Share this Tribute
Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Grace Brown, born October 3, 1956 to Margaret Boyle and Joseph M. Brown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She died May 21, 2015 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 13th at 2:00 p.m. at First Unitarian Church on N.W. 13th street in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Betsy was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Christine. Betsy is survived by her partner, Kathy McCallie and three beloved cats.
Betsy grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and thrived in girl scouting and later as a counselor and leader. She earned a BA in philosophy from the University of Idaho, where she worked summers as one of the few women on a hot shot forest fire fighting crew. She was awarded a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Oklahoma and was unanimously nominated by the SLIS faculty for election to Beta Phi Mu, the International Library and Information Studies Honor Society. She also enjoyed earning a certificate in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Oklahoma.
Betsy lived for fifteen years in Eugene, Oregon working as a writer and editor for Women’s Press, a feminist collective newspaper. She was a board member of the Only Women’s Land – OWL farm. In Eugene she started “Betsy’s Computer Ranch” taking parts of discarded computers and building and programming computers to give to women who couldn’t afford them. Teaching computer literacy and providing access to information was a passion that continued to lead her to later work in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as a computer educator for the Oklahoma Metropolitan Library System. Over her life her day jobs included work as a janitor and various retail positions such as Fed Ex/Kinkos where she dreamed of starting a labor union. She was a committed blogger and writer, proud 8 time winner of National Novel Writing Month, and an accomplished poet. She relished her work and her colleagues at Bizzell Library at the University of Oklahoma. Betsy was an active participant and supporter of Herland Sister Resources and Dumbledore’s Army.
Memorial contributions can be made to Herland Sister Resources or VOICE, Voices Organized in Civic Engagement, OKC.
karen gray says
what a beautiful tribute to a wonderful life!
Beth Ann Mock says
Betsy was such a wonderful woman. Though I never got to spend as much time with her as I would have liked, I owe her a tremendous debt: I never would have gone to treatment without her patient encouragement. I am so sorry for this awful loss.
Verla Miller says
What a loss. But now she will no longer go through the pain that has been a constant companion. My prayers are with her family, especially Kathy McCallie, one of my professors at PTS. My heart breaks for everyone who has known her.
Mary Elise & Leigh Earley says
WE are so sorry for your loss. Sounds like a person I would have liked to have known.
Dennis Smith says
My heartfelt condolences, Kathy.
Laura McGee says
So sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute for a wonderful caring woman!!
J Diane Trout Harwood says
Kathy, Sympathies to you and all family and friends who will miss her.
Kathi Myers says
Betsy touched the lives of so many. My very deepest sympathy to you, Kathy.
Marie Kizzia says
Betsy may have been an “ordinary lesbian” to some but she was an extraordinary feminist who loved reading Mary Daly to her group of women friends. She put her feelings about mother earth into action on a daily basis. Her brain was a vast repository for a wide variety of facts from plumbing to politics and economics. She loved having a lively debate around election time or any day for that matter. She was definitely one of a kind, a gift to all she knew and her presence will be forever missed by me. If you haven’t seen her “Josephine the Plumber” videos, check them out on YouTube.
DEL BAUMAN says
So sad. I’m glad I got the chance to get her some Peanut M&Ms at the OU Library. My sympathies to those who knew her better than I did.
Katie Reichert says
Just reading about Betsy’s life makes me wish I had come more out of my shell and known her well beyond our few chance meetings–when she made a couple of copies on occasion, always leaving a quarter per page, or seeing her at the Red Cup when she comically lassoed an employee to say “hello.” My sympathies go to her sweet partner and my friend, Kathy, and to those who truly knew and loved this wonderful person.
Christa Woods says
I was honored to consider Betsy a friend, and my life is better for it. Much love to you, Kathy.
Janet and Chris Moyer says
I remember meeting Betsy at the church dinner and dance. She was so full of life and joy. My thoughts are with you at this time of change. Hugs around you.
Cristine Warring says
My prayers and condolences Kathy, and for all who knew Betsy. I wish I had.
Emmah Eastwind says
Love transforms us….and Betsy and all who love her are experiencing the most profound Love….that of letting go. May you all be blessed and comforted and find peace.
Kay Hendricks says
I was fortunate to have known this exceptional woman and to have become somewhat familiar with her brilliant mind and her beautiful spirit through the Mary Daly discussion group. Knowing her was a blessing. Love and deepest condolences to you Kathy, for your loss.
Laura Hansen says
Kathy, my condolences to you. What an earnest soul in the world while she was here. I remember her so fondly from my days in okc.
Preston White says
What a light she carried!
Many blessings to her friends and family left behind to come to grips with their grief. Kathy you haved helped so many through these awful days I do hope you are able to find comfort in the arms of friends sweet lady!
Cheryl berry says
Amazing woman. Truly enjoy knowing her. At church and Herland. She will be miss so much. Prayers for family.
Peter Barrett says
Betsy, you were a funny bird. You helped us laugh at some of the absurdities of Life. Let your spirit fly away to that bough above and look down on us with that mischievous smirk. I barely knew you but I will miss you. Sending love to Kathy and all those who feel your absence.
Leslie Penrose says
Kathy… May the Goddess hold you in her fierce tenderness as you remember and grieve…
Suzette Vontell Chang says
Betsy Brown….you are love.
Suzy Dauphin says
I am so sorry for your loss, Kathy.
Tina Porter says
Kathy sorry for your loss, I had the pleasure to know Betsy Brown from the library. When I would see her and ask her for help she was very kind and helpful. She always was with a smile on her face. Kind words to say. May she rest in peace.
Veta Bordeaux says
Kathy, I have you in my heart and prayers. I feel truly grateful to have known Betsy. My word for her is mensch. She truly is a person that leaves a lasting impression, a great one.
Cheryl Bay says
I’m very sorry to hear this! I hope friends and family offer comfort and peace!
Karen Elsasser says
Sending Love & healing energy. Betsy will be missed..
Karen Antell says
It was an honor to know Betsy for the last two and a half years and to be in Dumbledore’s Army with her. She made the wand that “chose” me, and I will always cherish it — and my memories of Betsy.
Andrew Traxler says
I am a fellow former employee of FedexKinkos. I first met Betsy when I transferred to the Fedex she worked. I think we had a political conversion for hours that same night. We became so close in fact, and I take pride in the fact that I was the one who would meet her at The Red Cup and discuss how we could start a Fedex labor union. I valued those times so much. Thank you for believing in me, and the show of support that is unmatched. I will always remember you. Andy
Kit Andruss says
The best memories of Betsy are when she used to drop by Herland in OKC and engage in deep-thought conversations with a few of us as we played Scrabble on Scrabble club days. She didn’t play, just watched, kept us company. Also my just saying “Hi, Betsy!” to her other times when a group of us would meet there at Herland. I last saw her when she, Kathy and I ran into each other in the Norman Public Library last year. I was glad to see her.
Betsy was lucky to have someone like Kathy in her life. I’m glad she wasn’t alone.
She was one of a kind! She will be missed.
Patricia Loofbourrow says
I met Betsy during my first NaNoWriMo, way back in 2005. I had just moved here from California and she was a breath of fresh air. A wonderful kind person who no matter what the subject would consider, then give a beautiful reasoned answer. I felt so honored to be asked to her 50th birthday party in 2010, it meant so much to me. I wish I had gotten to know her better. The world needs more people like her in it.
I have so many memories of Betsy, most are from NaNo. I was there the night she reached her 50,000 word goal on her first NaNo. The joy on her face lit the room, and she was there the night my daughter slid in under the deadline to finish her NaNo and had champagne with us at the Slice in the Paseo. My service dog, Itzl, liked to sit in her lap when allowed.
And when she showed up for NaNo after not communicating with us for a long time, her excuse was absolutely precious. She apologized and said she’d been busy falling in love with Kathy. We all had an “awwww” moment for her.
When Occupy OKC stayed at the park downtown, and I went to provide tea and snacks, Betsy sat with me to talk to people.
She put a typewriter program on her computer so it sounded and acted as if she were typing on a manual typewriter. She said it made her feel more writerly. And she wrote the most fascinating stories, the parts she shared.
Betsy learned to be comfortable in her own skin and we are all of us the better for knowing her.
kristen brandt says
i knew betsy a long time ago in eugene when i worked on womyn’s press and we were both on the board of Oregon Women’s Land Trust. her refreshing personality and scope of knowledge was exciting to be around. i’m lucky to have known her a little bit.
Kaseja Wilder says
Betsy started a Lesbian Pocketknife Project in Eugene, giving pocketknives and sharpening stones to as many lesbians who would accept the gift. I still have the sharpening stone, and always carry a pocketknife in my bag. Although i did not work on Womyn’s Press long, i was a member for awhile, and we had many long and earnest discussions. We did not always agree, but we did respect each other. She changed my life in many ways and i will never forget her. I love you Betsy! Blessings on your journey. You, too, Kathy, whom I do not know, but if you loved Betsy, I am sure you are a good egg.
Gail Elber says
I’m glad Betsy had so many loving friends in Oklahoma and elsewhere.
Mandy BIgger Apple says
I owned a little coffee shop in the Paseo until 2010 where Betsy would come and visit me every night that I worked. We would talk home repair, her dreadful job at FedEx, and she taught me about politics. Anything I was confused about….well the next week she would bring the actual law highlighted for me. We read each other’s ramblings and had a sweet little friendship. I loved her smile. I now live 8,000 miles away, but I often think about her and what a mark she left on me. I hate to hear the news, but am confident that the life she lived was full of passion.
Jim Wheeler says
Kathy, we’re never without the ones we have loved. They’re with us in so many ways. Bless you.
Dominique Nero says
I remember meeting Betsy at Herland; my first thoughts of her were she had a nice smile and she was a lesbian-feminist HERstorian. She was very inspirational and intelligent. I really enjoyed the conversations we had together. She will be missed.
Mary Sue Sparkman says
A lovely obit, and what an interesting life Betsy had. It’s apparent that throughout her life, Betsy focused on serving others. The first time I met Betsy (Mary Daly Group), and she read to us, I was “hooked”. Kathy, I am so sorry you have lost Betsy. I am thinking about you and hope you are getting much-needed rest. Peace.
Joshua Jordan says
I was lucky enough to be trained as a computer specialist by Betsy in 2012. I will always remember her kindness, generosity, and grace. What a lovely life to celebrate. You will be dearly missed, Betsy!
robin saxton says
I knew Betsy over several years in Eugene. Particularly cherish her opening line when she ran for Slug Queen…”Normal is just a setting on a washing machine….”
Bettina Lehovec says
Betsy sounds like a wonderful woman. My prayers are with you, Kathy. May you be held in love and light as you grieve.
Janie Allen says
She is still making me smile . . .
Sundra Flansburg says
Betsy was a very special person, and the world is very much better for her having passed through.
Katrina Morrison says
Thinking of you…
Dorothy Alexander & Devey Napier says
A sweet, kind, intelligent being who left way too soon. You are in our thoughts, Kathy. May you find peace and comfort in remembering the good times.
Mary E. Krobock says
I’m sorry I didn’t know Betsy. She sound like a wonderful woman, who led an interesting and productive life. My condolences to all who knew and loved her. Maybe I’ll get to meet her on the other side.
Ellen Furstner says
I knew Betsy in Eugene while writing some articles for Women’s Press. She was always so positive and friendly. My condolences on your loss.
Bedford Brown says
I have been searching for my paternal cousin “Betsy Brown” for quite sometime. I just joined Ancestry.Com and was researching Joseph and Margaret Brown and came across my cousin’s date of death, 5/21/2015. I googled Elizabeth’s name and came across this obituary. My thoughts go out to all who knew Betsy. Her sister Christina passed away on 10/22/64, the same day my son Peter Brown was born. I live in Port Chester NY. Again, I am truly sorry to hear of Elizabeth’s passing.
Giovanna Capone says
I didn’t know her but this woman sounds like she led a brave, intelligent, heartfelt life. I was struck by her obit, because she was a librarian, poet, and feminist activist, much like myself. She was fighting for a better, more woman-empowered world, clearly. My heart goes out to her partner and friends and family. I wish we had more such people like her in this world. We would make progress much faster than we currently are and a lot of unnecessary suffering would be abated. Rest in peace Betsy.
Giovanna Capone says
So sad to hear this news. She sounds like an awesome woman. RIP.
Giovanna Capone says
Very sad to hear this news. She sounded like she was an awesome woman, a feminist activist, a poet, and a librarian too. RIP Betsy.
Robin Earth says
I’m sorry to hear this news. I knew Betsy when she lived in Eugene and I was at OWL Farm. I remember her passionate words, her witty humor, her love of cats, her dedication to lesbians, her strong ethics. My condolences to her partner Kathy and to her friends.
La Verne Gagehabib Publisher Berthing Publishing Company says
Betsy was was my best friend while she was in Eugene, Oregon. We shared some very wonderful times together. I will always remember her wit, and how she could make me laugh and enjoy sharing in our struggles to keep women’s writings alive. Betsy will be surely missed.
La Verne & Jan Cottage Grove, Oregon
Lynn Sexton says
So stunned to hear of Betsy’s passing! Spent years wondering where that dear soul ran off to after her mother passed. Thrilled to find that she had found love and family…and home. Reading through here painted such a vivid picture of the woman I knew…so very unique (not at ALL your average lesbian), quirky to the bone, with a quit wit and a sharp mind, a wicked debater hungry to push any button that needed it, dispensing her loving ways in the most interesting of playful fashions. We tore computers apart in her living room and she tried so desperately to teach me the complexities of DOS…to little avail…my mind was strictly hardware! We tore out her bathroom wall and rebuilt the shower plumbing…the only time I think I EVER saw her caution try to outweigh her enthusiasm…we had a ball! Knowing Bets was truly a gift to any and all who actually got her! I have missed her so these last 20some years, and tho I feel a deep loss with her passing, there’s peace in my heart that she lived so fully. My condolences to Kathie and the rest of her family!
Tom La Pointe says
This news – a year and a half old – has just reached me in Idaho, as a result of a Facebook discussion and photo posting.
Betsy and I talked often, she in her role as a reporter for the University of Idaho Student Newspaper (The Argonaut) and I in my role as a civilian employee of the Campus Division of the Moscow, Idaho Police Department.
She was a brilliant writer, a dedicated feminist, and a true, caring human being. I am desolated by her untimely departure but enriched by and thankful for knowing her.