Betsey White

lyme deaths

Betsey White

WHITE, ELIZABETH A. Elizabeth A. White, age 73, of Trumbull, daughter of Charles J. White and Helen Campbell White, died on Saturday, January 14, 2012. She was born on September 6, 1938 in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Bridgeport, CT. A Lauralton Lifer she graduated in 1956. From her parents, she inherited a generosity of spirit, an Irish can do happy spirit, quick sense of humor, gift of gab, love of politics and socializing.

She loved summer vacations at Lake Winnipesaukee with family and friends-swimming, diving, rowing with the other kids was always wonderful. Childhood loves included ballet/pointe, biking and swimming. A charter subscriber to Long Wharf Theater, her more recent retirement interests included Metropolitan Opera simulcast HD presentations, James Joyce’s Ulysses/Bloomsday event at UCONN. An apt description was given by her fellow eighth grade classmate Vicki Foder at a graduation exercise “Laughing, talking, full of fun she has a smile for everyone.”

Following a third generation family tradition she entered the field of nursing, graduating from Boston College School of Nursing, cum laude in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science. After pursuing an interest in community mental health/psychiatry, she entered the University of Pennsylvania Psychiatric Nursing Program in 1968 where she was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, national honor society based on first semester academics, earning a Master of Science in Nursing in 1970. Continuing her clinical training she enrolled in the Family Training Program at the Center for Family Therapy, while also being enrolled in Veteran’s Administration Assistant Chief Nurse Traineeship. In 1998, she completed her 2 year post masters’ family nurse practitioner program at Fairfield University.

Miss White holds ANCC certifications in Family Nurse Practice and Psychiatric Clinical Specialist. She also held the ANCC certification in Nursing Administration. Her nursing experiences have included clinical, psychiatric, public health, administrative and teaching. Her first love has always been direct clinical treatment. Her early mentors provided her with excellent exposure to innovative treatments aimed at improving the quality of patients’ lives. No one loved a fund drive more than Betsey.

She loved searching for bargains negotiating with food stores for the best prices on bulk purchases for the Thanksgiving drive at Lincoln-Bassett School. She had a wonderfully generous team that widened with each year. The grounds crew from the West Haven VA Hospital provided the truck transportation and the staff were available to collect and distribute the gift baskets to identified families in great need. That was only the beginning of the holiday donations. It energized the Christmas donation for the fourth and fifth graders.

The drives started out as a nursing project and expanded throughout the hospital as an annual event that was engaged by all the hospital services. Her teacher friends worked with the second graders from Daniels Farm School in Trumbull who made Christmas drawing decorations for each named child’s gift bag. The Monroe Trail Troop generously wrapped over 1,000 gifts each year.

In addition to warm winter clothes, a toy, and candy, Betsey was instrumental in procuring watches for each of the children from Timex. The gifts were delivered by Santa’s truck (From the VA) and a gala distribution complete with music and Santa took place at the school. Each individual child was called up to receive their gift from Santa. It made them feel so special. Betsey had a gang of do gooders, staff members, sales people, bargain store owners who were always on the lookout for bargains year round. These drives would never have been successful or have been possible without the wonder staff of the WHVA.

Betsey was known for her generosity of spirit and was always willing to lend a helping hand. For the last ten years of her life, she has dedicated herself to the cause of Lyme Disease. She has been determined not to let this condition lead to dysfunction in her life. Whenever possible, she was available to other patients offering support and encouragement.

In an attempt to learn as much as possible, Ms. White engrossed herself in current Lyme medical literature/publications, attended International Lyme and Associated Tick Borne Diseases, and supported the University of New Haven’s research and annual symposiums. Betsey would like to express her gratitude to her special friend Marilyn McCarthy who has been at her side throughout the most acute life threatening stages of her illness and to Susan Falkowski, her goddaughter who during a difficult period in her own life assumed responsibility for health care advocate and Mary Lou Sheehan who was present every day fighting the ice and snow of the worst winter to feed Tobie the cat.

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