Elizabeth Nye "Betsy" Suter, longtime winter resident of Green Valley, of Concord, MA and also of North Chatham, MA in the summers, died Sunday, May 26, 2019, at Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln, MA, of multiple causes. She was 93.
Betsy wintered in Green Valley, from mid-January until mid-April, every year for 25 years (until her death), at first with husband Phil, from 1995, when they bought their condominium there, until his death in 2003, and then on her own. She was an active participant in Green Valley activities, taking numerous courses, in particular, over the years.
Betsy was a member and volunteer, in the office and for their annual Tour of Homes fundraiser, of St. Francis-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church in Green Valley, and a member of the Seekers Discussion Group there. She also served on the board of FATSO (Friends and Admirers of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, now disbanded), which organized monthly bus trips to the Symphony in-season from Green Valley, with a stop at a restaurant along the way. She was also a member of the New England Club of Green Valley.
Betsy was born in Saint Paul, MN on Sept. 6, 1925, to the late Carl Merryman Nye and Edith Seabury Nye of Saint Paul, later of North Chatham (from 1947 until their deaths). She is survived by her two younger sisters, both in their 90s, Priscilla Nye "Polly" Dickson of North Chatham and Edith Nye "Edie" MacMullen of Amherst MA. She was predeceased by her husband of 52 years (until his death), Philip Hales "Phil" Suter, in 2003.
Betsy graduated from the Summit School (for girls) in Saint Paul, which she attended for 13 years. She then attended Vassar College for three years before graduating from Barnard College in 1951 with a major in art history. Between Vassar and Barnard, she lived and worked in Cambridge, MA where she met her husband, and traveled to Europe.
After Betsy's wedding in 1951, she and her husband spent the first several years of their marriage in Brattleboro and Dummerston, VT, where he began his law career. In 1955 they moved to Concord, which was to become their home for the rest of their lives, after his career took him to Boston, MA.
Betsy is survived by her four children, Philip Nye "Phil" Suter of Peterborough, NH; Elizabeth Suter "Libby" Bohanon of Glenwood Springs, CO; Bradley R. "Brad" Suter of Melvin Village, NH; and Emily Suter Ransford of Carbondale, CO; six grandchildren, Charles Nye "Charley" Suter of Belmont, NH; Philip Bradley "Brad" Suter of Wakefield, MA; Angus John Bohanon of Boulder, CO; Kelsey Hales Bohanon of Golden, British Columbia, Canada; Jesse Kassler Ransford and Carly Suter Ransford, both of Carbondale, CO; numerous nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews, and her Maine Coon cat, Henry.
Betsy was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord, where she volunteered as a Sunday School teacher for about 10 years. She soon joined the Altar Guild, of which she was a member for over 50 years. She also volunteered for the church's annual "Fayre," and frequently participated in the Wednesday Bible Study. Betsy was especially proud, in retrospect, that she let herself be talked in to donating the current church sign outside the Sanctuary in memory of husband Phil, which sign has become in recent years another of the symbols of that parish.
Betsy also volunteered at the Alcott Elementary School in Concord from 1967 to 1969 as a member of the Alcott-Ripley PTA.
Betsy's first volunteer job was as the first-ever volunteer at Emerson Hospital in Concord, as a member of the Junior League of Boston (Concord area), which had undertaken to provide volunteers among its members, though Emerson had not previously used any volunteers at all.
Betsy was a committee chairman and member of the board of the League of Women Voters in Concord. She also served on the board of the Vassar Club of Boston from 1964 to 1970.
She was also persuaded by a neighbor to join a new mental health organization founded by Abigail Adams Eliot of Concord (originally of Boston), later the Walden Guidance Association. From 1963 until 1979, she served as a volunteer, then soon on the board, as secretary, and finally as president. As president, she rebuffed an overture from Emerson Hospital to merge with it. In 1979, she served on the board and as president of the Concord Area Mental Health Center.
Finally, Betsy turned her attention to interests closer to her heart, and volunteered at the Concord Antiquarian Society when the Society (now the Concord Museum) was just starting to use volunteers. Soon, the volunteers formed the Ladies' Committee, of which Betsy was a member, to better organize themselves. She volunteered in the Museum Shop from when that was in a closet; arranging flowers from when that was done out of another closet; as a part-time docent; and for numerous fundraising events.
In Chatham, Betsy was a docent in the Stallknecht Mural Barn at the Atwood Museum, an installation her mother was instrumental in effecting, though Betsy would rarely mention this during her tours.
As extensive as these various volunteer jobs and board positions were, however, Betsy was most proud of her job of many years for which she was paid, from 1968, as a part-time research assistant to the late Margaret Henderson Floyd, architectural historian, engaged primarily on research for a book on John Hubbard Sturgis, prominent 19th century Boston architect, which resulted in an unpublished manuscript by Mrs. Floyd. Betsy was an occasional lecturer on architectural history.
Betsy then turned her attention to her own illustrious heritage, traipsing through graveyards and town halls, husband Phil in tow, in search of ancestors, preparatory to joining the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Massachusetts, soon serving on its board.
Betsy was a member of the Chilton Club of Boston, the Concord Country Club, the Chatham Yacht Club, the Garden Club of Concord, and the Not Just A Book Club of Concord.
Betsy enjoyed sailing in Chatham, and cruising with a group of Marshall catboat owners from Chatham with husband Phil aboard their 18-foot Marshall catboat, which they named "Saunterer" after a quotation from Henry David Thoreau about the value of sauntering, an apt description of their cruising style.
Betsy also enjoyed skiing and especially tennis, which she played weekly, year-round, well into her 80s. She traveled extensively throughout her life, especially to Europe and the Caribbean, but also to Asia, Africa, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska and throughout North America.
A lover of animals, "little things," games, children's toys, books, traditional furniture and furnishings, a good time, humor, good grammar, good causes and chocolate, among many other things, Betsy was well-liked and attracted many friends throughout her life. Her own assessment of her long life she summed up, in a typically self-deprecating manner, with a quote which she attributed to Garrison Keillor, a fellow St. Paul, Minnesotan: "It's been an ordinary life. And it's good enough, it's good enough."
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Betsy's name may be made to the Green Valley Gardeners, P.O. Box 86, Green Valley AZ 85622, also at greenvalleygardeners.com.
Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Betsy on Friday, September 27, 2019 at 2 pm in the Trinity Episcopal Church, 81 Elm Street, Concord, MA. Burial at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord was private.
Arrangements under the care of Glenn D. Burlamachi, CONCORD FUNERAL HOME, A Life Celebration Home, Concord. To share a memory, offer a condolence or view a fuller obituary, visit: www.concordfuneral.com.