Betty Irene VanCampen Uskurait, 96, of Williamsport, died Thursday, May 18, 2017.
Born September 26, 1920, at home on Bedford Street in Forty Fort, Betty was the first child of Charles Buckley and Irene May Kresge VanCampen. She graduated from the Forty Fort High School in 1938, then attended the former Business School at Wyoming Seminary in Luzerne County, where she excelled in shorthand and typing.
Her career in business began in Luzerne County, where Betty worked for Mary Emma Manufacturing in Kingston. She then operated the switchboard and performed clerical work for the prestigious brokerage firm of Auchincloss, Parker, and Redpath in Wilkes-Barre.
Betty was a beautiful dancer who attended USO dances in the Wilkes-Barre area, and she had several military suitors during World War II.
She met her husband, H. Thomas Uskurait, on a blind date at Hanson's Park, Harvey's Lake. They were married on April 11, 1945, at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, at the bedside of her mother-in-law, Dorothy Winifred Pratt Uskurait. Marine Sergeant Uskurait had been granted a leave from duty to visit his mother, who had undergone brain surgery. Photographs of the âbedside weddingã of Betty and Tom appeared in many national newspapers on April 12, 1945, sharing the headlines with the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Betty and her husband moved to Williamsport in 1946, where she was a clerical worker in the family car dealership, VanCampen Motors. Her family built one of the city's first contemporary homes in the Grampian Hills section, and moved into the residence in July of 1947. Designed by noted architect George Nemeny, the home featured a mountain stone wall and fireplace, built-in birchwood cupboards and bookcases, and radiant heat. The house had been showcased in various architecture publications in the late 1940ás. Betty lived in the residence until shortly before her death.
From 1952 until the 1960's Betty was a homemaker and raised her two children, Mike and Jill. She was active in sorority and bridge clubs, the Lycoming County Republican Committee, JayCee Wives and she appeared in various charity fashion shows.
Betty was employed as a clerk in the Lycoming County Prothonotary Office for 28 years, from 1964 until 1992, when she retired at the age of 72. In her "golden years" Betty enjoyed travelling with the Top of the Hill Club and other retirees groups. She volunteered for the Presbyterian Home, Sycamore Manor, James V. Brown Library READiscovermobile, Covenant Central Presbyterian Church, and the American Cancer Society. She also enjoyed programs at the Messiah Lutheran Senior Center and reading large print romance and inspirational novels from the Brown Library. She was a lifelong member of Covenant Central Presbyterian Church.
Preceding her in death were her beloved sister, Lois VanCampen Whitesell in October, 1987; and brother, Charles VanCampen in November, 1998.
Surviving are a son, Robert Michael Uskurait; and daughter, Jill Kay Wollet; five grandchildren, Elizabeth Rockwell (Christopher), Martina Uskurait, Robert Uskurait (Halee Nichole), Wesley Wollet, and Christopher Wollet (Christine). Also surviving are six great grandchildren, Daden, Coltyn, and Amelia Rockwell, Tianna and Addison Uskurait and Aubrey Uskurait.
A memorial service to honor Betty's life will be held 11 a.m. Monday, May 22, at Covenant Central Presbyterian Church, 807 W. Fourth St., Williamsport. A time of visitation will be held from 10:30-11 a.m. Monday prior to service. Burial will be at the family's convenience at the Forty Fort Cemetery alongside Betty's parents and brother.
The family requests donations made in Betty's memory to Covenant Central Presbyterian Church or the James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701.