Friday, July 15, 2016

Remembering Betsy Kilkenny

by Kathleen DeVore, Norman Milliard and RoseMary McLean

Betsy Kilkenny, facilitator of last winter's Kings and Queens of England course, passed away suddenly on July 6. Betsy's home was in Doylestown, PA, but she was an avid skier and spent her winters at Sunday River. She came to WMSC a year ago when she joined the Canterbury Tales class. After one of those sessions she mentioned to the Program Committee that she might have a class to offer - The Kings and Queens of England. And what a class that was! Her detailed knowledge of the royal families made them come alive and seem like old friends.

Norman Milliard recently commented that Betsy's Kings and Queens class was so wonderful because she had such enthusiasm for teaching a subject she obviously enjoyed. She knew the subject matter thoroughly and presented it in such an infectious manner that it drew everyone in. Each class never seemed long enough to get in all the material that she wanted to share. It was almost as if she had lived in that era and had been reborn in the future.

Betsy was in turn a flight attendant, mother, and high school social studies teacher. Her love of travel and adventure, combined with her unbridled energy prompted her to explore the world, making many new friends along the way. Among her pursuits were skiing, the cello, scuba diving and dog rescue.

Betsy was a member of Sunday River's Prime Time Ski Club. The club is putting together a memory book for Betsy's family, and they have invited members of the Kings and Queens class to participate. If you have recollections, stories, poems, sketches, photos, etc. that you wish be included in this memory book send them to Suzie DuBois (16 Ledgefield Circle, South Portland, Maine 04106, 207-712-6661, The deadline is Monday, August 1.

Betsy had planned to teach another course for us next winter. It is our great loss that this will not happen.

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Tribute to Elise Caswell

by Kathleen DeVore and Diane McMahon

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Elise Caswell, poet, artist, and WMSC member. Elise was a regular member of the Drawing and Painting class, where her fun-loving spirit and creative energy captivated us all. Elise facilitated two writing classes for WMSC, “Wild Writes” and “Cut and Paste Poetry,” both of which were well received. She was a passionate lover of Earth and Mother Nature, as evidenced in her life and poetry. Last summer a dozen or so of us attended Elise's first (and only) poetry reading in Bethel, where we were deeply moved by the beauty, sensitivity and depth of her words.

Elise had just dropped off her "Parliament of Owls" series of paintings for the Shy, Novice and Closeted Art Show when she died suddenly. To honor Elise's life and creative force, Janet Willie is dedicating this year's show to her. You can visit the show on Saturday, July 2 from 9:00 – 4:00 at 18 High Street, Bethel.

A celebration of her life is being planned by her husband, Steve, and their sons Will and Sam. We will announce details when they become available.

Elise was truly a free spirit, and we will miss her terribly.