Elizabeth (McCarthy) McDermott ’75

28 December 2018

Class: 1975

Major: French

Residence: Rochester, NY

Deceased: December 24, 2018

Alumni survivors: Mr. John R. McDermott ’75 W75 (Widow/Widower), Ms. Nancy McDermott ’83 P18 P18 (Sibling-in-law), Ms. Fiona W. Fraser ’18 (Niece), Mr. Archibald M. Fraser ’18 (Nephew)


Born: July 28, 1953

Passed on: December 24, 2018 in Rochester, NY

Betsy’s obituary

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  • 2018-12-31 18:11:41
    Laura J. Graf

    This is the text of Betsy's obituary, written by John, and posted on her CaringBridge site. I consider myself privileged to have known her, and in my head, I can still hear her hearty laugh. If you wish to send a note to John, you may post it on Betsy's CaringBridge site or mail it to him. His address is 80 Reservoir Avenue, Rochester NY 14620 ________ ROCHESTER - December 24, 2018, age 65, from breast cancer. She is survived by her husband of 41 years, John, four children, seven grandchildren, two sisters and three brothers. Betsy is predeceased by her parents and younger brother. Her life was characterized by generous love and adventurous hospitality, and those whose lives she touched were changed for the better. Betsy lived in 11 different countries and was a witness on the front lines of a changing world order. She lost a family cat at Checkpoint Charlie crossing the Berlin Wall. At age 11 Betsy and her sister found themselves alone in their apartment in Damascus, Syria during a military coup. In high school she had her appendix removed by an undercover CIA case officer in Karachi, Pakistan who didn’t want to blow his cover. Betsy gave birth to three out of her four children at home, one of them during a period of civil riots and martial law. She once advised her husband to stay at the office so that he could avoid the helicopter gunships that were flying overhead and shooting at people on the ground. She evacuated from Cairo, Egypt with all 4 children during the Gulf War in 1991. Or as she summarized, “Nothing outlandish. The normal overseas experience.” Despite holding drivers licenses from four US states and five other countries, and driving in places as far-flung as Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and Dubai, she didn’t pass an actual road test until she was 42 years old and living in London. In 1999, Betsy moved back to the Rochester area when her husband was reassigned to Eastman Kodak Co. headquarters. By this time, she had never lived for more than five years at the same address. Rochester quickly became home, and the couple have remained ever since. Betsy’s global experiences and faith enhanced her professional career. Throughout her adult life, she was a consistent volunteer and lay leader at her local Catholic parishes and her children’s schools. After moving back to the US, she served as the Director of Career Services at St. John Fisher College. Her upbringing as the daughter of a diplomat prepared her well to train students in etiquette for job interviews and professional life. She made it her personal mission to welcome international students and other recent arrivals. She earned a Masters in Theology from St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in 2004, alongside her husband, John. The two could often be heard comparing grades and bringing home theological arguments from the classroom. Betsy worked in Pastoral Services for the Diocese of Rochester prior to her retirement in May 2018, supporting Catholic parishes throughout the Rochester Diocese. One of her favorite responsibilities was representing the Diocese of Rochester with interfaith outreach, especially with the Jewish and Muslim communities. She will be fondly remembered sitting on her front porch, with either a cup of coffee or glass of wine in hand, greeting the neighbors. Calling hours will be at Miller Funeral Home, 3325 S. Winton Rd, Rochester NY 14623 on Friday December 28, 2018 from 4:00-7:00 pm. Funeral Mass at St Anne Church, 1600 Mt Hope Ave., Rochester NY 14620 at 10:00 am on Saturday December 29, 2018 followed by interment at Mt Hope Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please send donations to St Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, 417 South Ave., Rochester NY 14620.

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