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Betty Newling "Betsy" Bloomingdale

1922 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Betty Newling "Betsy" Bloomingdale Obituary
August 2, 1922 - July 19, 2016 Betsy Bloomingdale, famous hostess and style icon, has died at her Holmby Hills home where she entertained Hollywood stars and world leaders for more than fifty seven years. Born into a very different Los Angeles in August 1922, she was the only child of Dr. and Mrs. Russell Lee Newling. She grew up on Maple Drive in Beverly Hills, where she attended Marymount and Marlborough schools and then studied art at Bennett College, in Millbrook, New York. In 1946, she married Alfred Schiffer Bloomingdale, a grandson of Lyman Gustaf Bloomingdale, co-founder of the department store. Besides being founder and chairman of the Diners Club (he is sometimes remembered as the "father of the credit card"), he was a key member of Ronald Reagan's Kitchen Cabinet. Since 1970 Betsy was mentioned for many years in the Hall of Fame's Best Dressed List and was a recipient of various European fashion awards. She was often quoted on style, in numerous publications, including Women's Wear Daily, Vogue, House and Garden and the New York Times. She was asked to design floral fabrics and at home wear for a New York-based fashion house: Swirl. Their labels read, "Betsy Bloomingdale for Swirl." Betsy enjoyed her many years on the lecture circuit, where she traveled the country lecturing on: "Style, everyone has it, anyone can get it." She maintained that the quality of one's lifestyle does not necessarily depend on wealth; that a sense of style and taste are acquired with knowledge, not money. Her book, "Entertaining with Betsy Bloomingdale," reveals an intimate look into her secrets for entertaining with style. It has been said that her dinner parties were nothing short of legendary. Mrs. Bloomingdale served on several committees related to the arts: the Costume Council of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She was also a founding member of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress. Her philanthropy extended to an active role in The Colleagues, a group of close-knit friends, Nancy Reagan among them, who raised funds to support the Children's Institute International. The CII is a nationally recognized agency which supports children and families in crisis in multiple locations in Los Angeles County. As she herself often said, "how surprising and wonderful for an only child to be the head of such a large and loving family," whom she entertained beautifully at every holiday. She is survived by her sons, Geoffrey (Polly) and Robert (Justine) Bloomingdale, and her daughter, Lisa Bloomingdale Bell (Robert), eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider making a memorial donation to: The Colleagues, 3312 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405; or to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, 919 South Grand Ave., L.A. 90015. At her request there will be no funeral.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from July 21 to July 22, 2016
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