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Elizabeth Pigford


1929 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Elizabeth Pigford Obituary
Elizabeth Weekes Pigford

November 3, 1929 - January 28, 2018

In an unexpected, but characteristic move, Elizabeth Weekes Pigford slipped away quietly on Sunday morning, January 28. With her glasses on the bedside table and her book by her side, she died as she had lived, without much fanfare but with an abundance of grace. She was 88.
Betty, christened Elizabeth Tucker Hood, was born to Alva Brown Hood and Donald Tucker Hood a few days after the beginning of the Great Depression for which she took no blame, nor accepted any responsibility. Her upbringing in Brookline and Marion, Massachusetts during that time did shape her, however, to be frugal and cautious with resources. Her love of recycling is legendary. Her father's parents, Frederic Clark Hood and Myra Tucker Hood were also a fascination to her throughout her life, culminating in the writing of a memoir in 2008, Front and Center, about Frederic and the Hood Rubber Company in Watertown, Massachusetts.
She attended The Park School and The Winsor School in Brookline. Betty became the President of the New England Student Government Association her Senior year at Winsor, and consequently became a chairman at the Fourth National Conference on Citizenship in 1949 in New York City. Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, graduated Betty in 1952 with an AB in Political Science.
Known over the years as Bobbit, Hoodie, and briefly in 2014 as "Gamer Babe" after an appearance on the jumbotron at the Giants game while holding her 1935 baseball glove, Betty was best known in her adult life as a woman working for the good causes of her world. Among these are People for Open Space, East Bay Activities Center, California Shakespeare Festival, Aurora Theatre Group, and finally, with great aplomb, Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra. Betty was a member of the board of directors for BCCO for over 10 years, and in that time successfully professionalized development efforts for the chorus.  One of her most notable other achievements was serving on the search committee that ultimately brought Ming Luke to the chorus as Music Director. If St. Peter suddenly asks you for a generous donation to some good works, we will know for sure where Betty is now.
Her great loves were art, music and baseball. She made cross-country forays specifically to see art openings at the Met. Symphonies and operas were nourishment to her soul until her literal final day, when she organized a group to see the simulcast of Tosca on her last Saturday morning. And she could still name the Red Sox lineup from the 1940s led by Ted Williams.
She is survived by two daughters: Janvrin Weekes Demler who lives in Dedham, Massachusetts with her husband James Demler and their daughter Elizabeth Weekes Demler; Laura Delano Weekes of Los Angeles; and by her stepdaughter, Julie Pigford Earnest of Portland, Oregon. Betty's second husband was Thomas Pigford, the founding chairman of the Nuclear Engineering Department at UC Berkeley. She is also survived by her first husband and the father of her children, Frederic Delano Weekes, of Lakewood, Washington. Her sister Alva Hood Angle lives in Rochester, New York, and her brother Frederic Clark Hood II and his wife Johanna Seaver Hood live in South Dartmouth, MA.
Many from the younger generations have counted on Betty over the years for her advice and cheerleading abilities. Loyalty is one of the virtues that Betty considered to be most important and seldom was she heard speaking ill of anyone. Betty consistently underestimated the positive effect that she had in people's lives, and the love and respect she inspired. She was a steadying influence, and with her love of sailing and the water would advise us now, shaken by her loss, "One hand for the boat."
In lieu of flowers, the family asks to please consider a donation to Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, or to Vassar College.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 14, 2018
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