Elizabeth Votruba

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Elizabeth M. (Betty) Votruba

Elizabeth M. (Betty) Votruba passed away peacefully on July 5, 2014, her one hundredth year.

She was preceded in death by her husband, James F. Votruba, and their daughter, Mary Lou Votruba. She is survived by her son, James C. Votruba, daughter-in-law, Rachel M. Votruba, and grandchildren, James C. Votruba (Heather), Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal (Peter),  and Emily Votruba. Great grandchildren include Anthony Votruba, Lilly Skrip, James Votruba-Drzal, Nicholas Votruba, Thomas Votruba-Drzal, and Dominic Porter. Surviving nieces include Susan Storm, Judy Smith, Betty Ann Suriano, Mary Jane McCaffery, and Jeane O'Callaghan. She is also survived by her dear friends Maxine and Jake Ferris.

Born December 18, 1914, Betty Votruba's life spanned most of the 20th Century. She was the first in her family to attend college and while at Michigan State University, met her husband, Jim, also a first generation college student. She earned a BA in social work and later returned to MSU as an adult learner to earn an MS in counseling. She was a social worker early in her career and later served as a counselor at St. John's Student Center in East Lansing, Michigan. She and her husband were active supporters of Michigan State University where she served as a docent at the MSU Museum. She was an antique collector, a landscape artist, and an avid student of early American history. She was also a lifelong advocate for equality of opportunity, social justice, and education as the primary pathway for both individual and social progress. She was a liberal Democratic social worker who fashioned a deeply rich and loving life with her husband, a traditional Republican businessman. It would be an understatement to say that, over their forty-six year marriage, each broadened the other's perspective.

Betty Votruba often spoke on behalf of those who have no voice. A convert to Roman Catholicism, She was a person of deep faith who called on her church to embrace reforms that she felt more closely reflected the spirit of the gospels. She was strong and resilient, optimistic and hopeful, caring and compassionate, a great listener, and she possessed an inordinate capacity to both love and be loved.

In life, attitude matters. At age ninety, with diminished sight, hearing, and mobility, she wrote in her memoir, "Some people in our culture would say that I am in the winter of my life. But I don't agree. I have the love and support of my family and friends. So, I feel more like I'm in the spring, when all the earth is renewing itself and nature is alive and fresh, budding and blossoming with new hope. And I am here to enjoy all the love and beauty around me." This is how she will be remembered.

Visitation will be held Monday July 21, 2014 at St. John's Church and Student Center, 327 MAC Avenue, East Lansing, Michigan, 48823  from 2pm to 3pm with Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 3pm. Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery, 2600 E. Mt. Hope Avenue, Lansing, Michigan, 48910

In Lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the James F. and Elizabeth M. Votruba Scholarship Fund, C/O Michigan State University, College of Education, 620 Farm Lane, Room 513, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824

Online condolences can be made to www.dmefuneral.com

Published in Lansing State Journal on July 16, 2014
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