Elizabeth Brainard Reed
painter and lifelong art activist, died quietly at her home in St. Louis on June 20, 2021. She was 95.
Wife, mother, homemaker, Betty was first and foremost an artist. From formal studio portraits to landscapes painted outdoors in the bogs of coastal Connecticut, her work in oils, acrylics and pastels spanned nearly 70 years — and she didn’t stop there. Also a prize-winning photographer, in her 80’s she pioneered a new genre of enhanced photographs, which she enlarged and subtly overpainted to mysterious effect. She simply could not stop making art.
Born July 28, 1925 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Betty spent her early years in Larchmont and Rye, New York, where she attended Rye Country Day School and Rye High School. Married on December 28, 1946 to Philip D. Reed, Jr., she and Phil raised three children and celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary shortly before his death in 2010. They resided in northern New Jersey for over six decades, first in Westfield then in Princeton, where Betty was an avid member of both the Westfield and Princeton Art Associations, and worked for 17 years as a docent at the Princeton University Art Museum. Also active as a parishioner and donor to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Princeton, she and Phil gave generously to many charities both local and national, including the Princeton Library, the Princeton YWCA, the New Jersey Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and the Smithsonian Institution.
In her quiet time Betty loved to garden, do yoga, read, and walk the beaches of the family’s longtime summer home at Bay Head, New Jersey. Or if things got too quiet she’d sing a song, or dance a little jig for nobody in particular. She was like that.
She is survived by her loving children Philip, of San Francisco, California; Antoinette, of St. Louis, Missouri; and Elizabeth, of Lancaster, Kentucky, as well as 10 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. All will miss her unique spirit.
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