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Betty Crawford



Betty Crawford, 1910-2002 : a brief biography

Wednesday October 9, 2002


For The Ingersoll Times

Artist Betty Crawford left behind a legacy of beauty and of warm memories.

Catherine Betty Crawford was born in Ingersoll in 1910. She died at the age of 92, on Wednesday, October 2, at Alexandra Hospital.

After attending Ingersoll schools, she graduated with a B.A. from University College, University of Toronto in 1933.

She then attended the Ontario College of Education and briefly taught classics at the Ingersoll Collegiate Institute, as it was known then.

She was well known and respected as librarian at the Ingersoll Public Library from 1941 to 1972. She also organized and taught art classes there and arranged exhibitions.

Her fame as an artist, particularly in watercolours, is legendary. Miss Crawford studied painting with such icons as Gordon Payne, Eliot O'Hara, Carl Schaeffer. Fred Varley and Jack Reid. She was elected a member of the Canadian Painters, Etchers, Toronto, in 1954 and exhibited with them, and with the Western Art League in London (Purchase Award 1960). Both those societies send exhibits coast to coast. She has been in group shows in London, Ingersoll, Woodstock, Brantford and Waterloo and solo shows in London, Burlington and Woodstock.

Miss Crawford's work is included in collections at the London Art Gallery, Woodstock Art Gallery. Hamilton Art Gallery, Ingersoll schools, Zorra Highland Park School, St. James Anglican Church, Ingersoll Golf Club and the Ingersoll Theatre of the Performing Arts (ITOPA).

In the print media she is in Who's Who in American Art, Index of Ontario Arts (visual art), Canadian Forum, London Free Press and Oxford County Women.

Her awards include: Citizen of the Year, for 1963; Thomas J. Morrison Award, 1976; King Newell Award, 1997.

She was a member of the Oxford County Library Association, the Ingersoll Sketch Club, Oxford County Art Association, Women's Committee of Woodstock Art Gallery, University Women's Club, the Ingersoll Historical Society and the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre of which she was a founding member and one of the driving forces behind its formation.

Her nephew, Alan Crawford of Carlisle, says: "The family is really going to miss her and miss coming to Ingersoll to see her. She meant so much to each generation of our family, including the nephews and the great nieces and nephews."

Betty Crawford was never changed by fame. She remained a quiet, friendly, loyal Ingersoll resident, interested in everything that was happening in the town. Mayor Mike Hennesy said, "Betty Crawford's death is a great loss to this town and we mourn her passing. She was very talented and very giving. We were fortunate to have her in our midst for so long."

Neighbour and close friend, Betty Hancox, said she and her husband Chic could never get over how much energy she had. "Right to the end she loved to go, she loved to entertain and she loved to have people around. You couldn't ask for a better neighbour. She was someone you just wanted to do things for."

Ian Robertson, treasurer of the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre, notes that she "certainly was instrumental in getting the Arts Centre organized. She was here for every show we had and always brought someone with her. She encouraged every artist here to keep on going and she herself just never quit."

And long-time friend Jim Arnott summed it up, "She was a great lady. She did so much for this town."

Listen to Betty Crawford tell about her time as the Librarian at Ingersoll Library in an interview by Shirley Law

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