Elizabeth (Betty) List Gardner was born in 1918 in Schenectady, New York to Alvin and Kathryn (Ryan) List. After graduating from St. Lawrence University in 1940, she married Ellis B. Gardner, a graduate of Columbia University. They were married almost 55 years when he died in 1977.
After the war, Betty and Ellis transferred from upstate New York and settled in Darien, CT with their two children, Kathryn and Ben. Daughter Sara was born soon thereafter.
Betty was active in her children’s activities and volunteered for many years at the information desk at the Stamford Hospital. She said it put her life in perspective — there was always someone worse off than herself. Upbeat and a good listener, she was often at the bedside of a sick friend or bringing them casseroles.
Betty was an active tennis and paddle tennis player at the Wee Burn Country Club. While not a strong hitter, she was fiercely competitive and chased down every ball. This competition could be seen in her later years where, even in her 90s, she regularly excelled at duplicate bridge and was a demon in scrabble. Until she was 80 and hit by a snowboarder who dislocated her shoulder, Betty skied in every kind of weather from their condo on Pico Peak.
She is survived by her three children: Kathryn and husband, Mead Sommers, Dr. Benjamin Gardner, and Sara Gardner-Parlow. Her grandchildren include Jen Sommers Slaboda, Ryan, Tyler and Sarah Gardner, Abby Athanasopoulos, and Livvy Gardner-Parlow, plus great-grandchildren Andrew and Adelle Slaboda, Will Gardner, Niko and Sebastian Athanasopoulos. She is also survived by four nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her brother Bud List, his son Mark, her granddaughter, Kerry Sommers and her son-in law, Rob Parlow.
In 2008 she moved to Edgehill in Stamford where she continued to be an avid reader, duplicate bridge player and scrabble whiz. She was known for her high heels and her Betty Boop pillow.
Donations in memory of Betty may be made to St. Lawrence University, 23 Romoda Dr, Canton, NY 13617, in honor of Kerry Sommers.
A celebration of her life will be held at Edgehill at a later date.