On Saturday, January 25, 2020, Elizabeth (Betsy) Temporal Coles Amsden, loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt, passed away at the age of 80.
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Betsy was born on March 10, 1939, in Teaneck, New Jersey, to Gertrude (Lewis) and Clifford Coles. She passed away peacefully in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, after a valiant six-year battle against polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR).
The family moved from New Jersey to New Hampshire in 1946. She graduated from Keene High School in Keene, New Hampshire, in 1957 and attended McGill University in Montréal, Québec, for two years, before transferring to the University of Connecticut where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Genetics in 1962.
It is at the University of Connecticut where Betsy met Bill, a teacher’s assistant in one of her classes, and they began a life-long love, friendship, and partnership with one another. They moved to Latham, New York, in 1967 and they would spend the next 26 years establishing their family, community, and professional careers. She was a stay-at-home mom until her youngest son reached the age of five.
She was active at Calvary United Methodist Church and was a Sunday School teacher and the Sunday School Superintendent for four years. She also was a member of the United Methodist Women’s (UMW) group at Calvary, where she participated in many of their projects.
Her career as a pharmacist spanned all areas of the trade and while she primarily practiced in New York State, she was licensed in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania as well. She truly had a passion for and was proud of her profession and enjoyed keeping up with all the new drugs that were being brought to the market.
In 1993, she and Bill relocated to Harleysville, Pennsylvania, where they lived for 7 years before retiring to the Seacoast of New Hampshire in 2000. She joined the Hampton United Methodist Church and served as President of the UMW for two years. Her work within the church led her to form many friendships and helped to build the community that would support her and Bill in the coming years. She wrote newsletters, worked on various initiatives and was always baking something for a fundraiser, bake sale, or a fellow church member. Her pie-making ability was legendary as those who knew her well can attest.
Betsy was also an avid rug hooker, gardener, and lover of arts and crafts. She was a member of an amazing and supportive rug hooking group, former member of the Old York Garden Club, and season ticket holder at the Ogunquit Playhouse. She spent countless hours sewing and knitting what would become family heirlooms for her children and grandchildren: blankets, pajamas, quilts, and Christmas stockings. Betsy also loved a good jigsaw puzzle and learned to become a master problem solver and handyperson around the house.
Betsy had a strong connection to Jenness Beach. She loved walking it, loved the rocks she could find there, and loved having a meal with her family while watching the waves ebb and flow. It did not matter the activity; Jenness Beach was Betsy’s place of serenity.
A family vacation would not be complete without collecting rocks. She loved to hunt for the perfect rock, but in her mind’s eye, every rock was perfect and she could not ignore the uniqueness of each one. She collected dozens on every trip. This led to hundreds, if not thousands, and they have all been moved from home to home. She enjoyed every single one.
Her favorite breed of dog was the English Springer Spaniel and was fortunate to love four of them: Brandy Belle, Katie, Abby, and Eddie My Love. The adoration, loyalty, and unique relationship she had with each of her dogs was special and Eddie My Love was a great source of joy and companionship for her the last two and half years.
In her final year, Betsy inspired her family and friends with her capacity to fight the secondary diseases caused by PMR, which ultimately took her away from us. She did so with great determination, spirit, and courage.
Betsy was preceded in death by her oldest son, Guy (Jennifer Potratz). She is survived by her husband of 57 years, William; sons, William (Benita Mushkat) and Eric (Sarah Egri); and five grandchildren: Kyle, Katelyn, Theodore, Rachel, and Jonah. She is also survived by her sisters, Nancy Nye of Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, and Carol Coles of York, Maine, and several nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a graveside service on Saturday, February 22nd at 11:30 am at Memory Gardens Cemetery, 983 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Colonie with Rev. Gordon Drake officiating.
In lieu of flowers, Betsy’s family suggests donations to New Hampshire SPCA, 104 Portsmouth Avenue, Stratham, New Hampshire, 03885, or to the SPCA of your choice.
Arrangements are by the Bowen & Parker Bros. Funeral Home, 97 Old Loudon Road, Latham, NY. Condolence book at bowenandparkerbros.com.