Eulogy on Behalf of Coworkers
by Linda Eby
There is a scripture that calls us to let our light shine before others in such a way that they will see our good works and glorify God in heaven. Miriam’s light shone brightly and God was glorified in her life every day.
It is hard to talk about Miriam’s career without talking about her as a devoted mother, friend and woman of God. They were all intertwined in Miriam’s heart, and together, made her the consummate professional.
Miriam entered my world in 1991 when she joined the school counselor ranks in Gresham-Barlow School District. The district knew immediately what a treasure they had in Miriam and made her mentor to many new school counselors as they were hired into the district. Even those who were not in an officially designated mentoring relationship with Miriam would point to her as a mentor, myself included. Many are here to honor her life today.
Miriam was a woman of quality character and excellence in whatever she did. She carried herself with the utmost integrity, a model to all of us in our professional community. She was a woman of vision in her work and in her life. Miriam was a natural encourager to anyone who came into her sphere of influence, whether teacher, parent, student or fellow counselor. To be around Miriam was to be uplifted and encouraged professionally and to receive a personal measure of inspiration and grace as well.
Story: (A 5th grader who met her goal on statewide tests and celebrated although she did not meet benchmark. She had a reason to celebrate because she had exceeded her own personal goal, set with Miriam. She couldn’t wait to share her success with Miriam when she saw her at an assembly the next day.)
Miriam modeled the importance of quality school counseling, serving in a variety of leadership capacities. The Oregon Department of Education chose Gresham-Barlow School District to be among the first districts to roll out the new Oregon State School Counseling Framework. They chose the first districts to participate based upon school counseling leadership in the district. And Miriam was a well-respected leader in the district and in the state. She was named as the Oregon School Counselor Association Elementary School Counselor of the year in 2003 and served on the Oregon School Counselor Association board for a number of years, including as the organization’s President from 2005-6.
Story: (Two on a crayon-one piece of paper, one crayon, two hands, one from each of us. I was paired with Miriam. She took off and when I decided it was my turn to contribute, I discovered Miriam’s strength and resolve. What resulted was not pretty, as far as our drawing, but it led to a great partnership in co-presenting.)
Miriam believed in sharing her wisdom and skills for the benefit and professional enhancement of those she taught. She presented locally and nationally on topics from Parenting with Love and Logic to Comprehensive School Counseling and Guidance Programs. She presented at conferences, schools, churches and colleges. It wasn’t very long ago that Miriam and I had the privilege of co-training on Discipline with Love and Logic with a group of volunteers working to share God’s love with victims of human trafficking.
Miriam had a passion to see the work in which she invested herself grow and move forward. A number of years ago, in a conversation I won’t forget, Miriam shared how important it was to her that we have the opportunity to transfer our wisdom to others who would continue the work and carry it on. She felt her job was not done until others had moved up confidently and competently to take the lead. My life has been radically changed due to Miriam’s influence, and I know I am not alone in saying this. Miriam has left a professional and personal legacy from which we continue to learn and from which we will reap benefits for many years to come.
Miriam modeled God’s grace, commitment and love in her life. It may have been one of her strongest influences in her work and her impact on us. She always beamed as she shared about the love she had for God, her husband, boys, grandchildren and extended family. In Proverbs 31, an excellent wife is described. While my part is to tell you about Miriam, the professional woman, there are a couple of verses in Proverbs 31 that describe her so beautifully in every role of her life. Verses 25 and 26 say it perfectly: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” This was true of Miriam in every area of her life, including her career.
I have every confidence that Miriam, my sweet sister in Jesus, was greeted by the Lord on Saturday evening with… “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Linda Eby, Middle School Counselor
Friend and Sister in Christ