Elizabeth Mickley (Fogel) Prince|
October 16, 1915 - September 23, 2012
Resident of Aptos, CA
Elizabeth Prince passed away peacefully at her home in Aptos on the evening of Sunday, September 23, 2012. She was less than a month from her 97th birthday. Despite failing health she was able to enjoy the comforts of her own home with the help of her caregivers Gloria and Adrianna along with daily attention from her sons Michael, Tim, Steve and Daughter-in-law Patricia.
Elizabeth was a strong, intelligent and independent soul who was far ahead of her time in many ways, setting precedents in many areas of life and work now accepted as natural for women in our society.
She was born in Allentown, PA to longtime Pennsylvania Dutch families. Her father, Frederick K. Fogel, and mother, Irene E. Mickley, were both from families that had been in Pennsylvania since the 1600's. She had a younger brother, Herman, who called her "Bossy Betty." Herman preceded her in death.
Elizabeth was a very good student, once completing two grades in one year and graduating from high school in 1932 at the age of sixteen. She was particularly good at Math, but the opportunities for women in those days were pretty limited with teaching being the best possibility. With that in mind she attended West Chester State Teachers College, graduating in 1936 with a degree in Math and English with teaching credentials. During the Depression it was difficult to find work as a teacher and so she took a job as a social worker interviewing women with babies in rural areas seeking assistance through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. She eventually did get a job teaching Social Studies in a local Junior High, but after a few years her adventurous spirit took hold.
In 1941 she and a friend moved to New York City with $100 between them. They were able to get jobs at downtown department stores, which allowed them to buy meals on credit from the stores when the paycheck was gone. They got better jobs and made due. Meanwhile, Elizabeth enrolled at Columbia University and over the next five years earned a Master's Degree in Education, majoring in guidance and personnel. During this time of War she also tried to enlist in the Navy's Women's Reserve but was not accepted due to her eyesight. Later, she worked for an artillery manufacturer as a mathematician and plotter for testing of their equipment. After the war, in 1947, she joined the Red Cross and worked with families in need in Brooklyn, helped with flooding disasters in Florida and eventually ran the Red Cross office in Carmel. Elizabeth moved to Carmel in 1948 and began the next phase of her life, with over 64 years in her new state, California.
In Carmel she returned to one of her earlier loves, the theater. She was a charter member of the Carmel Forest Theater Guild where she was in charge of sets and enjoyed small parts in productions. It was here that she met her future husband, David Prince of San Francisco and Carmel. Early in their marriage, David worked in sales throughout the Southwest. As a result, Elizabeth travelled from her home in La Selva Beach to Pasadena for the birth of her first child Michael in 1952 and then to Nogales, Arizona for Tim's birth in 1954. After that the family settled in the Watsonville and Las Lomas area. David and Elizabeth switched roles long before the popularity of the Mr. Mom concept. David stayed home with their two sons working on additions to their home while Elizabeth returned to her teaching career at the Moss Landing School, eventually becoming the Principal in 1957. She recalls coming home from work to find her two young sons and husband at work on the roof of their house, not too sure that was a safe parenting style. In 1959 they moved to Chico, CA for warmer weather and better access to a University for Elizabeth to further her studies in Education. It was here that her third son Peter Stephen was born, shortly before her 44th birthday. Chico was too hot and the prospect of better job opportunities led them to move to San Jose in 1960.
The family lived in San Jose until shortly after David's death in 1976. During this time Elizabeth continued her career as an educator and breadwinner for the family. She was a high school teacher, Vice Principal and Dean of Girls at Edwin Markham Junior High, Principal of Willow Glen Elementary School and finally, the Director of Special Education for San Jose Unified School District. After David's death she retired and moved to Aptos in Santa Cruz County with her youngest son Steve and lived there for the next 35 years.
Elizabeth was very active in retirement, working as a tax preparer and as a member of several organizations. Because of her leadership skills she was a member and served in various officer positions for the Quota Club, League of Women Voters, the New Newcomers, the American Association of University Women, and the California Retired Teachers Association. She was active with the Lifelong Learners program at Cabrillo College, travelled extensively and participated in several Bridge groups. She was determined to keep her mind sharp and always worked the crossword puzzles, anagrams and Sudoku puzzles in the paper with Steve and Patricia until the end.
Elizabeth was a pioneer, a leader, a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend and a role model. She is survived by her three sons, daughter-in-laws Patricia and Carolyn, grandson Aaron and his wife Maria, Grandsons Robert and Jake, Great-grandson Anthony, her nephew Fred and her niece Ellen. A private family ceremony is planned. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Hospice of Santa Cruz County, 940 Disc Dr, Scotts Valley, CA 95066.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Sept. 30, 2012