Elizabeth "Betsy" Gray Parker


May 8, 1947 ~ December 6, 2022

Born in: Norfolk, VA
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Elizabeth Gray Parker, 75, and better known as “Betsy,” by her friends and family, died peacefully the evening of December 6, 2022, of natural causes, after years of struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.

Betsy was born in Norfolk, Virginia on May 8, 1947, to Elizabeth Reynolds Parker and H. Gray Parker. Betsy was born into a family that valued education and also raised her to appreciate the natural wonders of this earth. When not attending classes at Norfolk Country Day School, her youth was spent enjoying the ocean waves, reading books and collecting seashells along the coast in Virginia Beach.

Betsy took her love for education and books and became a librarian after graduating from UNC Asheville in 1974 with a degree in literature. Most notably, she served as Branch Manager and Children’s Librarian at the South Buncombe Library in Asheville, NC for over 10 years, and then served as the Branch Manager for 13 years at the Fairview Public Library, until she retired in 2012.

One of Betsy’s fellow librarians from the Fairview Public Library, Jennifer Prince, shared that Betsy was a terrific manager and supervisor, but her real contribution was always to the children’s department of the library. Betsy had, “an extraordinary talent for creating suspension of disbelief” and cultivated an army of puppets to animate the children’s story time at the library. Anyone popping their head in during Betsy’s story time would be met with a room filled with children reeling with laughter as Betsy animated Jack the puppet singing “The Walking Song” or an elephant with a tendency for colds and explosive sneezes. Luckily, Betsy always had a box of tissues by her side.

In addition to her love for books and her dedication to children’s story time, Betsy will be remembered as having a fondness for Shetland Sheepdogs. She diligently trained her Shelties and was active in dog obedience competitions and they won many awards together. She leaves behind her beloved Harry and Owen that brought her much joy in her final years. Betsy was predeceased by her parents and her sister, Mary Ann Parker Massey. She is survived by her niece, Charlotte Elizabeth Massey, her nephew, Philip Gray Massey, and her late sister’s husband, Henry P. Massey, Jr.

Please consider honoring Betsy’s life by curling up with a good book by the fire next to your favorite pet, or with a long walk on the beach collecting seashells, or by making a donation to your favorite public library.


Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home - Patton Ave.
1401 Patton Ave.
Asheville, NC 28806


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