- About Us
Mrs. Elizabeth Gayer Corwin Alexander, 85, a resident of Accomac passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her beloved husband of 61 years and family on 5 June 2018. Born 30 May 1933 in Portsmouth, Ohio she was the only child of the late Dr. James Fay Corwin and Gladys Irene Brown Corwin. She is survived by her husband Dr. James Edward Alexander.
Her early education was at the Yellow Springs High School in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Upon graduation she enrolled in The Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in the Botanical Sciences in the spring of 1955. While at the the University she became an active member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. After completing a 1955 summer internship at The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute she applied to and was accepted into the Graduate School of Marine Science at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida where she obtained the Master’s Degree in 1957. Her choice of this school was greatly influenced by the ready availability of year round warm weather and by Dr. Corwin’s love of fishing in the warm climate. It was here that she met and married Jim Alexander who also was an avid fisherman and hunter in the Florida Everglades.
Betty and Jim spent the majority of their life together devoted to educating others on the need for conservation measures in every community they lived in including Eastchester, Armonk and Montauk, New York, St. Petersburg, Florida Wallops Island, Virginia Pocomoke, Maryland, and finally Accomac Virginia. Her love for and expertise in the Arts and Crafts occupied much of her “spare time” which she shared with all who had similar interests. These interests included Fine Bobbin Lace, French hand sewing and smocking, hand sewn quilt making, and “sheep to shawl” – the taking of hand shorn fleece, spinning it into yarn using antique spinning wheels, then dyeing the yarn with natural dyes and finally weaving the yarn on a huge jack-loom into incredibly beautiful fabrics. All of this was accomplished by her own hand. Ever the consummate craftsman, she perfected on her own so many other beautiful handmade treasures which she shared with a few, always self-deprecating in describing the beauty of her finished projects.
Mrs. Alexander was a lifelong member of the Girl Scouts of America, having earned a First Class Girl Scout designation. Girl Scouting was just another of her loves which followed her belief that lifting young women up in life was paramount to our future. She was also known for designing beautiful, functional, and historically accurate gardens for Museums in Montauk, Long Island and other areas. She was an avid Montauk Garden Club member, a member of the Montauk Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, a staunch feminist and activist, a Volunteer Red Cross Swimming Instructor and avid environmental conservationist. She owned and loved a very fast 5 speed mustang. Much to the delight of her grandchildren whom she frequently drove to school – squealing wheels every chance she got on the way. Other loves included the outdoors, camping, a decent horse to ride, and unfortunately for her family a great fondness for snakes. There were other loves but most of all was the Ocean from which she never lived far.
Mrs. A, as she was fondly known by her students at ESCC was far better recognized by her work as an Instructor in her laboratory at the college where she taught Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology along with her husband Jim (Dr. A.) in their “retirement” here on the Shore for 21 years. The laboratory was her domain where she constantly strived to update and provide the best possible educational opportunities for the “the kids” as their students were affectionately called by both of them. She always had time for the students and made arrangements to help them whenever they asked, even her own personal plans had to be changed. She believed that everyone had the right to learn and her dedication to this belief in the well over 700 students that passed through her classroom. She was definitely not an “easy A” but you can bet “her kids” had every chance to take advantage of her teaching skills. She was proud of all of them, and her students stand out among the nursing profession.
In addition to her husband she is survived by her only child, Mary Beth Alexander, four grandchildren, Lauren Alexandra Lewis of Los Angeles, California, Richard Alexander Lewis and wife Danielle of Parksley, Cailley Elizabeth Vaughan and Marilee Susanna Vaughan of Texas, two great grandchildren Kayleigh Brooke Greer, and Lynnlee Elizabeth Lewis, both of Parksley and her two furry children which “Punky and Sam”.
The family wishes to thank those talented and dedicated nurses and therapists who facilitated her wonderful care both at RSMH and through Intrepid Home Health Care and Hospice Care. Most especially, although too many to mention, Ann carter Nichols, Spencer Trower, the Nurses Pat, Megan, Begonia, Vanessa, Latonya, all her past students who graciously offered to help and others too many to mention, Drs. John Snyder, Robert Paschal, and Richard Hatch without whose help her wishes would never have been possible in making her last days comfortable at home with her family and furry children at her side until the end. There is not enough thanks in the world for their selfless and inspiring care. We also wish to thank the Reverend Allen Layman of Grace United Methodist Church, Parksley, Virginia who blessed us with home visits with Betty and her family by bringing word of Peace and Hope to us all during a most difficult time.
In accordance with Mrs. Alexander’s wishes no funeral was held, instead we ask any donations be made to the scholarship founded in her name (Mrs. A”, by her family at ESCC, Melfa, Virginia., Please contact the College for further information.
Arrangements were made by Williams Parksley Funeral Home, Parksley, Virginia.