Elizabeth Rawlinson Rowe, better known by her classmates at Vassar College (1952) as Betty Boop, left us Jan. 30, 2018, for a better place at the age of 87. Though she suffered no pain and never complained – much thanks to Julian Lewis and also Keasha King and Shameka Clark – she was confined to her bed at home over the last six months.
Born in Bronxville, N.Y. Sept. 18, 1930, raised in Scarsdale, Betty spent her summers in Orient in a home on the Sound that her grandfather, Dr. Gribbon, had a local contractor build circa 1915. (Our present home is close by). These early years were a very happy time for her. Her parents were Mary Alice Gribbon Rowe, who died in 1960 and (James) Everett Rowe, who died in 1951. Her only siblings were Nancy Douglass, who died in 2000 and Eleanor Linderholm-Wood, who died in 2011. Betty attended Scarsdale High and graduated from Dana Hall.
She attainted a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics while at Vassar. She also received the Miss Vassar’s Brew Award in 1952 in connection with the 77-mile “Beer and Bikes from Yale to Vassar” event, which took place April 12, 1952, as reported in the Life Magazine issue of April 28, 1952, that featured a photo of Betty wearing the MVBA Sash, welcoming the exhausted Yale bikers.
Betty spent over 40 years of her life in Carson City, Nev. While there, she received the Carson City Soroptomist’s Woman of the Year award in 1974 and the Nevada’s Governor’s Art Award in 1980. She was a member of Lakeside Community Church in Reno, a charter member of Carson City Landmark Society, League of Women Voters, founder of the Carson City Arts Alliance in 1974 (now known as the Brewery Art Center), director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Carson City Centennial, Bi-Centennial Commission from 1974 to 1976. Further, during much of the time in Carson City, Nevada’s capitol, she personally owned and managed State Agent and Transfer Syndicate Inc., a resident agent and corporate formation service.
In addition, Betty being Betty, not only started the newsletter for the Navy League, but was editor and publisher for over a year after she left Carson City for Long Island in 2005 to be with Walter Strohmeyer. She became Navy League Carson City Council vice president in 2004 and council president in 2005 and also served as council secretary from 1989 to 2006 and the membership doubles from 90 to 184 due to her great recruitment skills.
Early on her return in Orient, Betty became a member of Orient Congregational Church and involved herself with Orient Yacht Club newsletter and subsequently, the Shakespeare Club, a member and regent of Southold Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and other local organizations. However, her most important contribution upon her return to Orient was to be one of the leaders of the campaign which successfully repulsed the Suffolk County Water Authority’s attempt to control Orient’s ground water.
She also liked to snow ski and made many of her own beautiful clothes with a knitting machine.
Her children, all successful and happily married, are Elizabeth H. Van Wagenen (Bob), Kettner J. F. Griswold (Dana), Charles L. Block (Kaoru) and John E. Block (Susie). Her grandchildren are Sheri E. Van Wagenen, Christine F. Van Wagenen-Briner, Matthew R. Van Wagenen, Dr. Ashley E. Griswold-Haggarty and Kettner F. Griswold Jr.
A graveside service at Orient Central Cemetery is planned for Friday, Feb. 2, at 11 a.m., the Rev. Geoffrey Proud officiating and Horton-Mathie Funeral Home in Greenport. A memorial service is scheduled to take place Saturday, May 12, at Orient Congregational Church, the Rev. Dr. Ann Van Cleef officiating.
“Other than the years we spent as childhood playmates at the sound beach and a teenage date to Coney Island, our “second chance” was the happiest time in our lives. Betty was a remarkable woman and she loved me.” -Walter Strohmeyer.
If the reader has a memorial gift in mind, please consider Orient Congregational Church.
This is a paid notice.