February 14, 2009

My Guy - Gene DeWitt

Dear friends,

I am posting this message to all of you who knew my husband, Gene DeWitt. As I did not get the opportunity to see some of you at the funeral, I wanted to thank you for sharing in my family’s celebration of Gene’s life. I especially hope that you enjoyed the music because music was so important to Gene, and he requested that it be a special part of his service.

While you all are probably very familiar with Gene’s accomplished career, you may not be aware of his love for his family and New York City, which I believe is worth sharing and I hope somewhat inspirational to you.

Gene and I are joined in our family by five daughters, three husbands and one to be, and a darling 11-month-old grandson, Cooper, who Gene adored. Gene was active in keeping our family together as a group and called for each of us to be extraordinary individuals. Gene loved us all unselfishly and was a great role model for any father or grandfather. Gene always pushed us to learn more, too. One summer, he had us all read Shakespeare, another Faulkner. He was also keen on getting conversations and debates started on topics ranging from politics, to art, to music.

My story with Gene is of a real old-fashioned romance; it’s about love at first site and the magic of New York City. When I met Gene, I had the sensation of meeting a great man with powerful ideas. We took advantage of everything the city has to offer, both as a couple and with our children. It was not a rare occasion to have the ballet, opera, a class at NYU and a dinner with friends all in one week. Gene was fond of saying that we had spent 35 years together in our true 7 ½ years. Based on all this experience, I was lucky enough to have Gene dub me as a quintessential New Yorker this New Years Eve.

Gene was incredibly courageous during his battle with lymphoma and later pancreatic cancer. He was always willing to try new treatments and never gave up the fight, even in his last days. He also made it important to understand his disease and to not become a victim of it. Lastly, as I’m sure many of you experienced through the years, he never let his life become about cancer. He still enjoyed all the city had to offer and time with our family. Gene was still Gene, he was not a cancer patient.

Gene loved life and lived it in a big way. I hope you all will help me carry on this legacy by following his example.

With warm regards and appreciation,

Dianne DeWitt