Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Friend Passes, Leaves Behind Laughter, Seed

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Friend Passes, Leaves Behind Laughter, Seed

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, Times-Union staff writer

The last time I saw Dede Loupee, she was laughing.

It was at my expense again.

Sitting at a traffic light two Fridays ago, I began punching buttons on my cell phone. Suddenly there was this face screaming at my passenger window.

After a brief out-of-body experience, I turned and looked. There was Dede with her head thrown back laughing.

I shook my head, gave a dismissive grin and wave and she ran back to her van still laughing.

As a nurse, she was probably administering a random bladder control test. Let's just say I nearly passed.

I wanted to laugh with her at the garden over the weekend, but I didn't see her there. And now I never will because Dede left us the following Tuesday. After she didn't arrive at work, her husband, Paul, rushed home and found her lying on the bedroom floor.

As soon as I heard, I called her father, Devoy Brooks, over in Hickox.

"I've got a fine crop of fall peas putting on leaves in anticipation of her coming and picking. That's not to be,'' he said.

There are a lot things that aren't to be. Paul and Dede have two brilliant and pretty daughters. Hilary, the physicist, will marry next year in Scotland.

"That's all Dede's been talking about. She was happier than I've seen her in a long time,'' Paul said. After the wedding, Dede and her father were going to Belgium, where he was badly wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.

Dede was proud that their other daughter, Olivia James, was teaching.

Paul and Dede went by their garden her last Sunday on earth and picked vegetables. The next day, Dede gave all of it to Olivia, including the peppers that Olivia doesn't eat.

"The last thing we did at the garden was pick eggplant. Then we wandered around Riley's watermelon patch,'' Paul said.

Riley Tyre treated Dede like his own child, tilled her garden and helped her pick. …

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