(Ruth L. Tighe passed away peacefully in Saipan, MP on October 17th 2012 at the age of 81 after a long running battle with lung disease. She was alert and strong of mind until the very end - when her lungs and heart gave out. She moved to Saipan in 1980 and made her home there, including publishing a weekly blog called "On My Mind" for the last 15 years. I wrote the following for her service, which included a burial at sea.)

My mother once was an English teacher. She loved language and the use of words to convey meaning. So I set myself a task: describe my mother in five word or phrases. I invite you to do the same. Here's my list.

Intelligent, educated, honest, caring, courageous.

Her intelligence was stellar - there wasn't anything she couldn't understand or learn if she put her mind to it. She could see thru a false argument, detect an error and derive the truth behind a whole bunch of bureaucratic nonsense. She could understand how things worked - she could reason out the consequences and the implied elements of a situation. One of her friends told me how he loved her "high-speed mind". I certainly did.

She was well educated and well read - she was "world-wise". She understood human affairs and how those human affairs affect our world and its future. She was an expert learner and used those skills in her everyday life. Whenever she wrote on a topic, she researched it. Whenever something new came up - she learned it. She was a delight as a conversationalist because she could follow you wherever you went and could bring insights based on her knowledge of the area or other similar areas.

Mom was honest - she was not easily deceived and could not easily deceive others. In addition, she could not lightly tolerate fools - those that deceive themselves or others. She told me that her father was like that. She was graceful with her honesty - she didn't "hit you over the head" - she just pointed out the right way and provided evidence that it was the right way. She showed a clarity of conscience and integrity that was so much a part of her.

She was a caring person - Saipan and the Commonwealth as a whole gained a caring advocate, counselor and reporter for all of the years that Mom called Saipan home. She cared about people, she cared about her town, her island, her world. She cared about doing right, keeping it fair for everyone and making sure people have a chance to do well.

Mom was courageous. Her battle against cancer and lung disease clearly showed the grit, determination and courage that was part of who she was. As a young woman with five school-aged kids, she got a job and went back to school for a degree in Library Science. At the age of 50 she moved to Saipan on a one-year contract and then took up SCUBA diving. She was always willing to take a new challenge, and speak up for what was right even if it was unpopular or went against those in power. She was driven to show people what could be done - what should be done.

I am happy that my mother found Saipan - she loved it and the entire Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and shared her love with all the world through her writings and personal contacts. The world is a richer and better place for having had her in it.

Michael Tighe October 25, 2012