ForeverMissed
Edwenna Rosser Werner, wife, mother, grandma, and friend; passed away on September 11, 2019, after suffering an aneurysm.
She lived a full life of family, music, friendship, and service to her community. All of us who were lucky enough to know her miss her terribly. We will never forget how she touched our lives, and how she brought us together.

Posted by Alex Werner on May 10, 2020
Picture a wave. In the ocean. You can see it, measure it, its height, the way the sunlight refracts when it passes through. And it's there. And you can see it, you know what it is. It's a wave.

And then it crashes in the shore and it's gone. But the water is still there. The wave was just a different way for the water to be, for a little while. You know it's one conception of death for Buddhists: the wave returns to the ocean, where it came from and where it's supposed to be.

_The Good Place_, based on the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh

Happy Mother's Day, mom. Miss you forever.
Posted by Trish Pengra on January 30, 2020
Michael's science mission, the Spitzer observatory, was decommissioned today in a moving ceremony at JPL celebrating the team's accomplishments and dedication over the missions 16+ years of operation. Many people made note of the incredible sacrifices made by the families of Spitzer team members, Michael among them, telling people how Edwenna stayed behind in Sunnyvale when Michael moved to Pasadena to take up his role as the Project Scientist until she could later follow. It is one of many sacrifices large and small that Edwenna made to enable or improve the lives of others. Bravo to the Spitzer team, with fond memories of Edwenna.
Posted by Cecilia Fox on December 30, 2019
At our book club meetings, we focus on poetry once a year. Edwenna chose to read aloud--& then sing ( unusual), The Owl and the Pussycat. one day. She started, & i joined in. I hardly knew her, yet as she sang like a pied piper--I joined her in song. It was a joyous moment for both of us. During WWII, my mother, a classical singer, sang me (at the piano) all the music she knew by heart, during the long lonely pitch black nights. .  I have that whole library by heart in my mind, as a result, and sang in my h.s. school choir.after the war.
after the war.  (My father a British 8th Army battlefield surgeon was gone in wartime). I don't know the full story of Edwenna, songbird, but it touched me that we shared our love for music in that moment.I later had the pleasure of a summer dinner at Caltech, with the Werners, Axeens, et al.,
, but realized at the magnificent service at Neighborhood Church just
what an extraordinary human we have known and loved. 
   A true woman of worth,
loving, giving with no expectation of reward doing the right thing--
working to heal the world, an ancient dictum.
Posted by Michael Werner on November 26, 2019
These are the comments I made in welcoming the 300+ guests to Edwenna's memorial service - Michael Werner


Good Afternoon

I am Michael Werner, Edwenna’s husband.

On behalf of our family, it is a pleasure to welcome you to this celebration of Edwenna’s remarkable life.

Edwenna was the most modest and self-effacing person. She would have been astounded and pleased to know that so many friends and family would come to her memorial service. She would have been equally astounded to read the letters of love and admiration which so many of you have shared with us. This is just the kind of gathering that she inspired and organized so many times; unfortunately, she is here today only in spirit, but her spirit is strong upon us this afternoon.

I and others have noted that Edwenna was never happier that when she was singing, and it is wonderful that we have members of her two choral homes joining their voices today. Pasadena Pro Musica, her longtime community chorus, has dedicated their first concert of the season, which is tomorrow, to her memory. Details can be found in the memorial booklet; the program includes the Faure Requiem, one of Edwenna’s favorites.  Tomorrow morning, and on subsequent Sundays, the Neighborhood Church Chorus will look and sound a little thinner without Edwenna’s presence and voice, even if she occasionally read the New Yorker during the second service. Edwenna often would tell me after singing on Sunday morning how much she enjoyed sitting with the chorus and looking out at all the friendly and familiar faces in the congregation. Appropriately, many of those friends are here today to honor her memory.

I have frequently pointed out with pride that the breadth and depth of Edwenna’s singing led her to be the only person known to have sung under both Eugene Ormandy, of the Philadelphia Orchestra back in the day, and Gustavo Dudamel, the current conductor of the LA Philharmonic. Sadly, nobody other than myself, not even Edwenna, has ever found this factoid the least bit interesting, but I am giving it one last chance.

Even as we hear about Edwenna’s accomplishments, I will also cherish the quiet times we spent together. These included lunch on our back porch featuring Edwenna’s incomparable grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. I must have had over one thousand of these during the 50+ years we were married, and each one was better than the last.

I wish to quote my good friend Larry Caroff, a familiar figure to the astronomers amongst you and, coincidentally, a Swarthmore classmate of my sister, Rosemary. In reference to Edwenna he said “…she made the world a better place through her presence and her deeds..” These words will be echoed in the remembrances to be shared today by friends and family.

Again, thank you for joining us. We hope to greet you at the reception following the ceremony.
Posted by Brenda Rosser on October 31, 2019
I met Edwenna and Michael two years ago in Hobart Tasmania where we spent a few days together in a little terrace house from which we explored some of the cultural and historic sites in the region. It was immediately clear to me that Edwenna and Michael's affection and connection for and with each other ran very deep. Both shared an intense curiosity about everything and an abiding consideration for others. Edwenna's real strength surely lay in the love and grace that radiated out from her. She brought people together, no matter their disparate backgrounds. [Edwenna was so strong! How could she go so soon? Her sheer physical energy surprised me, as I struggled to keep pace with her...!] I'm very, very sorry to hear of her passing. My condolences go out to Michael and Barkley and to Erica and Alex and grandchildren. With all their stories go Edwenna's story.
Posted by Giulio Ongaro on October 27, 2019
I met Edwenna when I started working on curriculum at USC and she was on the staff. In a very short time I started appreciating the amazing command of the issues she had. I learned an awful lot from her and from her capacity to analyze, know the rules and regulations, etc., and since I was the inexperienced chair of a sub-committee she saved me from a variety of missteps. But what I appreciate more than that was her spirit, the way she went about her work, her mind, and I began to really appreciate Edwenna the person. After leaving USC I went back a few times to her office just to say hi, because she was really a special person and I was very fond of her.
Posted by Fred Geldon on October 26, 2019
For the past month I’ve been processing our loss, and want to express some personal thoughts.
I’ve known Edwenna and Michael for about 50 years, beginning in Berkeley and continuing through our lunch in Bethesda (with my wife Anne and their friend Sandra) one day before the tragic event. Michael was my physics graduate school mentor at Berkeley, and our relationship continued after I left Berkeley and physics (through no fault of Michael!) I stayed at their house in Pasadena on visits to take the California Bar Exam and to see my son’s (graduate) school (University of Texas) play in the Rose Bowl for the national championship (twice!) And there were countless walks with Edwenna and Anne in D.C. and Maryland - touristy and otherwise - when Olive and Lucy gave Edwenna a few hours off.
Most of all I was fortunate to be able to travel with Edwenna and Mike on five different Backroads hiking trips, in four continents. Edwenna was a terrific traveler and travel companion. She would make the hotel arrangements for the pre- and post- Backroads segments (the only requirement was a swimming pool) – always making sure they were acceptable to Mike and me (they always were). She would read and carry the travel books (especially Lonely Planet) and cultural background books, and share their insights during our trips. And she would keep a travelogue during our trips, bequeathing us a journal of memories.
So many travel highlights would not have happened but for Edwenna: The Book of Kells in Dublin, the Majorelle Gardens in Marakesh, seeing (and canoeing under) the Pont de Gard in Provence, the Marais (and Berthillon ice cream, for which Mike shares the credit) in Paris, the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, and the Sanjusangenko Temple of a Thousand Buddhas in Kyoto.
Others have called Edwenna the Energizer Bunny. Traveling, she was the energizer bunny on steroids. Not a minute was wasted. Arriving in Paris in the afternoon, “forget 9-hours of jet lag, let’s go to the Pompidou Center,” (while Michael wisely rested). Walking all over Tokyo and seeing the busiest intersection in the world. Beginning each day with a swim – and then swimming with the ice cubes in the Atlantic off Ireland’s Ring of Kerry. And being a good sport when I dragged her on an hour-long search for the Paris open air stamp market made famous in the movie “Charade,” and when we walked two miles on the Las Vegas strip to see the Bellagio fountains – definitely outside her (and Mike’s) comfort zone.
I miss her so.
Posted by Michael Werner on October 24, 2019
I’ve known Edwenna since we sang together under Paul Verwoerk, years ago, and though I’m sure I never knew her as deeply as many of you, I’ve always had a deep affection and respect for who I saw she was – so enviably self-disciplined, such a fierce advocate for what was decent and right, in her world view (which happened to coincide with mine), and yet such unmitigated cheerfulness in the face of all. Her zest for life, her tactfulness, her intellect….I could go on and on….

It’s clear Edwenna touched many, many lives with hers, and she will be sorely missed by us all.

From Susan Judy, fellow singer, Santa Cruz chorale alumna, and Disapora member
Posted by Sandra Barkan on October 24, 2019
I will not be able to be at the memorial for Edwenna, but I will be thinking of her and missing her. I will miss her visits to DC, carefully planned in advance, with priority time for Erica, Bill and her much loved granddaughters, and notes about when she could be free to spend time with me and what she would like to do. It was a schedule that always included swimming. And she was so pleased when she found an underused pool near Erica's house. Sometimes she walked substantial distances in cold, nasty weather to join me. And she would wear her sneakers to fancier restaurants and apologize for them, but they made it possible for her to walk to get there. As others have noted, she was a woman with deep interest in many things, who got much pleasure from her music, and political activities, and travels with the extended family and friends, and contributing to Bob Putnam's work to the extent she did, and doing things with Rosemary, She took in all that she experienced and shared it, along with her great care for others. We need many, many more people like her. Her sudden, unexpected, too soon departure leaves a big hole not only for her family, but also for her friends.
Posted by Stephanie Tombrello on October 19, 2019
I heard loud voices in the flat above the former coal cellar in which I lived, ran outside to climb the outside stairs, and get to the flat above--much nicer--to find Edwenna expostulating with the woman she found sleeping there: my mother who was visiting Cambridge from the U.S. We knew the flat was unoccupied so had taken advantage! From that lively beginning, Edwenna and Mike were our friends, bringing Erica as an infant to sleep at our Altadena home, discussing the appropriate safety seat for Alexander, and intersecting when I could come to hear the beautiful music she made and so enjoyed. A dinner party--go to Edwenna's; a political gathering which would bring real fruits--go to Edwenna's, enjoy a good laugh, talk about grandchildren--a favorite, I could go on. Losing Edwenna as a presence is a shock, but we will continue to be guided by her example of "doing the most good one can......... as long as ever one can." And that is a gift that does not disappear.
Posted by Trish Pengra on October 17, 2019
My husband sometimes call me the Energizer bunny but I more than met my match in Edwenna after moving several years ago from the east coast to Pasadena. I had known Michael from working at NASA in Washington, DC on the agency’s Great Observatories and reconnected with him as he was biking home from the Athanaeum one summer evening. Soon after, I met Edwenna and almost right away I found myself volunteering to register voters, guide 5th graders through the Norton Simon’s masterpieces, and attempt to keep up with her playing piano duets or games. She introduced me to the Pasadena Pro Musica and we attended all her concerts. She was an amazing cook and host, generous, warm and funny. I loved to look at her photos of Olive and Lucy and was with her in the car when she had her first facetime encounter with baby Rose.

She leaves an unexpectedly large hole in my heart after having known her such a relatively short time, but I am so glad to have had the time we shared. When I think of her, I always see her smile.
Posted by Linda Simmons on October 7, 2019
    Edwenna was my fellow Energizer Bunny with whom I worked closely since 1989 on many a Pasadena Pro Musica project. As a result, we were in near-daily contact with all of our behind-the-scenes work on behalf of the chorus. I couldn’t have asked for a better collaborator on the many projects we undertook.
    Edwenna, it was a joy and honor to have worked with you for nearly 30 years. Your intellect, combined with a heart metaphorically as large as the Grand Canyon, and your joie de vivre made life better for all of us who knew and loved you. If you had ever taken time from your busy schedule to look back on your life, you most assuredly could say it was a life well spent. We miss you greatly. Rest well, dear friend.
Posted by Michael Werner on October 6, 2019
I posted this on behalf of John Herring, who taught ESL with Edwenna for many years....Michael

I have enjoyed working with Edwenna in ESL classes for many years now. She is a great teacher and well liked by her students. I came to know Edwenna as she and my wife Ellen worked together for many years. After Ellen died in 2014, Edwenna took me to Huntington Gardens, Descanso Gardens, and Norton Simon Museum. And she often came to my house and we walked and talked. I appreciate all that she did. 

Most recently, we were co-teaching the level 1 ESL class at La Pintoresca Library. When we started up the Fall term three weeks ago, most of the students knew Edwenna from the Spring term. Margarita asked where Edwenna was. After I told her, she explained to the class in Spanish. The class will go on, but we will miss her.

I also benefited from your grapefruit tree, and the delicious fruit it produced.

John Herring

Michael adds: Edwenna loved grapefruit...she had one very day of the year...often from our remarkably fecund grapefruit tree, which had plenty left over for John Herring as well.
Posted by Tim Bresnahan on October 2, 2019
I had the great good fortune to work closely with Edwenna when she was at Stanford. She over-achieved as our departent administrator, making both the simple routine tasks of university life and the difficult scary ones go right. More importantly, she was a ray of light every day in the office, creating an atmosphere that was upbeat, positive, friendly and productive too. All different kinds of folks, faculty, students, staff, with all different kinds of crises and challenges, benefited both from her calm effectiveness and from her human warmth. We have lost a great friend and a great human being. 
Posted by Nancy Holland on October 2, 2019
Edwenna was full of light, song, and energy. She filled a room with her smile. I am so grateful for her friendship, her fervent passion about politics, her intellectual conversations. She and I enjoyed many a walk and lunch and sharing in the USC Rose Garden. What a gift she was to all of us.

Bless her.
Posted by John Shoven on September 27, 2019
I was Chairman of the Department of Economics at Stanford from 1986 to 1989. In 1986, I posted a job for the Department Administrator, the top staff position in the department. Edwenna applied for the job. She listed Gavin Wright as a reference so I went to him and asked him what he thought of her.  His answer was clear - she is great at everything!  She was vastly overqualified for the job, but I hired her anyway.  And, Gavin was right (and Wright). She was absolutely super.  She was smart, nice, incredibly energetic, fun to work with,...., the best. We stayed in touch for the subsequent 30 years. 

Let me share a little bit of an email she sent me this May about a trip up to the Bay Area on May 28th on the occasion of my retirement.  Here goes  "I would love to have lunch on Tuesday. My plane arrives at SJC at 10:15, which should give me plenty of time to get to Alexander and Karen's house in Santa Clara (they are very close to the airport), see Rose, and then get to Stanford. I'll rent or borrow a car, or Uber (if parking is hard). Do you know if Susan Maher is invited to the reception? I might try to see her between lunch and the reception, or some friends in Menlo Park--or, of course, Cathe and Gavin, unless they're busy preparing the reception. As you know, no grass grows under my feet."  I don't know about you, but I think that captures quite a bit of the amazing Edwenna.  I am tired just reading how she planned to use every minute of the day catching up with family and friends. 

She made my life richer. We lost a treasure of a person.  But, an unforgettable one who never, ever got old.  John
Posted by Michael Werner on September 24, 2019
Song – by May Sarton
Read by Sara Willard at a remembrance for Edwenna

Now let us honor with violin and flute
A woman set so deeply in devotion
That three times blasted to the root
Still she grew green and poured strength out.

Still she stood fair, providing the cool shade,
Compassion, the thousand leaves of mercy
The cherishing green hope. Still like a tree she stood,
Clear comfort in the town ad all the neighborhood

Pure as the tree is young, young
As the tree forever young, magnanimous
And natural, sweetly serving: for her the song,
For her the flute sound and the violin be strung.
For her all love, all praise
All honor, as for trees
In the hot summer days
Posted by Michael Werner on September 24, 2019
I have a kinda “thing” for curmudgeons. I imagine throwing a curmudegeon party where everyone is grump, mobody speaks, and everyone looks like they wish they weren’t there. Edwenna, of course, wouldn’t be invited. Michael maybe, but certainly not Edwenna.
For the curmudgeon within me, Edwenna might even have seemed a little nosey. Why does she want to know what I’m doing, and whether I was happy?’
The simple answer is that Edwenna was a people person. She loved to communicate - to share what she’d learned and learned from what was shared. Her curiosity expanded her understanding, her wisdom, and, perhaps most of all, her compassion.
I will miss Edwenna’s inquiring mind and her kind, compassionate heart.
Theo Primes – fellow traveler with the Santa Cruz Chorale
Posted by Jo'Ann De Quattro on September 21, 2019
Of all the wonderful photos displayed to remember Edwenna, photo #39 epitomizes the Edwenna I was privileged to know through her participation in the home-building project that members of her church worked on in Tijuana. That photo, tossing that bucket, for me, shows the ACTION that was Edwenna!

While I was employed at Neighborhood, Edwenna put her energy and ACTION into every aspect of church life. If a project needed some contribution, whoosh, in came Edwenna, dropped off whatever, said a few words, and was off to her next life event.

What I will always see, when I think of Edwenna, is her lovely, ready smile. I can only begin to imagine the hole that her sudden death has left in her immediate family. I have listened to members of her church family who are reeling with the shock of its suddenness. For those who knew Edwenna's love of life and and her love of you, my hope and prayer is that you will also be able to smile as you remember the beautiful smile that was Edwenna.

Peace and blessings to all, especially Michael, your children and grandchildren.
Posted by Debra Cohn on September 19, 2019
Because of Edwina, my own activism was so much more productive. She was an inspiration. I am so sorry to hear of her passing. We must all strive to put more into the world of what we lost with her passing.
Posted by Jason Berlin on September 18, 2019
I was so sorry to hear this. Edwenna was in it to win it until the end! She always showed up to voter drives in the 39th, fanny pack like Batman's utility belt, and using the GPS on her smartphone. She was so capable and positive, and wouldn't let anything stand in her way. She was so about the work - and about making the world a better place. I always wanted to hang out a little more and joke with her, but she preferred to get right out there and register some more Democrats! She had more energy than the whole rest of the group put together. That energy was contagious, and inspiring, and wonderful to be around. She was a hero who helped us flip the 39th, flip the House, and pull our country back from the brink. And all of our continuing activism - we do it for Edwenna too now, and hopefully with a tenth of Edwenna's determination. Thank you Edwenna - we love you!!!
Posted by Leonard Barkan on September 15, 2019
At Swarthmore, and then again at Harvard, Edwenna was the big sister I had always dreamed of having, and we continued our friendship in the nearly sixty years that followed. Colleague and fellow-sufferer/adventurer as we attempted to fix one corner of America by teaching at a historically black college in the very difficult summer of 1965. Musical polymath who went on organ tours and could hum and whistle at the same time in a round. French conversation partner. Discoverer of just the right music—Debussy’s Waltz “La plus que lente”—to go with a one-act I directed at Harvard; she recorded it on some kind of hurdy gurdy, such that its melody lingered in my head to this day (n.b.: it was the only good thing about that production, possibly the only good thing about Harvard). Beneficiary, and guinea pig, along with Ann Graybiel, of my earliest attempts at serious cooking, which she praised far more than they deserved. Tried out on me a hundred “famous” tunes, which she played on the kazoo, to see if any of them stimulated me to say, “Ooh, ooh, it’s on the tip of my tongue,” but in every single case I either knew it or (more often) didn’t know it, so that I was a useless psychological subject.  Brilliance worn with almost too much reticence. Watching her as she found the love of Michael, then of two terrific children, brought me (and so many others) joy.
Posted by Erin Lindsay on September 13, 2019
Ah, Edwenna...de Benneville Pines will not be the same without you. I'm so happy that we were able to run into you with your grandchildren at Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C. in August! I'm glad I didn't know then that it would be the last time I saw you. Next time I take a walk I will walk a little faster because that will make me smile as I think of the energy you have always shared. I promise that, given the chance, we will make Michael some guacamole. Goodness...I miss you so...
Posted by Kenneth Servis on September 13, 2019
I had the pleasure of working with Edwenna for many years. Her helpful suggestions were always on point but rarely brief. She was confident, direct and usually right. She took special pleasure in her friends and family and especially her granddaughters. She will live on in our memories.
Posted by Brian Smith on September 13, 2019
Edwenna was a wonderful lady who was always welcoming of Alex's friends. I remember coming to Pasadena to stay with Alex one weekend and being impressed with her regular swim workouts in an infinite pool (long before I tried training with any regularity). I looked forward to seeing her and Michael at least once a year at the WAKWM event where they would regularly trounce us in trivia.
Posted by Samantha Clements on September 13, 2019
I was lucky to work with Edwenna for several years in several different roles. She was one of the kindest people I have ever had the fortune to work with. She had a tough streak that I will always admire but her heart was pure gold. She would do anything she could to help me out when I needed it. Even though she wasn't the most tech-savvy person I worked with, she had tremendous patience in trying to understand and had a fantastic sense of humour about it. It's been a while since I saw her as I moved away from L.A. but we exchanged Christmas cards every year and I will miss the updates she would send about her life. May she rest in eternal peace.
Posted by Janice Partyka on September 13, 2019
Edwenna is one of the most unusual people I've ever know. Not many deep thinkers have the energy, passion, persistence and dedication she possessed. Edwenna was the 21rst century renaissance woman, avid in her passion for music, art, athleticism, intellectual life, travel, cooking, family, politics and volunteerism.  Like many people, I wondered how she accomplished so much in a day. What an inspiration.

I had the good fortune of knowing Edwenna through our church, as well as through USC. It was always a delight if Edwenna and Michael were at a USC event. At church we served together on the camp committee. She worked on this summer's camp, knowing she would be with Erica and unable to attend. In past years she had led a long hike and we chuckled at her ribbing that we had shorted the hike this year.  In the future, I think we will need to call the hike, "Edwenna's Hike."

My first encounter with Edwenna was when she led a group of us to a shelter for battered women. We brought dinner and talked with the resident women and children who were initially a bit skeptical at our appearance, but were quickly won over by Edwenna. They felt comfortable in her presence and opened up about their experiences. 

These past two weeks have been spent under a dark cloud. Our lives are lessened. I will miss Edwenna and send my love to Michael and the family.

Posted by Yvonne Pendleton on September 13, 2019
Edwenna and Mike Werner welcomed me into the wonderful Werner home so many times over the years as I worked through my PhD program (made possible with Mike’s sage advice throughout the journey). She always inspired me with her boundless energy, realistic and authentic take on the world, and optimism for a better tomorrow. She took such excellent care of everyone around her, including herself, and that always struck me as truly “leading by example”. My heart is breaking as I consider the massive black hole her passing leaves behind on planet Earth, especially for her dear, loving and devoted husband and children. I will miss you, too, Edwenna, and I thank you so very much for sharing your goodness with me so many years ago, and for so many years since we first met. 
Posted by Amy Kampf on September 12, 2019
My first thought when I recall Edwenna is her warmth in welcoming me, her son's roommate, to her home for Thanksgiving. It was more than twenty years ago. That weekend was filled with a warm welcome, walks through the garden, energetic tours through the city, lively conversation, and a generous spirit.

She has always made me feel a part of the family.

As a recent graduate from college, she represented so much of what I was inspired to grow up to be.... politically passionate, deeply engaged with family, intellectually curious, physically active, participating joyfully in the creative arts and consistentally treating others with a kind heart.

I am so grateful to have had her be an ongoing presence in my life. She has inspired me to pursue swimming, choir, political action, and so much more.

I am saddened to think that her gingersnap cookies, warm heart, enthusiasm and keen mind will no longer be at our annual gathering for WAWKM.
Posted by Kimberly Enriquez on September 12, 2019
Oh Edwenna... I will miss you so much! You dedicated so many years to coming and reading to my class. I looked forward to seeing you every week! There are no words to tell you how much you will be missed! You were an amazing woman who touched so many lives with your kindness, compassion and loving heart! I am so blessed to have known you. Prayers to your friends and family.
Posted by Carla Perez on September 13, 2019
I am not able to wrap my mind around your passing at all! I already feel the loss of your infectious vitality. I am sad beyond expression but I will continue to do as you always encouraged me and as you did...I will sing, love, share and encourage others until my last breath. You made life beautiful for those around you - Thank you.

I love you, Edwenna and look forward to seeing you again wherever that may be.

Your friend, Carla Jamie
Posted by Frank Chang on September 12, 2019
Those of us who had an opportunity to closely work with Edwenna remember her energy, wisdom, humor, and kindness. She improved everything she touched. We will miss her dearly.
Posted by Karen Werner on September 12, 2019
How lucky I feel to have had Edwenna as a mother-in-law. Her enthusiasm and unflagging energy will be sorely missed. We had a lot in common, including a love of choral singing, of reading, cooking and travelling.

I asked her once if she'd enjoyed visiting rainforests during her travels. "No," she replied, "all the trees get in the way of the view."

(When I related this story to a friend, in Edwenna's presence, she denied all memory of having produced such a bon mot.)

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Alex Werner on May 10, 2020
Picture a wave. In the ocean. You can see it, measure it, its height, the way the sunlight refracts when it passes through. And it's there. And you can see it, you know what it is. It's a wave.

And then it crashes in the shore and it's gone. But the water is still there. The wave was just a different way for the water to be, for a little while. You know it's one conception of death for Buddhists: the wave returns to the ocean, where it came from and where it's supposed to be.

_The Good Place_, based on the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh

Happy Mother's Day, mom. Miss you forever.
Posted by Trish Pengra on January 30, 2020
Michael's science mission, the Spitzer observatory, was decommissioned today in a moving ceremony at JPL celebrating the team's accomplishments and dedication over the missions 16+ years of operation. Many people made note of the incredible sacrifices made by the families of Spitzer team members, Michael among them, telling people how Edwenna stayed behind in Sunnyvale when Michael moved to Pasadena to take up his role as the Project Scientist until she could later follow. It is one of many sacrifices large and small that Edwenna made to enable or improve the lives of others. Bravo to the Spitzer team, with fond memories of Edwenna.
Posted by Cecilia Fox on December 30, 2019
At our book club meetings, we focus on poetry once a year. Edwenna chose to read aloud--& then sing ( unusual), The Owl and the Pussycat. one day. She started, & i joined in. I hardly knew her, yet as she sang like a pied piper--I joined her in song. It was a joyous moment for both of us. During WWII, my mother, a classical singer, sang me (at the piano) all the music she knew by heart, during the long lonely pitch black nights. .  I have that whole library by heart in my mind, as a result, and sang in my h.s. school choir.after the war.
after the war.  (My father a British 8th Army battlefield surgeon was gone in wartime). I don't know the full story of Edwenna, songbird, but it touched me that we shared our love for music in that moment.I later had the pleasure of a summer dinner at Caltech, with the Werners, Axeens, et al.,
, but realized at the magnificent service at Neighborhood Church just
what an extraordinary human we have known and loved. 
   A true woman of worth,
loving, giving with no expectation of reward doing the right thing--
working to heal the world, an ancient dictum.
her Life
1966 - Moved to Ithaca where Michael was finishing grad school.
Septermber 23, 1967 - Married Michael in Ithaca (coincidentally, the same city in which she was born)
Spring 1966 - Fell in love with Michael over a few months, after he wrote to her following a stay in the hospital -- he had had colon surgery, and after their one and only date in 1965 she had sent an ad clipped from the news paper saying “don’t let a bad colon ruin a good life”. The deal was sealed during a camping trip with the Putnams, during which he read Winnie the Pooh stories, adopting different voices for the different characters.


Recent stories

In Remembrance of Edwenna by high school friend Bob Shaw

Shared by Michael Werner on October 24, 2019

I first “encountered” Eddie on the first day of high school in 1955.  “Encounter” is the right word because this ball of red-headed energy was quite simply a phenomenon!  We were in virtually every class together for all four years and she sparkled the whole time! I used to wonder if she ever slept or had a down moment.  Eddie seemed to absorb knowledge effortlessly while the rest of us worked hard to stay in the “smart group” of friends. We were both honored as “Girl/Boy of the Month” in senior year and were both voted “most studious” by our classmates, but somehow for her that seemed completely inevitable, whereas for me it was an unexpected surprise.  She was also voted “most likely to succeed” along with our friend George Peterson.


After high school we went in different directions for college and grad school.  It was not until 1968-69 that we reconnected in, of all places Cambridge, U.K. I was a postdoc at the Cavendish Laboratory and unbeknownst to me, Michael was post docing at the university’s astronomy department.  One day we were all at some kind of reception for visiting scholars and there, lo and behold, was Edwenna, lightlng up the room as usual. My wife Anne, who was a postdoc at the Dunn Nutritional Lab in Cambridge met Eddie for the first time and I met Michael.  We met socially with the Werners during our remaining time at Cambridge and vowed to stay in touch after returning to the U.S., albeit living on different coasts. Over the next 50 years we enjoyed visits to each other’s homes and exchanged holiday greeting cards and letters every year, so we stayed current as our children were born, schooled, took jobs and had wonderful children themselves.  We waited eagerly each year to get Edwenna’s holiday letters, which always sparkled and described all the amazing trips around the world that she and Michael took, their musical activities and her take on the political scene.


When Erica and family set up shop in D.C ., Eddie would visit often and sometimes those visits would coincide with our being at our D.C. apartment, so we would get together for lunch or dinner or a museum/garden visit.  I last saw Edwenna on June 23 – she was her usual vibrant self, and we shared updates on our grandkids, what we were looking forward to doing in the summer, and our mutual concerns about the state of the country and the world.  There was no hint that I would never see Edwenna again. Anne and I were on a 55th wedding anniversary trip when Eddie was struck down.  It was nearly two weeks before we knew what had happened, but I told Michael about an amazing experience in which Edwenna was present to me at exactly the time she was dying.


I, like all of you, will miss her greatly, but the indelible imprint she made on my life will be with me always.


With love, 

Bob Shaw

Grandmothers together...

Shared by Jo Margeson on October 24, 2019
I will greatly miss Edwenna.  We were grandmothers together; we shared the opinion that our two granddaughters are beautiful and exceptional (we said other grandmas might feel that way but ours really are special)  Edwenna generously shared stories and photos of Lucy and Olive from her visits with them. She always took time to write the daily details that another grandmother would treasure and I did!   Through Edwenna’s eyes and ears I could be part of our granddaughters’ life even though I was 2800 miles away. She loved her granddaughters. Edwenna is gone yet I can see her continuing on in Olive’s and Lucy’s lives.  Thank you Edwenna for the wonderful start you gave for our granddaughters.

A great Host and a great Mother, my host-mother Edwenna

Shared by Cecilia Pagliari on October 16, 2019
          It is tough to describe what I felt when finding out about Edweenna leaving us. My throat had a knot for days.
For some, it might be hard to understand the love I have for Edwenna; I know some of you do. She was a mother to me for one year, an extraordinary year where, at times, she was more present, affectionate, and decisive than my own. Her energy inspired me in so many ways, her patience, and her love. She always had time and space for me, she taught me so many things, from English to cooking (I still use the Family Cookbook that I was honored to receive in 1990), from gardening to classical music (which only now I get!). However, most importantly, to show love and respect for the less fortunate, to see the other person for what it was, a person beyond color and country. Edwenna was open-minded, altruistic, and dedicated.
I always say that in my life, there was a before and after my stay with the Werners. I wish I have said this to her earlier.

Here in the far far South corner of South America,  we will miss Edwenna's Christmas letter so much! to say the least...