Elizabeth's Story

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Elizabeth Lee Allen Derr, a longtime resident of South Hartwick, retired librarian, and faithful member of the Hartwick United Methodist Church, died Sunday morning, June 27, 2010, at Otsego Manor. She was 93.
Born Nov. 10, 1916, in Floral Park on Long Island, she was a daughter of Linnaeus Allen, who was from Garden City, and Elsie Magdalina (Hartig) Allen, who was from Pleasant Valley, N.J.
At a very young age, Betty and her family moved to Cutchogue, and she attended schools in East Cutchogue. She later graduated from Southold High School in 1934. She remained at home for one year while her brother finished college, and then entered Albany State Teachers College in the fall of 1935. She majored in library science, and graduated in 1939, with a bachelor of science degree.
Following graduation from college, her first job was back on her native Long Island at West Babylon Union School, where she served as a librarian and teacher for three years.
During the years of World War II, she was briefly employed at Somers School, and then the Tremont Branch of the New York Public Library in New York City.
From there she moved on to become an assistant librarian at Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park.
On Jan. 9, 1944, Betty married Robert William Derr in Cutchogue. As Robert was serving in the United States Navy at the time, Betty left her job in Floral Park and joined him on Fishers Island where he was stationed.
In January of 1947, the Derrs moved from Westbury, Long Island, to South Hartwick and Betty took on the position of both teacher and librarian at Hartwick High School. Upon the retirement of Mrs. Coates, the librarian for the Village of Cooperstown Library, Betty took over her position and served as such for the next 2 1/2 years.
In 1964 she left the Village Library to go to Center Street Elementary School in Oneonta, where she served for the next 15 years as the school librarian, retiring in 1979.
For many years Betty was an active and devoted member of the Hartwick United Methodist Church. She was also a certified lay speaker for the Wyoming Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and actively participated as a representative to the Council of the Northern Otsego Cooperative Parish Ministry, serving as its chairman for one year.
A person dedicated to her community, Betty was a member of the Kinney Memorial Library Board of Directors, and served on the Executive Board of the Center for Continuing Adult Learning (CCAL). She also served two terms as president of the OneontaTeachers’ Association.
A person who gave a lot of herself to others, Betty volunteered for Meals-On-Wheels, performing what she called her “ministry of visitation” to those that were home bound or ill.
Betty is survived by two daughters, Linnea Elizabeth Wilson and her husband, Cary, of Masonville, and Cynthia Lee Derr of Maynard, Mass.; one son, Merritt Hayden Derr and his wife, Julia, of South Hartwick; four granddaughters, Carolyn Wilson of Plattsburgh, Jennifer Pesout and her husband, Louis of Delhi, Nikoa Kmetz-Derr and her husband, Duane of Colchester, and Carrie Richard of Burlington, Vt.; two great-grandsons, Benjamin Quinn Kmetz-Derr of Colchester and Scottie Richard of Burlington, Vt.; and one brother, Hayden Allen and his wife, Lois, of Hartford, Conn. She was predeceased by her husband, Robert William Derr, who died Sept. 10, 1975.
A memorial service will be offered at 2 p.m. Friday, July 2, 2010, at the Hartwick United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Richard Stackhouse, pastor, and the Rev. Nancy Adams, former pastor, co-officiating.
The family suggests memorial donations be made to Susquehanna SPCA, 4841 State Highway 28, Cooperstown, NY 13326 or the Hartwick Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 208, Hartwick, NY 13348 or Catskill Area Hospice & Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820.
Arrangements with the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.
Published on  July 1, 2010
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