Elisabeth Roitman
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Elisabeth Betty (Billings) Roitman. Age 99, beloved mother, friend and community leader, died in Needham, on April 16, 2021. She is survived by Peter Roitman and Doris Poulin, Michael Roitman and Emily Karstetter, Judith Roitman and Larry Pounds, and Jennie Roitman, her grandchildren Sara Roitman and Ben Whiting, Alexander Roitman and Leslie Wright, Jessie Pounds, Ben Pounds, and three great-grandchildren. After graduating from the Winsor School, Elisabeth traveled in Europe in 1939 and hastily returned home after war began. She graduated from Smith College, where she was student government President, and earned a Master's degree in government from Radcliffe. Her first job was with the National Labor Relations Board where she was the first woman Field Representative. She monitored union elections in canneries and coal mines, and met her husband Harold Roitman, a labor lawyer. They settled in Belmont and raised their five children. Elisabeth was generous with her leadership skills. She volunteered with the Girl Scouts, teaching leadership and a love of the outdoors, at one point directing programs for 500 girls. She was an active member of the Belmont League of Women Voters serving as President in 1959-1960. She helped found the Stinson Lake Association. After her children were grown, she worked for the Massachusetts Committee for Children and Youth, the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Social Services. After her husbands death, she moved to the North Hill Retirement community in Needham where she founded North Hill Reads, and led current events discussions. Elisabeth loved being outdoors, especially at her second home on Stinson Lake, NH. She continued to enjoy skiing in her 80s and inspired friends and neighbors by swimming in Stinson Lake late into her 90s. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made in her memory to the Massachusetts League of Womens Voters. https://my. lwv.org/massachusetts/belmont/donate

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Published in The Belmont Citizen-Herald from Apr. 20 to Apr. 22, 2021.
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12 entries
April 26, 2021
So incredibly sorry, Michael, Emily, Sarah, Alexander and family. We are sending you prayers of support and love- ❤.
Barbara and Doug Peterlin & Family
Friend
April 25, 2021
Betty was so inspiring, but so humble and kind.

It has been such a pleasure to have Betty and Harold and the Roitman clan as neighbors at the lake. The path between our cabins is well worn. May it be so for many years to come!
Peace,David Kraemer
David Kraemer
Friend
April 25, 2021
Betty was such an important person in Belmont. She led the Girl scouts for many years and was active in the political life always. She and Harold were very friendly and hospitable. We always enjoyed their company.
Fred and Anne Paulsen
Friend
April 24, 2021
RIP
Michelle Plakas-Kaiser
April 22, 2021
As a former neighbor in Belmont, I so admired Betty Roitman (and her late husband Harold) for their kind spirits and their work in the community. My condolences to all the family.
Sue Bass
Neighbor
April 22, 2021
Sixty-five years ago, the Scovell family moved to Watson Rd., Belmont, a few houses up the hill from the Roitman family.

The Scovells were in “Start a family, make a living” mode. The Roitman family culture had other dimensions, and we learned from them that living an engaged, contributory life could be blended with and enrich family life

The Roitmans were dedicated to fair labor practices, better, more participatory government in Belmont and in general, women’s rights, and supporting these activities as family. I wish I could say that we met the Roitman standards; I don’t think we did, but we tried.

Throughout many moves and many years, we stayed close to the Roitmans. On occasion, Cynthia and I vacationed with Harold and Betty. We traveled to Israel. The Caribbean. New Hampshire. All the exotic spots. We thought spending that much time together, we might hear one of them complain or criticize. But there was never a disparaging word. They were positive without being smug. Noble without being preachy.

At the heart of the Roitman family was Betty. She had her commitments and causes, but she also had that incredible personality. The smile, the voice, the intelligence, the empathy, the energy, the leadership, the kindness, the athleticism were superlative. She walked into a room, and everybody cheered up. The phrase “She was a moral compass” may be a cliche, but Betty was a moral compass. She really was.

I wish Betty had lived to ski down the mountain on her one-hundredth birthday. I wish I could have seen her one more time. I wish I could have known ten more like her in my lifetime.
Mel Scovell
Friend
April 21, 2021
Many thoughts and feelings are swirling through me upon hearing about your Betty’s death. I hear her unique voice ... firm and clear, warm and loving. Intelligence and passion were the backstory to her activism. To me she seemed fearless, and of course feisty. I am sad that I missed that last birthday party, and I am reminded again how important it is to live each day to the fullest. Her death is also a reminder of the work and sacrifice of our parents in raising us and fighting for a more just world. She was a great role model for us all.

I won't ever forget the trust and freedom and truly loving support she provided when I joined the Roitman family for 6 months in 1972 after my family moved to Minneapolis. I really hadn't known Betty at all, and she offered me a most important opportunity to escape from Minnesota winter, live with the family, and graduate with all of our wonderful Belmont High friends during our last senior year moments. As a teenager, I took a lot for granted and didn't fully appreciate the gift, nor fully thank her. She really became like a second Mom.

I know that there are questions unanswered and conversations no longer possible with my parents. I know how significant it is to lose Betty no matter her age, no matter how much time you've been able to spend with her. She was a very special person.

I am thinking of the whole family and our friendship.

With love,
Jay
Jay Kilbourn
Friend
April 21, 2021
My sympathies and condolences to the entire Roitman family. Elizabeth Roitman was an amazing woman. May her memory be fir a blessing.
Susan Veale
Friend
April 20, 2021
Wow, I am in awe of the incredible woman Judy called mom. And, Now I know where Judy gets her talents and sense of service from. My thoughts and prayers are with Judy and her family. God wrap His arms around you and grant you peace.
Meryl Rice
Friend
April 20, 2021
Knowing Judy and reading about Elizabeth , it's easy to see that the fruit didn't fall far from the tree. What an accomplished life Elizabeth led and what a legacy she has left. I know Judy will miss her Mom but what wonderful memories she has from this incredible woman.
Ann Lucas
Friend
April 19, 2021
Knowing Elizabeth's daughter Judy, gives me some sense of Elizabeth's deep concern for family and community, style of calm and inclusive leadership, and sense of humor, justice and purpose. I am sorry Judy for your family's loss at this time.
Clare Sullivan
Friend
April 19, 2021
What a role model. Judy, no wonder you are such an Activist. Wonderful Mother, lovely Daughter. You speak well of her. Blessings.
Annie Golson
Friend
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