She Is Worth Far More Than Rubies: My Tribute to Barbara Pomerance

Baruch Dayan Ha’emet:
Barbara Pomerance

Professor Joe Goldblatt

How many dozens of times did I hear my friend of forty years quote a Washington Post newspaper story about one of the events we produced together? The reporter described our gala grand opening of the Hyatt Regency Bethesda Hotel as “An event that would even make Walt Disney blush!”

Barbara Pomerance was a widely respected and greatly renowned publicist, public relations consultant, and she was one of my closest friends. Therefore, when the Washington Post praised our work in this way I was delighted because she had worked so hard to achieve this kind of positive copy that money could not purchase. Such was her life. As stated in Proverbs, she was more precious than even rubies.

We first met through a phone call to my company asking if I was available to attend a meeting to discuss providing the live events for a beauty exposition to be held at the Washington DC convention center. From that first meeting we were as thick as thieves as together we conjured up many events that would bring thousands of women to both Washington DC and Atlanta, Georgia to purchase cosmetics from her client Peoples Drug Stores.

As we began planning the Atlanta version of the show she invited me to share a private plane with the chief executive of Peoples Drug Stores so we could use the travel time to further pitch and discuss our ideas. I failed to note the correct departure time and when I arrived at the airport the private jet was already half way down the run way about to take – off. The plane suddenly halted just prior to take off as I ran down the runway, the door opened and I stepped inside. The Peoples Drug Stores chief executive gave me a well deserved tongue lashing, however, Barbara, quietly and firmly said to all assembled “He is worth waiting for.”

We shared many family celebrations and during the past two years as she courageously battled illness I marveled at how she maintained a positive attitude and almost immediately asked about others rather than complaining about thelife threatening situation she faced each and every day. This kind of person is rare, just as a ruby or other precious gem, and I was so very fortunate to have her in my life for so many decades.

In July 2020 I wrote this poem in her honour. I am publishing it again with a slight amendment or two. As I mourn her loss this week, I also celebrate her memory because she is indeed now and always will be worth far more than rubies to me and so many others.

Bar ba ra Po me rance

Say Bar ba ra to me

And a melody appears

A song so dear

Three notes I hear

Then Po me rance 

For a lively dance

With love in rising tones

And we know we are never alone.

A symphony

of revelry

In six parts

With many more hearts.

A song supreme

Her life was a dream with

A cherished melody and

now a precious memory

For so many others and me.

Professor Joe Goldblatt is Emeritus Professor of Planned Events at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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