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Elizabeth Heard

Elizabeth Betty Heard, affectionately known to her family as Nonni, passed away September 26th, 2013. She was a remarkable woman. Born Elizabeth Ann Catani in August of 1919, Betty was raised in Milton, Massachusetts - back when the town was mostly pastureland. In high school, she was courted by David Heard of Waban. David met Betty at a Harvard Club dance and was hopelessly love-struck by her Italian beauty and charm. He proved a tenacious suitor. David rode his bicycle 20 miles from Waban to Milton to visit her. Whenever Betty went out with other boys, David would ride to Milton and wait patiently on Bettys front stoop in order to introduce himself to his competition at the end of the night. He would then bid them farewell and bicycle back home. David and Betty were finally married in 1943 after Betty followed the advice of her big sister Dina: For Christs sake, Betty, marry the boy and put him out of his misery! Betty supported David when he served in both World War II and the Korean War and afterwards as he pursued a career in civil engineering. At the same time she raised a family of six in Waban. She is survived by all of her children: David, Joseph, Elissa, Christina, Michele, and Nathaniel. A kind and doting mother, Betty encouraged her family to pursue an eclectic array of interests including photography, sports, and backyard bug collecting. She loved taking the troop on fieldtrips to the beach and to visit historical landmarks. Throughout her life, Betty remained selflessly supportive her children. Her door was always open and she cared for them deeply. David and Betty eventually settled in Wareham in a small house built on Davids family land in Great Neck. There, they lived alongside the ocean and hosted an endless succession of family and friends. They entertained their guests wiith swimming, sailing, quahoging, and best of all lobster dinners on the front terrace. On the subject of food, Betty worked magic in the kitchen. She was celebrated for her culinary talent. Her delicious meals included roasts, lasagnas, stews, pies, and stuffed quahogs. The driveway to the Wareham house was paved with crushed shells from hundreds of quahog feasts. Her pecan pie was ambrosia wrapped in a crust; her lasagna was second to none. An avid traveler in her later years, Betty road-tripped through Europe and toured Southeast Asia. She smiled politely through hours of background checks and questioning by custom s officials in order to enter the Peoples Republic of China. She did so at time when very few westerners dared t o visit the country. She visited Australia and the islands of New Zealand. She marveled at the ruins of Machu Picchu and laughed at Blue-footed Bobbies dancing in he Galapagos. Accomplished photographers, she and her husband David documented their trips with the details and Kodak-color vividness of a National Geographic article. Betty also played an integral role in the community. She was a member of the Wareham Historical Society, the Wareham Chapter of the Red Hat Society, and the Wareham Garden Club. Just last year, her orchid won a blue ribbon at the 2012 Boston Flower Show. She was one of the founding members of The Fortune Seekers, a successful local investment club. In her downtime, Betty ran with a group of very distinguished ladies. Arlene, Cynthia, Dottie, Helen, Fran, and Mary Bella Facia were bon-vivants and incorrigible gamblers. Every Saturday they meet to share dinner and play Rummikub , a tile rummy game, on which they bet 25 cents a round or 50 cents if the stakes were high. The games were always played for the camaraderie, never for the pot. The gang was also known for indulging in New Years Eve Chinese food feasts, tea parties, and various other holiday celebrations. Gertrude and Kathleen were also two of her most cherished and intimate friends. Nonni was loved by her family. For the Heards, especially her 10 grandchildren, summers at Camp Nonni were a rite of passage. Children slept in sleeping bags littered across the floor of the house and the better part of each day was spent in salt water. As the grandchildren grew older, Nonni turned out to be a bit of a gossip girl. She took great pleasure in interrogating her granddaughters about their love lives. Grandsons were scolded to be careful , to get their act together, and at the same time, they were commended on their accomplishments It was an odd combination that left both parties with warm hearts. Perhaps Bettys greatest legacy is her kindness and altruism. As one friend put it, When Betty talked to you, you felt like you were the only person who mattered. She sincerely cared for others and for that, people felt special in her presence. Elizabeth Ann Catani Heard was special. She was extraordinary. We love you Nonni and we always will. Your spirit is alive and full in our hearts. A happy celebration of Bettys life will be held at the Bay Point Club in Onset on October 6th from 2PM to 5PM. There will be a private burial. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: Southcoast Hospitals Group/External Affairs, 101 Page Street New Bedford, MA 02740. Please include the note: Tobey Bike Rack in the memo section. Betty wanted to install bike racks at the Tobey Hospital, perhaps in tribute that dogged David H eard.


Published in Wareham Courier from Oct. 1 to Oct. 8, 2013
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