SARANAC LAKE -Betsy Ann Whitefield, 62, formerly of Saranac Lake and most recently Lake Placid, died Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, at her home with loved ones by her side.
Born in White Plains on May 2, 1949, she was the daughter of James and Betty (Bormann) Whitefield. Betsy graduated from Paramus High School, N.J., in 1967, Farleigh Dickinson University in 1971, and University of Albany, with a Master of Library Science degree in 1977.
Betsy was library director of the Saranac Lake Free Library for almost 25 years. Prior to that she worked at or was director of several libraries in New Jersey, including the Edgewater Public Library.
A woman of many talents, Betsy never stopped learning and discovering new hobbies. If you didn't find her on the golf course, she was out on the ice. Curling and golf were her latest passions, but over the course of her life she had a plethora of others. She was a guitarist in a folk band, an 18th century re-enactor, an avid boater, a student of Aikido, a bowler, and you could also find her paddling away in her kayak. Betsy was president of the Lake Placid Curling Club and was president of the Skating Club of Lake Placid.
Her passion for the power of books and the distribution of knowledge led to her successes in her professional life. Betsy accomplished many goals: she saw her dream of expanding the library come to fruition, she led the Saranac Lake Free Library into the computer age and she gave freely of her knowledge and experience to the many smaller, more rural libraries around her.
Betsy was immensely proud of her accomplishments within the library. She always knew what was going on in her profession and brought the best of new ideas to Saranac Lake.
She loved curling on the lake, folk and classical music, lavender and lobster. She read two to three books at a time, loved history, autobiographies and how people ticked. Above all, the joy of being a grandmother was what kept her fighting to the end. An amazing mother, grandmother, friend and community leader, Betsy's time with us will never be forgotten. Her family cabin in Stony Creek was probably one of her favorite places in the world, a place to spend time with family, a place she will never leave. Her smile lit up a room, and her laugh will never be silenced. Her joy in life radiated to all around her.
She is survived by two daughters: Erica Beggs of Great Neck and Elisabeth Patterson and her husband Derek of Lake Placid; one granddaughter, Emma Lynn Patterson of Lake Placid; two brothers: Donald Whitefield and his wife Michelle of Thurman and James A. Whitefield of Providence, R.I.; and nieces and nephews: Evan and Sarah Whitefield and their daughter Katherine of Clifton Park and David T. Whitefield of Greensboro, N.C.
Her father and mother preceded her in death.
Calling hours will take place from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 27, at St. Eustace Episcopal Church in Lake Placid, with the Rev. David Ousley officiating.
Friends wishing to remember Betsy Ann Whitefield may make memorial contributions to Saranac Lake Free Library or the Leukemia Lymphoma Society in care of the funeral home. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guest book at fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.