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Publication: Globe and Mail, The add link
Issue: 30 May 2008, page L8
Title: BETTY CROWE (Lives Lived)
Web Link: link


Mother, grandmother. Born Oct. 12, 1898, in Burleigh Falls, Ont. Died March 20 in Peterborough, Ont., of natural causes, aged 109.


May 30, 2008

Betty was a member of the three-century club, having lived in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

During visits she would reminisce about life with a chuckle and a twinkle in her eye. Born Elizabeth Windsor, she was the third-youngest of 14 children. They lived in tourist country in a one-storey log house. The long kitchen had an equally long table to seat the large family.

Tourists would take the boat to Port Hope, Ont., then the train to Lakefield and a stagecoach or carriage to their cottage. Betty's mother had an ample milk house kept cool in the summer with ice that had been collected in the winter. Eggs, cream, butter, cheese and pork from their mixed farm were stored here for delivery to the tourists. Her father was a guide on Stony Lake and would take tourists out in his rowboat to fish.

After Betty married Bill Crowe in 1919 they bought a farm nearby. They had two children, Morley and Marlene. Betty continued her parents' tradition and sold goods to tourists.

Betty and Bill attended the nearby Zion United Church, where Betty arranged musical evenings with neighbouring choirs. The skits she performed would bring the house down.

Their new 1928 Chevy replaced their horse and buggy. Bill delivered mail for 36 years. Betty would often go along to take clothing and food to needy families.

Betty once said having a car changed her life. She started writing stories on accidents and weddings for the Peterborough Examiner, for which she was paid by the word. Always resourceful, she would notice the expiry date on people's newspaper subscriptions and get the commission when the customer renewed.

After Bill died in 1972 Betty moved to Lakefield.

She hadn't travelled farther than Kingston or Niagara but was always deeply interested in what was happening in the world. Although only 15 when the Titanic sank, she would always cut the anniversary article out of the paper.

She had a constant stream of visitors and would always serve them tea in a china cup. Young and old loved to talk to her.

At 91, Betty accomplished a lifelong dream of writing her own cookbook. Asked when she celebrated her 100th birthday about her proudest moment, she said it was when her cookbook was published.

No doubt her long life and good health can be attributed to eating food in moderation, drinking plenty of black tea, keeping a positive attitude, and the grace of God.

Betty leaves her two children, five grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren with many happy memories.

Gwen McMullen is Betty's friend.