Elizabeth Agnes Emily Bongie September 28, 1930 - May 18, 2013 Elizabeth ('Bettye') passed away at the age of 82 in Lady Minto Hospital on Salt Spring Island. She is survived by Larry, her husband of 54 years, her son Chris (Ishita), her brother William (Joan) and many cherished nieces, nephews and cousins. Born in Victoria, the daughter of William and Alice Bryson, Bettye did her undergraduate studies at Vic College and UBC, winning upon graduation in 1951 the coveted Governor General's Gold Medal. In the following years, she pursued doctoral studies at the University of Illinois and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, receiving her PhD in Classics in 1956. On her return to British Columbia, she was appointed the first woman tenure-track member of the Department of Classics at UBC where she taught until her retirement in 1992. The award of a Master Teaching prize was but one sign of the high esteem in which she was held by students and colleagues alike. In addition to her contributions to the teaching of Greek and Latin language, literature and mythology, Bettye was a pioneering contributor to both the Medieval and the Women's Studies programmes on campus. Over the course of her career, her scholarly and teaching interests ranged widely, from an early concentration on Greek paleography to an evolving focus on the spiritual lives of women in antiquity, well evidenced in her translation of the Life and Regimen of the Blessed and Holy Syncletica. Widely travelled, most notably in her retirement years, she and Larry eventually moved from Vancouver to Salt Spring, where she had spent many happy summers as a child. Gardening, reading, and embroidery filled her days and even in the midst of increasing health difficulties she held true to the words of Julian of Norwich, one of her favourite medieval woman mystics: "All Shall Be Well, And All Shall Be Well, And All Manner Of Thing Shall Be Well."
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The family wishes to thank Dr. James Franklin White, the Home & Community Care nurses of Salt Spring, and the nursing staff at Lady Minto Hospital for their unstinting care and assistance. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation or to a charity of choice are welcomed. A private memorial will be scheduled at a later date.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on May 22, 2013