WIGGINS, Elizabeth Folinsbee Died peacefully on April 30, 2016, surrounded by family at her home in Brunswick, ME, at the age of 99.|
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elizabeth, who was known as Beth or Bessie, grew up in New Hope, PA, where her father, John Folinsbee, was an eminent painter in the Pennsylvania Impressionism movement, and her mother Ruth was a civic leader. Beth attended Smith College in Northampton, MA, and worked at McCann Erickson in New York before marrying Elmer W. Wiggins, Jr., who went by "Wig," in 1940.
Beth and Wig spent several years before the war in Cali, Colombia, and Lima, Peru, forming friendships that would last a lifetime. They later settled down and raised their family in Dedham, MA, where they lived for almost fifty years before retiring to Thornton Oaks in Brunswick, ME. Beth and Wig shared a summer house in Woolwich, ME, with her sister Joan and brother-in-law Peter Cook, and "Murphy's Corner" became the beloved site of annual family vacations and reunions with the foursome's children, grandchildren, and extended family.
Beth was passionate about justice and peace, often commenting that many of the world's ills could be attributed to human greed. She generously volunteered her time to the Family Services of Dedham, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Arts Committee at Thornton Oaks, Maine Mid Coast Hospital, and as a reader to the blind in her community. Her intellectual curiosity and open-mindedness only expanded as her age advanced, and she enthusiastically audited undergraduate classes at Bowdoin well into her nineties and championed progressive politics and social equality. She was an avid reader, Boston sports fan, and letter-writer with a gift for unusual and lyrical turns of phrase.
Beth was predeceased by her husband, Wig, who died in 2000, her brother-in-law, Peter, and her son-in-law, Roger Hooker. She is survived by her sister, Joan Cook, of Princeton, NJ; her daughter Joan Hooker of Palisades, NY; her son Michael Wiggins and wife Gail Lemily Wiggins of Cambridge, MA; and her daughter Ruth Appleyard and husband Jonathan Appleyard of Woolwich, ME; as well as seven grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren and a flock of nieces, nephews and grand-nieces and nephews. The family is deeply grateful for the gift of loving care which Beth received from extraordinary caregivers and the Brunswick CHANS Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Beth's memory to the humanitarian causes she cared so deeply about:
, and Amnesty International. Her family will gather in Maine in August to host a celebration of her life. Memories and condolences can be shared at www.brackettfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Boston Globe on May 3, 2016