December 4, 2012
Elizabeth “Betty” Farson spent her childhood with her brother Phil and sister Bina in rural Missouri. Her lawyer-father and artist-mother imbued her with a strong sense of self, a sassy wit, and a fierce determination to protect the values on which this country was founded. She was a force to be reckoned with.
Betty had a unique talent as a skilled facilitator of social situations while remaining devoted to candid opinion. Her intentions were always clear and refreshingly honest; unwilling to waste precious energy or time on those who were being disingenuous.
After college she became a flight attendant with American Airlines, based in Chicago. After four years she married Richard Farson and they moved to La Jolla, Calif., where their “incredible children,” Lisa and Clark were born.
In the 1960s they moved to Aspen, where she remained until her death. Betty continued to be close friends with her former husband and their children were provided the best of two worlds, the ocean and the mountains.
Her years in Aspen were spent working in tourism with the resort association and Aspen Skiing Co. Travels took her to many countries in the world, and in the mid-’60s she sailed 8,000 miles as first mate from Florida to Hawaii. From 1985 until her death she ran her own coast-to-coast resort quality rating business. In the mid-’90s she and her daughter went to East Africa – “one of my most profound experiences.”
One of the great joys in her life was ceramics, which continued to be her passion until her death. She maintained a studio at Aspen’s Red Brick Center for the Arts for 15 years and attended annual summer ceramic workshops at Anderson Ranch with her daughter Lisa. Doug Casebeer, her mentor at the ranch, consistently offered encouragement and support.
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She inspired, encouraged, and facilitated many of her peers to pursue their passion with clay.
Betty found joyful worship and imaginative potential in the hallowed isles of any good hardware store.
A lifelong Democrat, she worked diligently for John F. and Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaigns and was deeply affected by their assassinations. While living in San Diego, Betty was co-chair of the Democratic 30th Congressional District. She worried about the increasing rancor that characterizes political divisions in the U.S. today and was saddened by the anger, hatred, bitterness and divisive behavior in the current presidential race.
In the weeks before her passing, she said one of her greatest sorrows was that she may not be here to cast a vote for President Obama, but she did.
She faced her death without fear, and asked for no pity. She was buoyed by the love of her family and her extraordinary grandchildren, John, Page, Chloe and Clark, and her many “unbelievably caring” friends.
Betty was a powerful force for good. She will be sorely missed but fondly remembered for her sense of humor, her fortitude, her sass, her creativity, her convictions, and her love of people and adventure.
She succumbed to cancer and her ashes will be scattered in Aspen, La Jolla and Kenya. She has asked to return to earth as a raven. A celebration of Betty’s life will be announced.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Anderson Ranch Arts Center, to support a memorial scholarship fund, to: P.O. Box 5598, Snowmass Village, CO. 81615