Saturday, September 24, 2022

Elizabeth A. ‘Betsy’ Flood.  July 9, 1941 – September 2, 2022

She was at home in any setting! Wilderness or a city highrise! - Ellen Ostero

Elizabeth “Betsy” Flood had a lifetime of engagement with Initiatives of Change in Canada and abroad, applying its philosophy of ‘being the change you want to see in the world’ in her life, her teaching and her care for the natural world. She was a strong supporter of programs offering training for young people, such as the Caux Scholar’s Program, and saw the importance of preserving and sharing its rich history through archive development. The friendships she developed in IofC’s global network took her to many countries such as the UK, Switzerland, India, the Philippines and Japan.  She brought her exceptional organizational skills to the IofC Canada association, serving on its board for five years and as Chair from 2003 to 2004.

When we first met Betsy, her parents had just acquired the property near Tottenham, Ontario known as ‘Stoho’ because of the stone house. They were in the process of planting hundreds of fir trees, which slowly grew into the forest, through which we and many friends later had the pleasure of walking. She worked tirelessly in the fruit and vegetable garden and generously shared its bounty.

In 1974, IofC Canada decided to purchase a home as a centre in Montreal, and we had the privilege of being among its first occupants. The necessary funds were raised from the IofC team across the country and, as part of this effort, Betsy drew detailed plans of the house, so that people could live into and feel ownership of the project. She was always of an extremely practical bent, attending to every detail and making sure all was properly thought through.

Betsy was a teacher by profession, always clear and precise in her instructions! She taught with purpose and with great interest in her students and the school environment. Her subject was History, but on her own initiative and out of her own interest in the multicultural and multifaith character of the school, she asked if she could teach a course on World Religions. It was a success beyond all expectation. Through this class, she helped the students appreciate each other’s faith and traditions. This, according to the principal, had changed the atmosphere in the school for the better.

Betsy was an excellent listener and a caring mentor. She extended her gift of friendship to neighbours next door and on the far side of the globe. We were among those who received regular calls from Betsy. We could expect to hear the news of the return of the geese to the pond in the spring or the sighting of a deer or other wildlife, always shared with delight. She showed a great interest in our family, first in our sons and then in our grandsons, always enquiring about their development. She continued to call us even after her illness progressed to the point where she was barely able to speak. The day before she died, we were offered the opportunity to call and say a few final words, which we were assured Betsy could hear, even though she was unable to respond. She was happy, after a long absence, to be back in her beloved Stoho, and from that small piece of paradise on earth to depart for the greater paradise beyond.

Richard & Rosalind Weeks

Celebration of Betsy’s life: September 25th, 2022, in Tottenham, Ontario.