Betty was born in 1926 and was raised in Valencia and Mars, PA, until eventually moving to Gibsonia with her family. She was interested in art in high school, but it wasn’t until she was accepted to an art school in Pittsburgh that she became truly invested in it.
“I attended the Ad-Art School in Pittsburgh for two years,” Betty said. “Everything was about commercial art then, and that’s what drew me to the field. I also had a couple friends in it, and it’s easier when you have people encouraging you.”
After she graduated, Betty got a job at Gimbel’s department store as a commercial artist.
“At Gimbel’s, I drew their newspaper ads: dresses, shoes, purses, anything that they had that they wanted to advertise,” Betty said. “The buyers would bring in what they wanted to sell to show us artists. Sometimes the buyers would ask us to make the dresses look a little fuller than they really were – to exaggerate a bit.”
In addition to all of her hard work, Betty also met someone special.
“I met my husband, Claude, at a youth group at Glenshaw Presbyterian Church,” Betty said. “We just celebrated our 70th anniversary two years ago. We had three daughters, and we now also have six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.”
Betty took time away from art to focus on raising her family, and she didn’t rekindle her love for art until about three years ago, when she and Claude moved to Concordia’s Haven Apartments.
“One of my daughters first got us interested in Concordia,” Betty explained. “We lived in a big house with half an acre to take care of, and it was getting to be too much. Our daughter brought us here to see it, and from our first look we just thought, ‘Wow.’ There are no worries here for us; they wait on us hand and foot. We’re just so happy to be here.”
In addition to the worry-free lifestyle Betty and Claude found at Concordia, Betty also found the Haven art class taught by Susan Beatty.
“I eventually heard about it, but I thought I couldn’t do anything like that anymore,” Betty said. “It had been so many years since I had picked up a brush. I went over anyway, and I really liked it. Susan encouraged me, and I surprised myself at the talent I still had. I guess once God gives it to you, you keep it with you.”
Betty estimates that she has created about 30 pictures since she moved to Concordia, many of which she has given away to friends. Her painting in the Concordia calendar is a watercolor piece of orange birds sitting together on a branch.
“I used to work with acrylic paints at Gimbel’s, but now I use watercolors,” Betty said. “I was a little leery of switching at first, but Susan is really great at showing her class good techniques. I just love to work on my art.”
Betty also volunteers with the Haven Card Ladies group, a group of residents who recycle donated greeting cards. They cut out the messages from the cards, glue them to new paper and then Betty and a volunteer add extra decorations to the new cards. The cards are then sold in the Haven Apartments to benefit the Good Samaritan Endowment Fund, Concordia’s charitable care fund.
Though both the Card Ladies group and art classes are temporarily on hold during the current outbreak of COVID-19, Betty still creates art from the comforts of her apartment.
“Art brings a lot of happiness into my life,” Betty said. “We all need fun activities to do, especially now. It’s relaxing and it’s fun, and you can just pick up a pencil or pen and sketch anytime you want. I’m always ready for new ideas.”
To learn more about the retirement living options offered at the Concordia at Cabot Haven Apartments, visit www.ConcordiaHaven.org or schedule a tour today. Call our administrative headquarters at 724-352-1571 or message us through the contact form on our website. To request a free copy of the 2020 Concordia Calendar, “Brush Strokes 2,” call the Public Relations Department at 724-352-1571, ext. 8268.