Swarthmore Friends Meeting

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania







Memorial Minute for Elizabeth (Betty) Louise McGrath Dickason

Our dear sparkling Betty passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, on July 27, 2011.  She was born March 12, 1937, in North Conway , New Hampshire , to William H. McGrath and Eleanor L. Douglas. She married Alan F. Dickason on February 15, 1955, in Fremont , New Hampshire .  

"Betty Lou from Widener U," as she liked to call herself, was the ultimate nursing teacher—energetic and supportive. She was a mentor to many of her students.  In 1997 she became the head of the Community Health Nursing Program, a major senior course.  She stressed that patients are not always in a hospital setting and that pre-admission and follow-up care needs to be given in the home.

The love she showed her nursing students was mirrored by the enfolding love and care she showed for Meeting members who were sick. She volunteered good medical advice to people caring for aging relatives. She also provided an informed sounding board for those struggling with the transition to Medicare. Alan and Betty often provided well-balanced, medically appropriate, and always tasty meals for the homebound of the Meeting.  Staying with one couple during the final nights of the dying spouse, her presence was calming, loving, and comforting. When asked her about her fees, Betty simply said, "Make a donation to the Meeting.”

The family was active in Swarthmore Meeting years before they formally joined in November, 2006. Their children grew up in the First Day School where both Betty and Alan taught. During this time, Betty was teaching full-time at Widener and studying for her own degree. She received a Ph.D. in Education from Temple University in 1991.

Betty frequently expressed appreciation to those with spoken messages during Meeting and would discuss the ideas afterwards. Besides being a “behind-the-scenes” great lady, gentle and greatly giving of her time, she was active on the Care and Counsel Committee, and helped propagate flats of “mother of millions” succulent plants for the Jumble Sale.

Her values were caring for others, warmth, and kindness.  If you add in her knowledge base in nursing, she exemplified a model nurse and a model Quaker.

Betty is survived by her husband of 56 years, Alan; a son, David Dickason of Aston, PA; three daughters, Linda Dickason of Medford, NJ, Patti Shippon of Voorhees, NJ,  Lisa Semeraro of Wallingford, PA; and grandchildren: - Katie, Kristie, Elizabeth, Anthony, Christina and Nina.

The family held a Celebration of Remembrance at Spring Haven County Club on July 30, 2011. Swarthmore Friends Meeting held a Memorial Meeting for her on August 27, 2011.

Prepared by the Swarthmore Friends Meeting, Care and Counsel Committee with input from the following people: Judith Bonaduce, Sharon Gunther, Jim Saxon, Mary Sienty, Pat Thomas , and Nancy Webster.