Mary Elizabeth Dixon Cronquist

OBIT Mary CronquistWhite Sulphur Springs-Mary Elizabeth Dixon Cronquist (Betty) passed away Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, at The White Sulphur Springs Family Center.
Betty was born in 1913 to Benjamin Franklin and Mae Dixon of White Sulphur Springs.
She grew up as a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church and graduated from White Sulphur Springs High School Class of 1930. She then attended Greenbrier Junior College. Betty was the last surviving member of her high school class.
Betty lived through many historic events growing up in White Sulphur Springs before WWI, during the depression and through WWII. Her carefree sporting life was interspersed with challenges when she became a nurse’s aide at Ashford General Hospital at The Greenbrier. She counted among her memorable moments a meeting with WWI General Jack Pershing. Betty was present for the visits of many subsequent dignitaries who came to the hotel including presidents, heads of state, diplomats and movie stars.
She served as a volunteer Girl Scout leader whose ingenuity and pioneer sense of adventure made her scout trips to Blue Bend memorable. Betty attributed her formidable dressmaking skills to her home economics teacher Mrs. Crickenberger. A lifetime of remarkable sewing ensued. A strict grammarian and devotee of Shakespeare, Betty was able to quote from his work until her death. She was an accomplished gardener and a student of nutrition and healthy living long before it became fashionable.
Well-traveled, Betty embarked upon a university sponsored trip around the world at the age of 85. Having lived in California, Florida, New York and North Carolina, her journeys back to White Sulphur Springs were well chronicled by Pet Sullivan in her newspaper column “Sauntering’s.” Betty was proudest of her Greenbrier County roots and spent part of each year at her farm on the Alvon-Blue Bend Road. She took great care to pass that Mountaineer spirit and appreciation on to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Nils Russell Cronquist of Chapel Hill and White Sulphur Springs and her sister, Mrs. John C. Vaughan II of Chicago IL.
She is survived by: son, Russell Dixon Cronquist and wife Suzanne of Alexandria, VA and White Sulphur Springs; daughter, Mary Elizabeth Fentress of Raleigh, NC and Lewisburg; grandsons, Brandon Duke Fentress and wife Kendrick of Raleigh and John Dixon Fentress of Jupiter, FL and Meriwether Hill Fentress of Raleigh; great-grandchildren, William Dixon, James Cleveland and John Dixon II all of Raleigh, NC.
Private interment. Shanklin Funeral Home, White Sulphur Springs, is serving the family.

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