Wednesday, June 24, 2009

St. John's Day, 2004

June 24th is St. John's Day and often you can find St. John's Wort blooming around here at this time of year. 5 years ago, it was on this day that my mother, Dr. Sybil G. deGroot passed away. She was 78 years old.

My mom was one of the most remarkable people you could ever meet; in her youth she had been a Rockette at the Radio City Music Hall, later she became the first woman in the U.S. to hold a Doctorate in Engineering Psychology (which is also known as Human Factors and Ergonomics).

To try to sum up her brilliant life and career in just a few sentences seems so inadequate and trite. After 5 years I still can't find the words. Even what I wrote in my book isn't enough:

"Those who knew her will agree, my mother led a most remarkable life. Highly intellectual and only sometimes circumspect about it, she was a curious blend of scientist and social butterfly. Her eyes flashed sage green whether engaged in scholarly pursuit or dancing a fandango on the neighbor's coffee table. I will always miss her."


Tini said...

I'm sending you 24908098 Billion hugs in this second. Even if we miss people, they are still in our heart.

I'd love to have met you mum!

Unknown said...


Your mother was my major advisor in psychology at MSU in 1971-2. She WAS wonderful. Her hot flash in the middle of a meeting with her took me very much by surprise as it was the middle of the winter, the window was thrown open with a flourish, and all was good again. I didn't actually know that she had been a Rockette, but she certainly had joie de vie and taught me much. I had not thought of her in a long time. I understand how she could leave a great mark on your life and see her in your picture. I wish I could have known her longer and understand your sense of loss.

Randy Hurst

angela said...
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