Betsy Roberts, age 92, died quietly on Aug. 21.
She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 19, 1923, to James Flanders Roberts and Elizabeth (Johnston) Roberts.
Betsy’s early years in New Hampshire and Vermont were very meaningful to her and where part of her heart always remained. She put herself through college and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1944. She eloped with her high school sweetheart, Robert Minor, who died in France during World War II. Later, while working at Dartmouth College, she married Stuart Chalfant in Hanover, N.H.
For a number of years, she lived in Manhattan, N.Y., where her three sons were born. Always a bit adventurous, Betsy enjoyed moving about the country with new experiences in different places. The family settled in Pacific Palisades, Calif., in 1962, where the boys completed high school.
Betsy lived in the West Los Angeles area for 18 years, working at UCLA as secretary to the dean of admissions for 10 years and an administrator at the Graduate School of Public Health for eight years. Readily admitting to not being a city person, she explored with her children the many camping areas in the deserts and mountains of Southern California. Two auto trips from the west to New England provided the delights of sightseeing the natural wonders of crossing the country.
With an easy intellectual curiosity, Betsy took full advantage of free courses offered to staff at UCLA, exploring new fields every quarter. In the ‘60s, Betsy explored women’s issues and held discussion groups at her house. In many areas, such as this and putting herself through college, she was ahead of her time.
As the children grew and left home, Betsy felt the need for her own challenge and moved to Whidbey Island in 1978. The beauty of it reminded her immediately of New England, and the ocean and mountains were a continuous source of joy to her.
Betsy lived her first three years in Oak Harbor and became part of the community by participating in the formation of Citizens Against Domestic Abuse (CADA). She then purchased a small lot on Deer Lake on South Whidbey where she had a house built. Full-time work was hard to find on the island, but she persisted and found the “best job in the world” as she often said, as the first activity director at the Bayview Senior Center.
Betsy was an active member of the Langley United Methodist Church. Her sensitivity for others proved helpful in her years as a Home Health Hospice volunteer. She helped with the formation of Hearts and Hammers. Her love of music and the arts were reflected in her volunteering time at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA).
With retirement, Betsy found a new challenge and great pleasure writing, and for many years The Record carried her column “Slightly Retired.” She won several awards for her articles.
Betsy is survived by her three sons, Duncan (Kathy) Chalfant of Oak Harbor, Bruce (Betty) Chalfant of Enumclaw, Ed (Karen) Chalfant of Bothell; her “adopted” daughter, Lena (Ross) Godwin of Freeland; her nieces, Corinne (David) Ludy of Langley and Libby Roberts (David Sweetwater) of Coupeville; as well as 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her three brothers, Steve, Jim and Chuck Roberts. In her later years she took much pleasure in family gatherings.
Betsy will be missed by her family and friends. She requested a joyous celebration of life which will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, at Langley United Methodist Church. Memorial gifts can be made to South Whidbey Bayview Senior Center or Hearts and Hammers of South Whidbey Island.