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ELIZABETH ROBY STEFFEY


1946 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
ELIZABETH ROBY STEFFEY Obituary
STEFFEY, Elizabeth Roby After a two-week trip to her family's beloved camp on Canada's Georgian Bay, Beth Steffey died peacefully at her home in Dedham on Monday, August 8, of sudden cardiac arrest. She was 69. The former Elizabeth Roby was born Nov. 18, 1946, in Chicago, IL. With her husband of 48 years, Stewart H. (Nick) Steffey, Jr., she had four children and seven grandchildren. Over the years, the family lived in Farmington, CT; Philadelphia, PA; Sydney, Australia; and Greater Boston. Their vacation homes in Vermont and Ontario, Canada, were her favorite places to gather family together. Beth was a woman of exceptional kindness and consideration for others -- traits that were treasured by her family and were apparent also to friends and even casual acquaintances. Her effortless poise and radiant smile were always on display. From comforting her daughter through seizures to entertaining diplomats during East Asia business trips with her husband, Beth embodied grace under pressure. No one knew she spoke Russian. She and Nick loved singing together in the choirs of St. Paul's Church in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia and St. Paul's Church, Brookline. She was both graceful and spirited on the dance floor; not many could make rock 'n' roll as elegant. Active in her children's education, Beth was a former trustee of St. George's School in Newport, RI, and co-chair with Nick of the Parents' Committee at Bowdoin College. She was the former treasurer of Chestnut Hill Garden Club in Brookline and was active in the Garden Club of America. As her husband Nick said, she was not interested in having titles herself, but was the ballast in an active family and was extraordinarily encouraging of others. She was a generous supporter of the Camphill Communities in both Pennsylvania and New York State, which care for children and adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities. She was a longtime member of the Iron City Fishing Club, in Parry Sound, ON, the Chilton Club of Boston, and The Country Club of Brookline. In addition to a green thumb, Beth had a sweet tooth, a fact that she did not advertise -- reluctant, her daughter Liz believes, to set a bad example. The children always knew they could find Twizzlers in her sock drawer.  Later her sons and daughters-in-law found secret salted caramels in random cabinets. When so moved by life's misadventures, her infectious laugh could warm a room. Kept in a small frame on her desk was "A quiet life of simple purpose." Family members consider this her mantra, as long as one gives sufficient weight to the last word. In 1999 she crossed the Atlantic Ocean east to west in the sailboat Geronimo as part of the seven-person crew. With her uncommon athleticism she could ace her children in ping pong and always kept up with them on the tennis court, bay swims, and ski slopes while looking much more graceful than they did. In recent years she was active in Boston's Urban Improv mentoring program. Elizabeth Roby Steffey grew up in Ogden Dunes, IN, the second of three children born to William Roby and Dorothy Johnson Roby. She was the granddaughter of J. O. Johnson, a founding partner of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen in Chicago. After graduating at the top of her class at Valparaiso High School in 1964 (where she was Homecoming Queen!), she attended Wells College in New York, graduating in 1968. She and eight classmates -- the Wells girls -- formed a bond that sustained them all for half a century. On October 3, 1966, Beth met Nick Steffey of Pittsburgh, PA, who was instantly smitten and who captured her interest speaking about his love for his grandmother. Nick and Beth were married in Chicago on November 28, 1968. The first of their four children, Katherine Steffey, was born in 1970 with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Beth never balked at attending to her eldest child's challenges as she and Nick raised three additional children, Stewart, Elizabeth, and Tyler. She is survived by her brother, Richard Roby; sister, Barbara Hoekelman; daughter, Katherine Johnson Steffey of Foxboro, MA; son, Stewart Horner Steffey III (Hilde), of Arlington, MA; daughter, Elizabeth Steffey Vinton (Nathaniel), of Chappaqua, NY; and son, Tyler Roby Horner Steffey (Joanna), of Jamaica Plain, MA. She nurtured seven grandchildren who knew her as Gramme B. They are Eliza and Oscar Steffey of Arlington, MA; Anna, Euphemia, and Sarah Vinton of Chappaqua, NY; and Eleanor and Nicolas Steffey of Jamaica Plain, MA. A memorial service celebrating her life will be held on Aug. 20, at St Paul's Church on Court Street in Dedham at 10:30 AM. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the B-Safe Program, part of St. Stephen's Youth Programs: http://www.ssypboston.org. For online guestbook, gfdoherty.com. George F. Doherty & Sons Dedham 781 326 0500
Published in The Boston Globe on Aug. 12, 2016
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