Elizabeth F. King (a.k.a. Betty Rae King) of Celebration, Florida died on Jan. 2 at 3:30 p.m. due to a stroke. She was 84 years old.
Betty Rae was born in West Hartford, on July 8, 1936. She studied education at Saint Joseph’s College in West Hartford and went on to become an elementary school teacher. She married Donald A. King on July 28, 1962 and remained faithfully married to him for 42 years when she became a widow.
She lived in West Hartford, Westport, Old Lyme, Avon, Easton and Darien. Betty Rae’s life was marked by a set of commitments to her husband, children, extended family and her faith. Once widowed, she dismissed any notion of dating or remarrying.
As a mother, Betty Rae was there every single day to greet her children after school. She steadfastly supported her children’s education, fighting fierce battles with teachers and school administrators when her children did not fit the prescribed mold. Betty Rae took loving care of her in-laws and extended family whenever they needed support, bringing them home cooked meals each week.
She was also a committed Catholic believing that there is a Christian way to living one’s life; she modeled the importance of providing loving kindness and forgiveness each and every day.
In the 1980s, Betty Rae had the perseverance and determination to complete a second degree in senior social services at a community college. She then went on to work at an independent living facility in Fairfield.
When her husband suddenly passed away, she lived independently for a few years before living with her son Gerry for a short while and then moved into an independent living facility in Darien, a few miles from her daughter Elizabeth.
In 2018, Betty Rae moved to Florida to be near her son Christopher at an independent living facility down the street. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, Betty Rae moved in with Christopher along with his wife Kira, grandson Sasha, granddaughter Katya and Kira’s 96-year-old mother, Nadia.
Betty Rae leaves behind three children: Gerry King of Easton; Christopher King of Orlando, Florida; Elizabeth Decker of Old Greenwich; and her sister, Patricia Burns of Worcester, Massachusetts; along with seven grandchildren.
Betty Rae always said: “If you are going to give me flowers, then do so when I am alive for Heaven’s sake.” In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate to these two charities that were close to her heart:
—University of Saint Joseph tutoring services for struggling students (Center for Academic Excellence at the University of St. Joseph, 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117) and
—Huntington’s Disease Society of America (505 Eighth Avenue / Suite 902 New York, NY 10018 care of Donald A. King Fellowship) because her husband served as chairman of the board for many years.
Betty Rae enjoyed playing bridge, spending time on the Connecticut shore, eating lobster, and being with family and friends.
She will be remembered for the deep love she had for family, her resilience to “bloom where she was planted,” her stubborn courage to fight for what she believed was right, and for her award-winning smile.
Funeral services and burial were private.
— an obituary from Molloy Funeral Home, where online condolences may be left.