Elizabeth Dale Walton was born on September 18, 1959 and passed away on May 25, 2020 in Princeton, New Jersey. Known to everyone as Betsy, she grew up in Pennington NJ, enjoying board games, camping, and watching TV baseball and movies with her family. In 1988 she moved to Princeton. She followed the examples of her grandmother Helen and her mother Carolyn, who both helped empower her to be a very independent woman.
Betsy had a very robust sense of humor and a sharp wit that helped her endure struggles, especially coping with cerebral palsy her whole life, and developed patience and feisty persistence to overcome many obstacles. She was a supportive, caring friend with an endearing mischievous streak, and believed strongly in the power of prayer, even in the most difficult circumstances.
She attended Hopewell Valley Central High School, where she sang in a mixed chorus, and Trenton State College, where she served as president of the Lambda Lambda Chapter of the national sorority Delta Zeta. She led the Disabled Students Coalition’s talks with the college administration that resulted in the 1983 construction of an outside ramp at the main entrance to the library. In 1984 Betsy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education and was included in Who’s Who Among Students in Colleges. She continued with graduate studies at TSC, receiving a Master of Education degree in Developmental Reading.
Betsy worked for 5 years at McGraw-Hill Education in Hightstown, NJ. Then for 17 years she was a Professional Math Tutor at Mercer County Community College, a job that she loved passionately. She mentored individual students in computational math and introductory algebra, attending class with them and tutoring them outside of class, using her strong organizational skills and personally-created handouts to reinforce classroom lessons. She loved advocating for others struggling either academically or emotionally, and was a guest speaker for various school and church groups to educate about the needs of people with disabilities. After her time at MCCC, she served as an intern for the NJ Division of Disability Services, and then as a trained Crisis Chat volunteer with CONTACT of Mercer County.A longtime member of Pennington Presbyterian Church, Betsy sang in the choir and served as an Elder. She chaired a workshop on ministering to children with special needs, and a task force to address the needs of people with disabilities, leading to significant building accessibility renovations. For several years she sang with the Hopewell Valley Chorus. In 1999 she became a member of Hopewell Presbyterian Church, again singing in the choir. She strongly supported accessibility renovations there, and loved using the new elevator after several years of climbing stairs with her crutches to attend choir rehearsals. She attended several church family retreats in the Poconos, and was delighted to participate in a Spring 2020 virtual chat with the choir.
An avid sports fan, she was fiercely loyal to the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Giants, and was known to indulge in occasional hi-jinks such as wheelchair races (for which she adopted the email nickname “Crash”). She enjoyed movies, word puzzles, puns, lots of reading, pizza with garlic, being Mama to her cat Ling-Ling, and sharing holiday dinners with friends and at church members’ homes. Singing was a special joy; she loved her God and loved to sing his praise.
Betsy highly valued her independence which included having a private residence, using an electric wheelchair “scooter”, and driving a wheelchair-adapted minivan, and she deeply appreciated all those who helped her maintain that independence. Over the years she worked hard at physical therapy with a series of dedicated therapists. In 2020 she especially appreciated the skilled, caring staff at Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center.
Predeceased by her parents Carolyn Y. Walton in 1996 and M. Lee Walton in 2003, Betsy leaves her brother Scott R. Walton and sister-in-law Joyce J. Walton of South Carolina, and nieces Christine Walton Morrow of Georgia and Melanie Walton Faulk of South Carolina. Betsy was a loving aunt and was especially thrilled to become a great-aunt last year.
Interment will be at the First Presbyterian Church of Ewing Cemetery on July 9, 2020. Contributions may be made to Hopewell Presbyterian Church, 80 W. Broad Street, Hopewell, NJ. Plans are also under consideration for a memorial service in 2021.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Elizabeth Dale Walton, please visit our floral store.