GREENVILLE, Pennsylvania – Elizabeth “Betty” Julia Easterlin Hodge Price, 97, of Greenville, passed away Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at home surrounded by her family.
Born February 13, 1920 in Springdale, Pennsylvania to Bragg and Inez Jeffcoat Easterlin.
Betty graduated from Springdale High School in 1938. She graduated with a B.S. degree in Biology from Thiel College in 1942, also earning enough credits for an English major. Betty always had a passion for learning and her drive to receive a college education was such that she achieved her goal essentially on her own while working in the college dining hall and during summers as a laboratory technician. In 1967, she earned an M.A. degree in Guidance from Westminster College.
Following graduation from Thiel College, Betty worked in Pittsburgh as a laboratory technician for West Penn Power, the first woman to hold that position. On June 18, 1943, she married William J. “Bill” Hodge, M.D., a fellow student at Thiel.
While her husband began service in the U.S. Army, Betty worked at Camp Reynolds outside Greenville and as a laboratory technician and phlebotomist at Rockford Memorial Hospital in Rockford, Illinois. The couple then lived in Philadelphia while Bill attended medical school at Temple University and Betty worked as a technician in the hematology department of Temple University Hospital. Following medical school, during which two daughters were born, the family lived in San Pedro, California and Ft. Worth, Texas while Bill served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Public Health Service in the Aleutian Islands and in stateside assignments. Betty worked part time as a seamstress and in a day care facility during those years.
In 1950, the couple moved to Greenville, where Bill established a family medical practice and their two other children were born. Bill passed away June 27, 1962.
On April 15, 1964, Betty wed Colin C. Price of Greenville, creating a blended family of six children. Betty and Colin were happy to have found each other following the loss of their spouses. They enjoyed four and a half years of marriage until Colin passed away November 1, 1968.
From 1961-63, Betty was a substitute teacher in both Reynolds and Greenville School Districts. From 1963-1965, she taught English, World Culture and U.S. History at Reynolds High School. Betty became a guidance counselor in 1965, working two years in the junior high and then in the senior high until she retired in 1983. Betty loved teaching and counseling students. In retirement, she enjoyed keeping up with former students and seeing them in the community.
Betty had many interests but her two favorite pastimes were sewing as well as collecting, repairing and restoring dolls.
Betty sewed throughout her life, beginning as a young child. She sewed most of her own and her daughters’ clothes and sewed clothing and other items for family well into retirement. As she delved deeper into doll collecting, Betty sewed doll clothes, many with period-original fabrics and accessories. One of her children’s favorite memories is of the wonderful, creative Halloween costumes she sewed for them that were so well made they were worn by Betty’s grandchildren and are still worn by her great-grandchildren.
For more than 40 years, Betty was a passionate, joyful collector of dolls, bears, miniatures, tea sets and other toys but especially dolls. She repaired, restored, dressed and accessorized dolls for herself, for others, including family members and for charities. She was extremely knowledgeable about antique, collectible and modern dolls, serving as a speaker and resource for other collectors. She made many friends in the doll collecting world, attending and volunteering at area, regional and national doll conventions.
Betty had other interests, including flower and vegetable gardening, baking, preserving fruits and vegetables, knitting, needlework, crossword puzzles, reading, feeding the birds (especially goldfinches), enjoying chocolate and trying new projects such as making bears, learning to play the recorder and oil painting. She often said if she hadn’t been a teacher, she would have liked to have been an engineer. Betty also was an excellent story teller, able to describe in vivid detail stories from her childhood and throughout her life, conveying a compelling, interesting sense of what it was like to grow up in the 1920’s and to experience the Depression and World War II eras.
Betty enjoyed visiting her children and grandchildren throughout the country during summers and holidays and grandchildren loved visiting her. Over the years, Betty withstood many personal losses and health challenges, including multiple surgeries and chronic pain. She served as a role model and source of inspiration for her family and friends, with her unconditional love, courage, strength and resolve, quiet faith, continually upbeat attitude, sense of humor and even temperament. She possessed strong convictions and was always kind to those around her.
Betty was a member of First United Methodist Church in Greenville, Gold Star Wives of America and the Mercer County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees. In her earlier years, she was active in her church and community organizations, including Thiel Women’s Club, Greenville Hospital Women’s Auxiliary and several doll clubs. She also served as a Brownie and Girl Scout Troop Leader.
She is survived by daughters, Susan Hodge Mizner and husband, Cassius of Star Valley, Wyoming; Jude Hodge Dennis and husband, Mike of Battle Ground, Washington and Marjorie Hodge Kramer and husband, Reg of Wooster, Ohio; son, Joseph Hodge and wife, Claire of Orlando, Florida; stepdaughters, Priscilla Price Temple and husband, Jerry of Four Oaks, North Carolina and Rosemary Price of Franklin, North Carolina. Also surviving are eight grandchildren, Tonya Mizner Oaksford and husband, Drew, Laura Mizner, Kurt Mizner and wife, Melissa, Jeribeth Mizner Seekins and husband, Jes, Elizabeth Kramer, Ashley Hodge, Kailen Hodge and Janet Hodge Jones and husband, Steven; five stepgrandchildren, Eric Mizner and wife, DeeDee, Michelle Mizner Barham, Jennifer Dennis Bennett and husband, Will, David Dennis and wife, Heidi and Aimee Dennis Donzis and husband, Damian; seven great-grandchildren; seven stepgreat-grandchildren and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
In addition to her two husbands, she was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Bragg Easterlin, William Easterlin and David Easterlin; sister, Irma Easterlin Wagner and by two nieces and a nephew.
The family extends appreciation and gratitude to DeEtta Stevenson for the care and assistance she provided to Betty and her family over the past four years.
Calling Hours will be held Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. in the Parlor of First United Methodist Church, 73 Clinton St., Greenville, Pennsylvania.
A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will follow at 11:00 a.m. at the church.
Inurnment will be private in Shenango Valley Cemetery.
Arrangements handled by Loutzenheiser Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, Inc.
A television tribute will air Friday, July 7 at the following approximate times:
6:41 a.m. WYTV and 8:41 a.m. MyYTV and 9:58 a.m. on FOX plus two additional spots throughout the day.