Elizabeth Anne (Lerch) Vasta
Burlington County - Elizabeth Anne (Lerch) Vasta, age 86, daughter of Ben and Virginia Lerch, passed quietly in her sleep after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease on 1 July 2019 at the Masonic Home in Burlington County, NJ. Bette leaves behind her loving family, including her three children, Beth, Tom, and Bob and his wife Gloria; three grandchildren from Bob and Gloria - Megan Smith, Brittany Vasta, and Caitlin Vasta; two great-grandchildren, Emily and Gabriella Smith; and her sister, Sally Barlow. Bette's husband of 54 years, Sebastian (Ben), passed in 2011.
Bette was born at Cooper Hospital in Camden, NJ, on 12 January, 1933, and was raised in Merchantville, NJ, where she spent most of her life. She attended Merchantville Elementary School and Merchantville High School, and graduated with a B.S in Chemistry from Bucknell University. After graduating, Bette worked as a chemist for Smith, Kline and French in Philadelphia, where she met her husband Ben, and later as a scientific and medical abstract reviewer for BIOSIS for over 10 years. Bette was a renaissance woman who was involved in many different pursuits with work, friends, family, and the community. She was a member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and stayed in close contact with many friends from college through her life. She enjoyed the arts as a closet painter; an outstanding pianist, who played for the children's choir at the Merchantville Trinity United Methodist Church; and as a soprano in the church adult choir. She was a skilled chemist, and, according to company records, was the first woman to build a hi-fi system using a Heathkit set in 1957. A brilliant card player, Bette regularly earned Master's Points in bridge tournaments, while also organizing and running duplicate bridge games in community venues, as well as several bridge clubs with friends that spanned over 50 years. She was an athlete who loved to swim; she spent many a hot day in the pool at Woodbine Swim Club in Pennsauken doing dozens of laps. Along with other friends, Bette was part of a monthly gourmet club - she was a tremendous cook - and everyone looked forward to her latest masterpiece.
Bette also trained and then volunteered as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in her hometown of Merchantville. She captained the volunteer squad for over two decades and served as their president for over 15 years. Rumor has it that she decided to join because her oldest son Bob kept getting hurt and she wanted to improve the ambulance response time.
Bette was a passionate Philadelphia Phillies fan - she attended hundreds of games over the years - keeping a detailed and accurate scorebook at every one. Bette's greatest joy was Long Beach Island at the Jersey shore - and Beach Haven in particular. It was the rare summer she failed to spend at least two weeks enjoying the beach, the crab and clam bakes, riding the waves (and she taught her three children to body surf!), and soaking in all the wonders of the ocean environs. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends.
A visitation is scheduled for 10:00 am on 6 September 2019 at Merchantville's Trinity United Methodist Church, followed by a Memorial Service at 11:00 am. The Alloway Funeral Home, Merchantville, NJ is providing the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Alzheimer's or Cancer research.
Published in Courier Post on Jul. 26, 2019.