Elizabeth Preuss passed away on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at her home with family at the age of 103. Elizabeth, or Aunt Betty as she was known to many, was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 5 th, 1916. She was the 2 nd of 6 children. She moved to Grants Pass to be with her niece and her family in 1999 at the age of 83. She loved the beauty of Oregon and those she called her friends. Aunt Betty lived a wonderful life. Our family knew this because she would often say, “I have lived a wonderful, great life. I have had great TLC, saw lots of things, traveled many places and met many wonderful people.”
Her life was filled with 103 years of events, inventions and many goodbyes to those that have left before her. Many people read about stories in the history books, but we had Aunt Betty telling us her stories with all her sassiness and spunk. Aunt Betty came from a time when Brooklyn was farm land, homes used outhouses and had gas lamps for light. Going to the movies to see a silent movie for a nickel and playing stick ball was fun. Milk was delivered in the morning and kept cold with a block of ice that was also delivered. Gossip was heard on the phone, by way of party lines. Homemade food and family gatherings filled with lots of love and laughter were the norm. The Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall opened when she was a teenager. Dressing up and going into the city was a fun night out. The Great Depression hit hard, and she saw many she knew, including all her brothers, go to war. She saw Jackie Robinson play for the Dodgers, spoke with Marlon Brando at Belmont Race Track, and Danny Kaye was a friend who would sing in her grandfather’s pool hall. Independence was very important to her. She idolized her mother, who instilled in her the importance of education. She graduated high school and worked fulltime from the age of 16-76 as a book keeper. Taking care of her own finances was very important as well and she did that up until her passing, the old school way with pencil and paper. When she was in her forties and passed her driving test, she bought her first car and was as she put it, free at last. She loved sharing stories of all her road trips she took with her mom. When traveling became difficult, Aunt Betty enjoyed traveling by way of Google Earth and the Internet. Her first request was always New York. She was able to see places that have changed so much over the past 103 years. Another favorite of hers was Alexa. We would often hear her asking for the weather, a story, news or a joke. When Alexa was done, you would hear Aunt Betty say “Thank you” with pep in her voice and a smile on her face. She was amazed by all the new technologies and things that are available today. Aunt Betty was a lifelong bachelorette. She was engaged at one time, but as she put it, she decided being single and free was for her. She was a strong believer in women’s rights and freedom before that was the norm. She enjoyed sewing, gardening, cooking, baking, reading, and listening to current events (which she always had a strong opinion on). Her favorite pastime was to crochet, which she did up until her final days. There are many stitches of love shared by way of blankets, scarfs, hats, sweaters, and angels. Never having had her own children, she loved and enjoyed her nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, great-great nieces and nephews, and great-great-great nieces and nephews. Along with all her nieces and nephews, there are also the children of friends that she also enjoyed spoiling. In 2016, family and friends came from many states to help celebrate Aunt Betty’s 100 th birthday. It was a week she had often spoke about and loved. It meant so much to her to see so many people that loved and cared for her and she them. The ages at the party ranged from 8 months to 100! She was so very happy.
Elizabeth is survived by her niece and nephew, Leslie (Preuss) O’Brien and Garrick O’Brien, and their children, her great-nieces and nephew, Amanda O’Brien, Matthew O’Brien and Rebecca O’Brien whom she loved and adored so very much; her niece and nephew, Lori and Steve Errico, and their family of Jacksonville, Florida; her great-niece and nephew, Suzanne and William Frey, and their families of Eugene, Oregon; Many relatives and friends in New York and Florida that she loved and miss very much. There will be a service held to celebrate the 103 years of this great women at 2:00 pm on Saturday, November 16th, 2019 at Stephens Family Chapel on Williams Highway, Grants Pass Oregon. www.stephensfc.com
Aunt Betty loved flowers and also animals. If you would like to donate to the Josephine County Animal Shelter in Grants Pass Oregon in her name, that would have made her smile. Aunt Betty has made a huge impact on our family. We will miss her forever, love her always, and think about her every day with a smile.
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