Elizabeth Vail Carruthers (Betsy)
1933 - 2022
Elizabeth Vail Carruthers (Betsy), 89, passed away Sunday, November 20, 2022, in
York, Maine. She was born August 18, 1933, in Windsor, Ontario, to Joseph and Natalie
Carruthers. She is predeceased by her beloved husband of 42 years, John B.
Pendleton, who died on September 26, 2022.
Betsy was raised in Winchester and Norwell, MA, and maintained a special place in her
heart for Norwell throughout her life. She and her three younger sisters, Sandra (Quilty),
Natalie, and Pamela were accomplished equestrians and lifelong dog lovers. Betsy is
predeceased by her sisters Sandra and Pamela.
In 1954, Betsy wed Paul F. Donovan of East Braintree, MA, which led her to Lancaster,
NH. Betsy developed lifelong friendships and engaged enthusiastically in North Country
life while raising six Donovan children, all of whom survive her: Sam, Laura, Peter (Liz),
Nancy, Ted, and Libby (Larry Closson). An avid skier and reader, community and
church member, she formed essential friendships with women and sought avenues to
support those in need during difficult times in their lives. Betsy watched with interest the
growing women’s movement and embraced the concepts of feminism and gender
equality. Betsy was a correspondent and writer, and always made time to jot a chatty
note or scribble an update to a friend or family member.
In 1973 at the end of her first marriage, Betsy moved with her four younger children to
New London, NH, chosen as a new home for her children, and for the opportunity to
pursue a college education and career. At 39, Betsy enrolled as a freshman at Colby
Sawyer College in New London and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s
degree. She worked first at Chubb Life Insurance Company in Concord, NH, before
becoming the Director of Alumni Relations for her alma mater, Colby Sawyer.
Betsy married John Pendleton, a Concord, NH-based attorney, in 1980, and she and
John combined their households along with John’s four children: Cynthia (Bill Cronin),
Julie, John (Sarah Pendleton) and Brigham (Claudia Kaerner). They lived in Concord
where Betsy worked as a realtor for Wiita Family Realty. In due time, the family grew to
include sixteen adored grandchildren: Rory, Conor and Reilly Donovan; Topher, Emily
and Abbie Young; Sarah Donovan; Allison and Caleb Pendleton; Duncan and Aaron
Donovan; Braman and Kenersen Cronin; Milo Closson; Casimir and Georgia Pendleton.
At the age of 60, Betsy fulfilled her goal for a career in human services by earning her
master’s degree in social work from Boston University. This began the most
tremendously rewarding period of her professional life, as Betsy worked for several
years with The Farnum Center for alcohol and drug addiction treatment in Manchester.
During this time, John and Betsy moved to Andover, NH, to realize his lifelong dream of
teaching. At Proctor Academy, they served as dorm parents, and later moved to an
historic cape house next to the campus. Wherever they lived, Betsy and John were
accompanied by a series of beloved yellow labs, always two at a time.
In 1984, Betsy and John bought a second home in Truro, MA, a house on a hill
bordered by Pamet Harbor and Cape Cod Bay. Every spare opportunity for them to visit
their Truro home and community of friends was precious. In 2006, they moved full time
to Truro. Betsy and John were active members of Truro’s Christian Union Church and
enjoyed deeply rewarding friendships and family time in retirement.
In 2014, they moved to York, ME, to be closer to their children in the Seacoast region.
Betsy and John joined First Parish Congregational Church. Betsy remained active, even
through the pandemic, participating in church services virtually, and working hard to
maintain the friendships that had grown out of her love for good conversation and
spiritual and emotional connection. The First Parish Church community has been a
blessing to Betsy and her family.
A memorial service will be held at the First Parish Church, 180 York Street in York,
Maine at 1:00 pm, Saturday, December 3, 2022.
PLEASE OMIT FLOWERS.
Donations in Betsy’s memory can be made to the York Community
Service Association online here (https://www.ycsame.org/) or mailed to PO Box 180,
York, ME 03909, or The Farnum Center online here (https://farnumcenter.org/) or
mailed to 140 Queen City Avenue, Manchester, NH 03103.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Elizabeth "Betsy" V. Carruthers, please visit our Tree Store.