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Canterbury, Elizabeth

d. March 28, 2011

Elizabeth (Betty) Canterbury, age 96, died at 2:00 am on March 18, 2011 in Dayton, Ohio. She was born April 9, 1914 in Elgin, Illinois, daughter of Dayse M. Jackson and Herbert S. Bobbitt. She had one younger brother, John, who preceded her in death. She moved with her family to Bloomington, Indiana and later to Bushnell, Illinois where she taught in a “one room school house”. Later she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Western Illinois University and a Master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Illinois. She was an elementary school teacher in Athens, Illinois and a library teacher in the Springfield, Illinois school system.

She married Arthur Lehman Canterbury in 1937 who preceded her in death. She is survived by a son, Lynn Canterbury (wife, Arlene) from Alcalde, New Mexico, and daughters, Susan Christian (husband, Mel) from Vandalia, Ohio and Sarah Canterbury (husband, Peter Lowes) from Sharon, Vermont as well as one nephew, John Bobbitt (wife, Trixie), and one grandniece, Gwen Bobbitt. She has three grandsons: Dannon Canterbury, Jesse Lowes, (wife, Francesca), Matthew Christian, (wife, Emily) one step grandson, Jason Manchester-Jones, (wife, Louri). Three granddaughters: Mitra Chester, (husband, Aaron), Heather Malcomson, (husband, Shawn), and Jody Lowes. Five great grandchildren: Willow and Kalel Chester, Jane Malcomson, Evelyn and Henry Thomas Christian (Henry Thomas Christian was born on March 18, 2011—–just several hours after the passing of his great grandmother), and four step great grandchildren, Melody Archuleta, Rosemary, Erin, and Jamie Manchester-Jones.

She was a member of the Athens United Methodist Church and the Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church, where she was a church librarian. She was consulting librarian for the Athens Library and had been a volunteer at Red Bird Mission in Beverly, Kentucky and Washington Street Mission, Springfield, Illinois. A long time resident of Athens and Springfield, Illinois she moved to Grace Brethren Village, Englewood, Ohio in 2008 where she became actively involved in her retirement community and the Concord United Methodist Church.

She was loved by her family and friends and gave freely of her talents whether by organizing books in a library, teaching knitting, or fixing tea for a neighbor. She loved the natural world and gave joy to all around her. She will be missed by many.

A memorial service will be held at the Mott and Henning Funeral Home, Athens, Illinois at 11:00 am Monday, March 28st.Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.A luncheon will be served at the Athens United Methodist Church following the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Betty’s name to: —— Athens Municipal Library, 410 East Hargrave, Athens, IL 62613

—— Washington Street Mission, 408 North 4th Street, Springfield, Illinois, 62702

—— Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm, 1000 Aullwood Road, Dayton, Ohio, 45414

—— The Noble Circle Project, P.O. Box 750192, Dayton, Ohio, 45475 (The Noble Circle Project is a local support group for women cancer survivors).


  1. Mrs. Canterbury was one of my favorite teachers. She was a kind and caring person who will be missed by all those who knew her. My thoughts and sympathies go to Lynn, Susan and Sally.

  2. Please accept Matt’s and my deep sympathy in the loss of your mother. I have fond memories of her and her honme in Athens.

  3. Lynn, Sue and Sally – Our deepest sympathies. All four of us Oliver kids have very fond memories of your mother as we were growing up … loved spending time at her home. She truly was a wonderful, caring person and a great friend to our parents, Clyde & Dorothy Oliver.

    Again, our deepest sympathies, Cynthia Oliver McIntosh, Jim, John and Clyde Oliver

  4. Betty has been an inspiration to me ever since I had her as my 5th grade teacher almost 55 years ago. Her passion for teaching and creative spirit helped me decide to devote 34 years of my life to teaching high school art. Her motto “Make the best of it; forget the rest of it” has helped me survive many difficult situations. She was not only a friend of my parents, but also my friend, as I have kept in touch with Betty all of these years and treasure her notes, cards, and emails peppered with evidence of her zest for life and her positive outlook on life. The world was made better by Betty’s presence, and she will be long remembered by her students, friends, and family.

  5. Betty Canterbury was an icon in the Cantrall community; and I admired her even though I did not have her as a classroom teacher or know her well. She was held in the highest regard in our family. It was my good fortune to have brief contacts with Betty while working for the Canterbury Seed Company and doing odds jobs around their barn and house. The most memorable experiences with Betty, however, came through summer craft sessions at the Village Park and Presbyterian Church before its demise. Betty taught us how to make pot holders and other assorted crafts, but her greatest service was probably getting the kids together in a constructive activity and out of the house for a few hours each week in the summer. Mothers probably appreciated the activity more than the kids. My recall is vivid of the summer we each had to make a presentation on stage for our parents at the end of the program. Some kids read a piece of literature or from an important speech such as the preamble to the constitution. My task was to recite a poem, a poem I still say on occasion: “If a job is once begun, never leave it till its done; be the maker great or small; do it well or not at all.” While the Village Park remains, the church and now Betty have passed on. Neither will soon be forgotten and a testimony to Betty’s life is that she did it well, and shared with all (of us). My prayers will include Betty and her family.

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