Alice "Betsy" (Moyer) HarpleyFebruary 10, 1939 ~ March 20, 2017 (age 78)
Alice, “Betsy” (Moyer) Harpley
78, of North Andover, MA, passed March 20, 2017, the first day of spring, surrounded by her family at the Sawtelle Hospice House in Reading, MA. She was born in Winchester, VA, to the late Maurice Lloyd Moyer and Frances Mary (Rabe). A graduate of Buchtel High School in Akron, OH, the Class of 1956, she also attended Akron University where she was an English Literature major, active in theater and Kappa Kappa Gamma. It was while she stood precariously perched on a ladder during a production light check, that she caught the eye of a student tech volunteer, Ted Harpley, a senior engineering student, and so began their story. Upon receiving his job offer from General Electric in New York, she left school and married at the age of 19 in June of 1958. Their honeymoon was a road trip to Syracuse, NY stopping at Niagara Falls. They later moved to Danville, IL and Waltham, MA, before settling on Texas Rd. in Westford, MA, to raise their family of four daughters. During the 60’s and 70’s Betsy acted in several community theaters including The Red Mask Players, The Concord Players and the Westford Players. She relished jamming with her guitar, singing at cast parties wearing brightly colored maxi-dresses, false eyelashes, bright red lipstick and sipping on a Manhattan. Her laugh was a hearty one, her voice commanding and her wit was spot-on.
When it came time to raise the household income for cars and colleges, she became an office administrator for many years working in the international division of Wang Laboratories in Lowell, MA. She earned an A.S. in Office Management, graduating with Honors, from Middlesex Community College in 1984. When offered an early retirement she took it and became a Screen Actors Guild member upon completing voiceover training. She and her husband Ted began building a house in Bridgton, ME, where they had plans to buy and operate a local radio station. Ted died before the house was finished, tragically dashing their retirement gig.
In honor of her husband, she established a scholarship fund at the University of Akron as well as a patient care fund at the Lahey Hospital. “A cherished friend and active volunteer at Lahey, Betsy established the Theodore Raymond Harpley Endowment Fund in 1992 to support supplemental nursing care to oncology patients. Her vision and generosity allowed for hundreds of Lahey patients and their families to receive exceptional and compassionate care when they needed it most”, said Patricia Newton, Dept of Philanthropy at Lahey Hospital. “Mrs. Harpley was a humble hero who took great pleasure and joy in hearing how the fund provided comfort to oncology patients and their families”, said Annmarie Brady, social worker at Lahey Hospital. Betsy also established The Harpley Foundation, a grassroots non-profit, and worked with her daughters to quietly serve their communities’ arts organizations, schools, animal shelters and human services.
With an empty nest and a healing heart, Betsy moved to Newburyport, MA, for a fresh start and it wasn’t long before she became very involved with The Firehouse Theater, The Actor’s Studio and several other local arts organizations. She helped her friend and hairdresser Justin Quinn produce his band’s CDs. She brought the grandkids to Mad Martha’s for breakfasts and Christmas shopping at The Tannery. “Remember it’s called shopping, not buying!” She would say as they made their first pass through the shops, firming up gift buying choices over lunch.
Her modus operandi was to constantly be engaged with the people around her – family first and community second. She learned how to text, especially to keep tabs on her grandchildren; including judicious use of emoticons and emojis. With her iPhone and iPad always within reach, either electronically or by landline, she touched base almost daily with every person she held dear. When her grandson Alex was born in Scottsdale, AZ, she became a “snowbird” for three years to help out and make sure he knew her and loved him dearly. Throughout the shifting sands of her health these past few years, of which some were not aware, she exemplified indefatigable resiliency, humor and joie de vivre.
Betsy lives on in the loving hearts of her family, daughters Cynthia and her husband William Boggs of Scottsdale, AZ, Sarah and her husband Dr. Thomas Brukilacchio of Reading, MA, Mary Jane and her husband Dan Morse of Andover, MA, and Barb and her husband Dave St. Onge of Carlisle, MA; her sons from another mother Zyg Furmaniuk and Tim Bone; her grandchildren Briana and Tayler Brukilacchio, Stephanie and Julianna Wessels, Alexander Boggs and great-grandchild Abby Grace Gobron; sister Mary Frances and her husband Jim Silvestri of Danbury, CT and brother Dr. Frank Moyer of Winston-Salem, NC. She was predeceased by her husband Theodore R. Harpley and brother Lloyd K. Moyer of Montpelier, VT. She also leaves brother-in-law Russell and his wife Karen Harpley and sister-in-law Ann Eller in addition to many nieces, nephews, cousins, dear friends and of course, her most beloved and loyal Maine Coon cat, Foxy.
If so inspired, remembrances in Betsy’s name can be made to the Lahey Hospital Harpley Fund, 41 Mall Rd Burlington, MA 01805, or the Lawrence General Hospital Attn: Development Office, 1 General Street Lawrence, MA 01842, or please give blood. It’s what gave her an extra two weeks of life.
The family expresses their deepest gratitude to Dr. Paul Hesketh, who provided consistent, outstanding incredible care, along with Dr. Michael Berarducci, and Dr. Luan Nghiem at the Lahey Hospital. Additionally we greatly appreciate the ER and ICU Drs. and staff at Lawrence General Hospital who acted with swiftness, skill and compassion during a time of crisis.
Betsy would like you to know that this time, when the red carpet was rolled out she walked right up and accepted the offer of Producer, Director and starring role at the great “Theater-in-the-sky” she jokingly spoke of. She’s excited to be back on the stage singing, acting and stage-handing while her handy and handsome husband Ted gets the lights and sound system just right. The seats in the house will be filled with family and friends she hasn’t seen in years. She’ll be making bread for the cast party, knitting socks for the crew, on the ready to engage in political debate and offer counseling and encouragement to all. She has directed her daughters to forgo a funeral and instead host a grand celebration of her life. Please join us for a celebration of Betsy’s life at the Firehouse Theater in Newburyport, MA, on June 3rd, 2017 from 4-7 pm. Black Tie optional. The stage will be yours. Any questions please contact Sarah at Harpley@aol.com.
Please note the time change for Alice's Celebration of Life.