VINALHAVEN — Betsy Dickinson Bates, of Vinalhaven, Maine, formerly of Somerville, Massachusetts, peacefully departed this life on October 29, 2019.
She was the beloved daughter of the late Kent and Ruth (Hummel) Dickinson and beloved sister of the late Marie Fuerst; beloved wife of the late Paul M. Bates; beloved and cherished aunt of Michelle Fuerst of Lindenwold, New Jersey; Nicole Lamont (Alonzo) of Baltimore, Maryland; and Julie Beck (Robert) of Westfield, New Jersey; and beloved and treasured great-aunt of Bobby, Ryan, Amelia, and Aaron Beck.
Betsy graduated from Council Rock High School in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and Boston University with a degree in Public Relations, and later with a Master’s degree in counseling. She worked at Boston University’s News Bureau and then the Alumni Affairs office.
Realizing how much she enjoyed working with students, she decided to get her Master’s in counseling and worked at the B.U. School of Public Communication’s Freshman/Sophomore Advising Center, ending her career as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. During her time in the Advising Center, Betsy counseled countless students and each student knew that they had her undivided attention. Her students were all “babies” and when they got older Betsy would say, “they used to be a baby, but they grew up!”
In 1992 Betsy and Paul made a life-changing decision and moved to Vinalhaven Island in Maine. They loved the close-knit community of the island and were involved in many volunteer activities Betsy also worked in several jobs on Vinalhaven at the Deli, the Store on the Hill, and as Town Librarian, where she especially loved working with children and Story Time with little ones. After she retired, Betsy continued her numerous volunteer activities at the Union Church, Community Lunch Box, Friends of the Library, Vinalhaven Community Outreach, the Pet Food Pantry, Jingle Bells Fund, Meals on Wheels, and the annual Benefit Challenge for Emergency Services.
One of the many ways she gave of herself was through cooking. For many years she delivered Coffee Cakes (or chocolate cakes if you prefer) around town at Christmas; handed out Snickerdoodle cookies at Halloween; made food for the firefighters when there was a storm and they might need to stay at the firehouse; and made brown bread and coleslaw for the annual Bean Suppers. A lover of animals, for many years Betsy managed the Pet Food Pantry for anyone needing help feeding their animals.
Betsy was a woman of great faith, who lived her faith in her daily life and works. Betsy always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. She looked for the goodness in everyone. May all who loved her honor her by trying to live a little bit like Betsy every day.
Betsy was so grateful for the help she received from so many friends during the time she was ill. She would say, “People are wonderful.” She was grateful for all the love that had been shown to her during her life.
Special thanks are extended to Jen Sargent Desmond and Jim Hogan of Islands Community Medical Services and Karen Jackson of Maine Care at Home for their compassionate care.
All are invited to a service in celebration of Betsy’s life on Saturday, November 23, at 11 a.m., at the Union Church of Vinalhaven.
In lieu of flowers, friends are invited to donate to the Union Church of Vinalhaven; the Pet Food Pantry of Vinalhaven; or Pope Memorial Humane Society, P.O. Box 1294, Rockland, Maine, 04841.
One of Betsy’s favorite poems, displayed in her office, was “The Work of Christmas,” written by Howard Thurman, who was Dean of Boston University’s Marsh Chapel. Betsy lived Christmas every day.
“When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.”
Condolences may be shared at www.longfuneralhomecamden.com.
Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 9 Mountain Street, Camden.