Weitzel, Elisabeth “Betts” Swan of Chestnut Hill, died peacefully at home on September 16 at the age of 82, following a brave battle with pancreatic cancer. She was predeceased by her husband, John P. Weitzel, and is survived by her daughter Mary Weitzel and her husband David Halfpenny, her son Paul Weitzel and his wife Merrill Weitzel, her sisters Helen Merrill and Josephine Blagden, seven grandchildren and numerous devoted family and friends. Betts grew up in Weston, MA, attended the Meadowbrook and Winsor Schools, Chatham Hall and then Smith College followed by the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration. Betts made and nurtured friendships throughout her life, fostering many decades-long connections. She was a kind, generous, patient and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, daughter, neighbor and friend who navigated life with grace. This held true even as she faced a cancer diagnosis and the punishing treatment that followed.
Betts was curious about the world, other regions of this country and other cultures. She loved to travel and learn from her experiences. While at Smith, she spent a year abroad in Paris and Geneva. After graduation, when she was living and working in the Boston area, she spent a summer living in Morocco with a host family. For many years she organized and documented family trips, including hiking in Switzerland, skiing in Colorado, a nine-week, 11,000-mile excursion across the U.S., and annual summers on Cape Bretton Island, Nova Scotia. Hiking and skiing gave her a reverence for nature and a desire to protect it.
Betts dedicated her life to her family, friends and many volunteer endeavors dear to her heart, including the Ladies’ Visiting Committee at MGH where she especially enjoyed arranging flowers for the Flower Shop, parent and preschooler activities at the Museum of Science, the Mother’s Study Club in Cambridge, the Chestnut Hill Garden Club, raising money for Smith College and participating in various political campaigns over the years. Betts was a consistent presence at her children’s, and then her grandchildren’s, sporting events from elementary school through college. She took great joy in cheering them on, and always enjoyed the comradery in the stands or on the sideline.
Her family would like to thank the nurses whose compassion and companionship eased Betts’ discomfort, brightened her day and brought her peace as they helped her family see her though treatments and the journey that followed over the last 16 months.
Funeral services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to: The Winsor School, Advancement Office, 103 Pilgrim Road, Boston, MA 02215, winsor.edu/giving/how-to-give; Smith College, Smith College Gift Accounting, Stoddard Annex, 23 Elm Street, Northampton, MA 01063, smith.edu/about-smith/giving/ways-to-give; or, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, 900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482, masshort.org/support/donate.