Clara Elisabeth Coppolo (nee Holbein), known as Betsy, entered heaven Monday, January 20, 2020 in Care Dimensions Hospice House, Lincoln, MA at the age of 92.
She leaves three daughters: Sandra A. Anderson ( Richard Fish) of Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada, Bernadine Perham of Hudson, MA and JoAnne Coppolo (Charly Ehlin) of Somerville, MA; brother, Robert Alan Holbein of Auburn, NY; two grandchildren: Sean Perham (Julia) and Amber Dawn Upfold ( CJ Rowe); two great-grandchildren, Maya and Andrew Perham. Aunt ‘Bets’ will be fondly remembered by many nieces, nephews, and their families. Predeceased by her former husband John F. Coppolo (1927-2014); son John W. Coppolo (1952-1954); and grandson, Andrew J. Perham (1980-1997) and siblings, George Peter Holbein, Marion Almina Gilfus and William David Holbein.
Born in New York, NY on Nov. 19,1927, Betsy, her parents Walter and Viola (Gray) and four siblings moved to a number of locations in central New York until settling on the family farm in the Township of Owasco, NY. At the age of 16, she graduated from Skaneateles High School, as Salutatorian of the Class of 1943. As a cadet nurse she attended Ellis Hospital School of Nursing in Schenectady, NY. Betsy was editor of their yearbook and 1947 representative at the International Congress of Nursing in Atlantic City. She graduated third in the class of 1948. While in her 30s, Betsy went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from Syracuse University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1962.
Betsy’s experiences as a registered nurse includes Obstetrics, hospital supervising Nurse and as a visiting Public Health Nurse. After Betsy completed her BS degree, she remained a New York State Public Health Director until she retired in 2003. Following retirement, Betsy relocated to Florida for several years and worked part-time as a Nursing Instructor in Dade County. She later returned to New York, and continued to work part-time for the National follow up service doing phone interviews for discharged rehabilitation patients. In 2014, she relocated once again, to Massachusetts to be closer to her family.
Betsy was a giving, optimistic person who always paid it forward by freely giving her time volunteering. As a 4H leader when her children needed a group leader, helping in a local soup kitchen and assisting refugees through her church. She was also an Overeaters Anonymous member, sponsor and mentor. Betsy was an active and devout member of SS Peter and Paul Catholic church in Hamburg, NY where she was a Lector, Eucharistic minister and Health ministry member.
Betsy’s bucket list included traveling and she was proud to have visited all 50 states and Scotland. These adventures, family history and events she carefully documented in labeled and dated binders. Above all, Betsy adored her family. She never missed a birthday – children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews could always count on her, to remember them with a card each year.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date at Robert D. Gray Funeral Home, Skaneateles. For those who wish, the family suggests that memorial donations be made to the Disabled American Veterans, the Salvation Army, or Care Dimensions Hospice House, 75 Sylvan St., B-102, Danvers, MA 01923.
To send condolences, visit robertdgrayfuneralhome.com.