Elizabeth (Brubaker) Jacobs ’63

24 October 2017

Class: 1963

Major: Education

Residence: Brooklyn, NY

Deceased: October 12, 2017

An obituary from the Varcoe-Thomas Funeral Home, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 

Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Brubaker was born on April 29, 1941 and grew up in rural Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. She attended Wilmington Friends School, and in the summer of 1959 was accepted into a gifted and accelerated studies program at Carlton College in Minnesota. She received her B.A in German and graduated in 1963.  

After college, Betsy moved to New York City where she pursued her master’s degree in early childhood education at Bank Street College. She married photographer Seymour Jacobs (divorced in 1986) and they moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn, where their daughter Anita was born in 1967. Betsy was an avid gardener and animal lover throughout her life. She transformed the abandoned Brooklyn backyard into an urban oasis complete with corn, tomatoes, sunflowers, and a family of mallard ducks. She was a wonderful cook and often hosted backyard dinners featuring her own produce and homemade bread. 

Betsy’s passion for early childhood teaching led her to University Plaza Nursery School in the New York City’s West Village and she served as its Director for many years. Later, she joined the staff at Brooklyn Botanic Garden where she taught urban gardening to schoolchildren, and ran the renowned Children’s Garden program. At Brooklyn Botanic Garden she developed the curriculum and pioneered the institution’s first class of Garden Guides.  

Eager to return to rural life, Betsy left New York in the early 1990’s and moved to her beloved home in Erwinna, Pennsylvania. She founded the Tinicum Herb Barn, an adult education center, where she taught classes in culinary herb gardening, nature crafts, and botanical watercolor. Always a passionate volunteer, Betsy served in many local organizations including the Delaware Valley Herb Society, Tinicum Conservancy, Tohickon Garden Club, Tinicum Arts Festival, and the Pipersville Free Library. She continued to be active in the Herb Society of America and was elected President of the New York chapter. One of Betsy’s joys in recent years was her participation in the Tinicum Readers book group. She hosted the group just weeks ago at her home, baking her celebrated lavender cookies. 

Betsy battled cancer for over 25 years with resilience and grace. She died in her home on Friday, October 12, 2017. She is survived by her daughter Anita Jacobs, son-in-law Greg Seaton, granddaughter Chloe Seaton, brother Bob Brubaker and dog Pepper.  

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in her name to the Tinicum Conservancy and the Pipersville Free Library.

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