Betty Grindlay | AspenTimes.com

Betty Grindlay

Elizabeth Ellis (Betty) Grindlay, a longtime Aspen resident, died in Arlington, Mass., on Monday, Feb. 21. She was 88 years old.Betty was born on July 11, 1916, to Fred C. and Auguste Helmholz Ellis in Milwaukee. Auguste was the only daughter of the prominent August and Elise Vögel Helmholz family. Betty was the youngest of four children and grew up in Milwaukee’s German culture. Her three brothers, Oakman, Fred and Farnsworth Ellis, preceded her in death.She attended Smith College in Northampton, Mass., and, in 1939, married John Happer Grindlay of Youngstown, Ohio, then a fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. While Dr. Grindlay spent two-and-a-half years in China and Burma before and during World War II, Betty and their eldest daughter, Sara Elizabeth, lived with Betty’s mother in Milwaukee.Upon his return from the war, Dr. Grindlay was assigned to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., and the Stuart Circle Hospital in Richmond, Va., where their second child, Jonathan Ellis was born. They moved back to Rochester in 1946, where Lorna Auguste was born and where Dr. Grindlay rose to become director of surgical research at the Mayo Clinic.While in Rochester, Betty was active in the League of Women Voters, the Unitarian-Universalist Church, and was a force in local politics, serving as the Republican Party state chairwoman at a time when moderates ruled the party.When Dr. Grindlay retired in 1966, he and Betty moved to Colorado. Two years after Dr. Grindlay’s death in 1968, Betty moved to Aspen where she lived until 2001.Before and during her 30 years in Aspen, Betty, an active member of the Orton Society, tutored numerous children and adults at a card table in her Aspen home on ways to overcome the challenges of living and learning with dyslexia, and was instrumental in bringing the disorder to the attention of local school officials in western Colorado.She served on the Board of Trustees of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, and was its chair for two years. She was also an active skier and tennis player. Her other great passions were German shepherds and classical music; hers was a familiar face at Aspen concerts, and she hosted a classical music program on an Aspen radio station.Her later years were spent in assisted living facilities in Aspen, Carbondale and Arlington, Mass., where she passed away comforted by her son and daughter-in-law and embraced by all her family in spirit. Her children: Sara of Portland, Ore., Josh of Lincoln, Mass., and Lorna of Denver, plus four grandchildren, survive her.A memorial service will be held in Aspen at a date to be announced. Contributions in Betty’s memory may be made to the Music Associates of Aspen.


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