Obituary of Elizabeth Wortley Lewis
Elizabeth Wortley Lewis (Betsy) of Brookfield, Connecticut died peacefully at home on July 24, 2021. She was born on June 21, 1925 in East Orange, NJ and grew up in Middletown, Ohio. She was devoted to each and every member of her family and a network of friends who ranged far and wide.
Betsy attended Dana Hall and Smith College, and in 1947 she married the love of her life, John Culbertson Lewis (“Captain Jack”). Together they raised their four daughters, Libby, Sarah, Carolyn and Wendy, in Chappaqua, New York and enjoyed a three year IBM work assignment in Paris, France where they loved hosting travelers of all ages and stages of life. In 1978 Betsy and Jack moved to their home on Candlewood Lake in Brookfield Connecticut. Wherever they lived, the doors to the Lewis home were always open and visitors were welcomed with warmth. Betsy took a genuine interest in other people’s experiences, no matter how different they were from her own, and loved especially to listen to young people and their perspectives.
Betsy had a passion for living and learning. She traveled whenever the opportunity arose and was as happy in a shack by the sea as she was in the most elegant of hotels. The New York Times was always by her side and we called her the “Yankee Clipper” due to her habit of clipping interesting articles for friends and family.
She volunteered extensively for Planned Parenthood, the Volunteer Service Bureau, and Welcome Wagon. She was a dynamic actress in Children’s Theater, and we fondly remember her roles as Rumplestiltskin and Momdoo the Magician. She sang in the choir at St Mary the Virgin in Chappaqua for many years and loved music of all sorts from the time she was a child, listening to her grandfather sing and play the banjo, to the last days of her life when music still made her smile.
Later in life, Betsy started an active and successful real estate career. She loved her work and went above and beyond the call of duty for her customers. She was active in her real estate work well into her eighties, though most people thought she was decades younger, due to her sharp mind, youthful energy and playful spirit.
Betsy and Jack were generous and fun-loving grandparents to Kristen, Cate, Ashley, Kevin, Gregory, Michael and Liza (grandchildren) and to Elena, Liam, Betsy, Bert, Teddy, Lincoln and James (great grandchildren). Their home on Candlewood Lake came to be known as “Camp Lewis” and was a special place for family gatherings and year round fun. Betsy cultivated the curiosity and creativity of the younger generation by allowing all sorts of unique undertakings, including a miniature golf course that wended its way through the whole house, one rainy summer, and “Candlewoodstock” and other fun filled gatherings.
Betsy’s birthday, in June was always a special gathering time for the extended family at Camp Lewis, as she shared this birthday month with her beloved sister-in-law and brother-in-law Alice and Jake Lingle.
Betsy is survived by her daughters Libby, Sarah, and Carolyn and sons-in-law Joe and Tom; her grandchildren, Kristen, Cate, Ashley, Kevin, Gregory, Michael and Liza and great grandchildren, Elena, Liam, Betsy, Bert, Teddy, Lincoln and James. Also by her brother Tom and sister-in-law Mary Deas and many beloved nieces and nephews and their children. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Jack, daughter Wendy, and son-in-law Terry.
Though we will miss her deeply, Betsy lived well and fully. The richness of her life and spirit lives on in all who knew her. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Betsy’s honor to St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Ridgefield, The Heifer Project or the Dorothy Day Hospitality House in Danbury.
We regret that due to the increasing risk with the delta Covid variant, the Memorial Service for Betsy will be for family only. However, we welcome all who would like to ‘attend’ via livestream or watch the recorded service at a later date. The livestream can be found on the Facebook or YouTube page of St Stephens Ridgefield:
https://www.facebook.com/ststephensridgefield The service will begin at 11am on Saturday, Sept 4 or can be watched at that same page in the days after the service.
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