Cover photo for Elizabeth  F. Aspinwall's Obituary
1925 Elizabeth 2014

Elizabeth F. Aspinwall

November 30, 1925 — December 10, 2014

Elizabeth Fleming Aspinwall After a long life, well lived, Elizabeth Fleming Aspinwall passed away at home in Boulder on Dec. 10. She was 88. Born December 3, 1926, to Katherine Lighthall Fleming and Col. William Donaldson Fleming in Washington D.C., Betsy grew up in the many postings of her father, an Army physician. She lived in the Philippines, Bel Air, MD, Oak Ridge, TN, and the military base on Bedloe’s Island, NY, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. She would later recall whiling away afternoons climbing on (and occasionally, inside) the towering neighborhood sculpture, the Statue of Liberty. Since one of her father’s hobby was photography, she had black-and-whites to recall those days before the houses were cleared away and the island became a National Park renamed Liberty Island. In 1942, her family made one last move, this one, from Oak Ridge to Boulder. She graduated from Boulder High in 1943, and went on to graduate from the University of Colorado-Boulder (BA, English, 1947). While at CU, she fell hard for a handsome, gregarious fellow student, William Van (Bebe) Aspinwall, son of long-time University of Colorado marketing professor Leo Van Aspinwall and his wife, Edwina Meisenholder Aspinwall. Betsy and Bebe married in Raton, New Mexico, on February 26, 1947, returned to Boulder and raised three children: Sarah (Sally) Kilburn, Peter Donaldson, and William Fleming. She and Bebe loved to pack the kids in their station wagon and explore the western states, most memorably the Southwest and Guaymas, Mexico. When the children married and moved away, she and Bebe traveled the world and enjoyed a shared love of birding and whale watching. Betsy was smart and feisty, a lifelong Democrat who knew her way around literature, politics, Native American arts, and world affairs. She raised goats to ship to Italy after World War II as part of a Marshall Plan feeding program. And she continued to support similar causes throughout her life, especially Heifer International. In 1962, Betsy returned to CU and earned certification to teach. Armed with her trusty Strunk & White, love of literature and Fleming determination, she took on the audacious task of teaching English and Drama at Casey Junior High School and, later, at Burbank Jr. High School. Many Boulder middle schoolers passed through Betsy’s classrooms. Some continued to drop by her north Boulder home through the years and she treasured those visits. Betsy continued her family’s long affiliation with St. John's Episcopal Church in Boulder where she was a devoted parishioner for more than six decades, serving on the Altar Guild for more than half a century, and volunteering in the church office after she retired. After Bebe passed away in 2001, she spent the years that followed pursing her enthusiasms with dear friends and – always! – reading. She loved the written word, a joke well told, and the company of her grandchildren and their children. St. John’s Rector Susan Springer administered the Last Rites and, hours later, Betsy quietly slipped away with her children Sally and Bill at her side, along with her big orange cat, Charlie. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Van (Bebe) Aspinwall, and her sister, Sarah Fleming Griffin and husband, John. She is survived by her brother, John Lighthall (Jock) Fleming and wife, Dee, of Taos, NM; her three children, Sally Goedert and husband, Philip, of Erie, CO; Peter Aspinwall and wife, Debra, of Helena, MT; and William Aspinwall and wife, Gail, of Austin, TX. She is also survived by nine grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. The family is grateful to the many who rallied around Betsy in recent years when her health faltered, but most especially Cheryln Marriott, Alison Fisher, and Lauren Munger. A memorial celebration of Betsy's life will be held at December 27 at 2 p.m., St. John's Episcopal Church, 1419 Pine St., Boulder, CO. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her name may be made to TRU Community Care ( or St. John's Episcopal Church (
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Celebration

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Mountain time)

St. John's Episcopal Church

1419 Pine Street, Boulder, CO 80302

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