage ended shortly after I was born, I went to live with Gramma and Grampa Isaly on Arlington Avenue and my mother lived in Grandview, just a few miles away. I saw her occasionally on weekends, but after my father died in an automobile accident when I was not quite two years old, Gramma and Grampa were the mother and father figures in my life.

My mother worked as a tax accountant most of her life, and she kept the books for her father's American Motors auto dealership in Grandview.

During the last two years of high school and during college, I had no contact with Bette (I never quite knew what to call her!), although there had been no argument or anything specific to cause this separation; we simply drifted apart.

In 1975, I called my mother on a whim; I was curious about her life and what she'd been doing since we'd last seen each other, six years earlier. She was happy to hear from me and we met for lunch at the Red Door Tavern in Grandview. We were both pretty nervous - I do remember that!

We became reacquainted and although it's hard to describe the dynamic, we developed a very lovely, interesting, and important relationship; neither of us felt a traditional mother-daughter bond, but we nurtured quite a special friendship.

Bette really did love Billy and Robby, and indulged them with presents. In addition to her home in Grandview, she had little mobile home and a pontoon boat at Indian Lake, and in the summertime, Bill and I took the boys up there so that Bette could take them on the boat, let them "drive" and then take them for hamburgers at their favorite funky restaurant at the lake - the "Tilton Hilton," named because it actually sits crooked and has slanted floors! The boys loved the Indian Lake days. We all did!

Bette became ill with respiratory problems and suffered respiratory arrest one weekend at Indian Lake. Nineteen days later, on July 9, 1992, she died from kidney failure, a complication of her respiratory arrest (it was her death that prevented me from attending Matt and Kim's wedding).

As unconventional as our mother-daughter relationship was for the first 24 years of my life, I take from it only good memories from the years after we rediscovered each other in 1974. The not-so-fabulous memories from my early childhood are vague and distant, and they simply don't matter.