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PORTSMOUTH At sunrise on June 2, 2011, Amy Ruth Bettcher, 34, took her Nana Ruth’s outstretched hand and followed her into Heaven. But this is not an obituary, this is a thank you note to God.

When Amy was born on Sept. 16, 1976, she brought immense joy to her family. It was clear that she loved being around people, and it was also clear that she was to be a student of life. Reading, people watching, and listening were what entertained her in her early years. She often preferred the company of adults to children and delighted in family stories and family history.

As she grew she became interested in the visual art of fashion, and when she graduated from Portsmouth High School she worked for her mentor, Jari Ford, at a popular downtown boutique. Then, at the age of 20 she went to New York City to attend The Fashion Institute of Technology, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in 2002. Amy’s career was in fashion production and she worked for Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Coach; handbags were her passion.

Another passion was travel and she loved beach destinations like Aruba, St. Maarten and Mexico. Her trip to Ireland with dear friends was incredibly special as well. Happily, she was able to enjoy sunny Mexico just a few months ago, and was healthy enough to fly to her Aunt Lin’s dance competition in New Jersey. Thank you for that time.

Last July when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, her true spirit emerged. Her wisdom and her courage inspired everyone; her family watched in awe as she fought valiantly to live her best life. Her oncology team at Brigham and Women’s, including Dr. Ursula Matulonis, Dr. Cathy Early, loved her and cared for her with compassion and admiration. She showed up each week for her chemo treatments armed with her eye mask and her Kindle prepared to do battle. Amy never cried, she never complained and she never asked, “Why me?” Instead she simply carried on, always mindful that her sadness would sadden others.

By December it appeared that she had triumphed over her disease. Her family celebrated a very joyous and spiritual Christmas when she came home from Brigham and Women’s Hospital on December 25. But, on March 21 Amy was told the cancer had returned. The ride home from Boston that day was gut wrenching, and Amy, her dad Ken, and her mom, Lynda,
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talked very little. Once at home Amy barked, “Don’t forget tonight we are going to see The Godfather at the Music Hall,” because that is how life is supposed to be lived.

Over the following months her family began to understand that Amy’s time here would be short, so they cherished every moment. Her mother reminded her that perhaps we here on earth have it all wrong. Maybe those who go to Heaven first are the very special, the very lucky ones. Amy always was too gentle for this earth.

And so, Amy’s family is feeling not only her loss, but also the magnitude of her 34 years of life. They are so thankful for every minute of those years and are very grateful she was born into their family.

She is loved passionately by mother, Lynda (McCormack) Bettcher and father, Kenneth Bettcher of Portsmouth; brother, Theodore Bettcher, his wife, Jessica, and their daughter, Sailor, of Kittery; dear friends, Michelle Muchmore and Andrea Bridges in Portsmouth and Lynn Freidus, Sarah Karwoski and Kat Byrne in New York City, as well as many uncles, aunts, and cousins.

She was predeceased by grandparents, Ruth and John McCormack of Nashua, and grandparents, Edna and Theodore Bettcher of Portsmouth. When Amy arrived in Heaven on June 2nd she finally got to meet Grandpa Ted and all the other relatives she never knew. It must have been a glorious reunion.

Donations in Amy’s name may be made to the following organizations. Portsmouth High School Library, 50 Andrew Jarvis Drive, Portsmouth, NH 03801 ATTN: Martha Rahn/Amy Bettcher; Dana Farber Cancer Institute, ATTN: Donor Services, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, Mass. 02445, (Include a cover note stating the donation is in the name of Amy Bettcher to support the research of Dr. Ursula Matulonis).
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