Elizabeth (Johnson) Lemen, 88, of Auburn, known to one and all as ‘Betty,’ died peacefully on Sunday, May 16 at Eddy Pond East Assisted Living after a short but intense battle with cancer.
Betty was born in Worcester, MA, to Frances A. (Marshall) and John A. Johnson, and grew up on Vernon Hill. She was a graduate of Classical High School in Worcester.
Shortly after graduating from high school, in June of 1951, Betty married the love of her life, Charles F. Lemen, who was drafted into the Army the day they returned from their honeymoon in Atlantic City. While she waited for Charlie to return from Korea, she worked as a bookkeeper and sent him many jars of peanut butter. (It was a frequent joke between the two of them that she sent him one of the few items that was readily available.) Once Charlie got back, they started their family, and moved to Auburn, where Betty lived for the rest of her life. .
Betty and Charlie had four children, and after the youngest started school, even with being a Girl Scout Leader and a member of the PTO and an active member of the St. Thomas Church Altar Guild, she got bored. Betty re-entered the work force as a salesperson in the Ladies Department at Denholm & McKay. When the Auburn Public Schools started a program to teach children about ecology, ‘Project Scenic,’ Betty was hired to assist. She was the first paraprofessional employed by the town of Auburn. It was a job she loved. Betty worked in the Auburn Public Schools for over twenty-five years, until her retirement in 1998.
Betty loved traveling, both in the United States and Europe. Her first trip to Europe was in 1994, when she and Charlie went to Belgium to visit their daughter Liz and son-in-law Paul. Other trips to Europe and England followed, and she especially loved Lake Lucerne.
After retirement she remained active in the town of Auburn, volunteering with Auburn Youth, and at her church, St Thomas Episcopal.
After Charlie died, Betty spent the last years of her life in the town she loved, living at Brookdale Eddy Pond East Assisted Living, where she was proud to be a Resident Ambassador, showing new residents the ropes and persuading them to do activities — sometimes against their will. She loved her crafts, the trips they went on, Bingo, and all activities — except tai chi. She could never understand tai chi.
Betty is survived by her children and the many people who loved her. Her children include a son, William C. Lemen and his wife Lori Reeves of Ownings Mills, Maryland; and three daughters: Patricia Lemen and her husband, Daniel Rosalbo, of Randolph, VT; June Lemen and her daughter Lucy Broyles, of Nashua, NH; and Liz and Paul Bastien, of Salem, MA. She was known as Grammie to her grandchildren, Patrick Bastien of Alburquerque, NM and Rachel (Bastien) Bacon of Framingham, MA and Ring to Lucy Broyles, all of whom adored her. It was the great joy of Betty’s life that she got to meet her great-grandson, Theo Bacon, son of her granddaughter Rachel and her husband Scott Bacon, before she died.
A memorial service celebrating Betty’s life will be held Saturday, June 12th, 2021 at 11 AM at Grace Episcopal Church, 270 Main Street, Oxford, MA. COVID protocols will be in place and masks will be provided. Burial will be private.
His family would like to express their profound appreciation for the staff of Eddy Pond East Assisted Living and Ascend Hospice, who took such loving care of Betty. The love of the staff at Eddy Pond East for our mother was shown throughout her stay there, and especially in the tender care they took of her during her final illness. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Ascend Hospice or to Auburn Youth.
Britton-Wallace Funeral Home, 91 Central Street, Auburn is honored to be assisting the Lemen family with these arrangements.