Vol. LXI, No. 15
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Elizabeth ("Betsy") Palmedo Thompson Speir, 77, of Princeton, died April 9 at Acorn Glen.
The daughter of the late Roland Palmedo and Elizabeth Franklin Palmedo, she grew up in New York City. She attended Bennington College in Vermont and La Sorbonne in Paris, France.
After college, she worked for American Express and U.S. Lines in Europe and in the U.S.
An avid and accomplished skier, she also enjoyed horseback riding and tennis.
She was married for more than 13 years to the late Gerard Maurice Thompson of New York City, with whom she had three children, Phillip, Bethlin, and Melanie. Mr. Thompson also had two children from a previous marriage, Molly and Gerard Jr. In 1969, the family moved to Princeton and Elizabeth started volunteering in local schools. She continued tutoring even after her health deteriorated.
She also dedicated time to refugees, sponsoring, with her daughter Melanie, a family of eight Afghans. She also co-adopted a young Cambodian named Pinith Ky.
In the 1970s, she opened the Nassau Gallery in Princeton with Margaret Morgan. She enjoyed all forms of art, from theater to opera.
In the late 1970s she married Dr. Robert Speir, a New York City physician. She continued to help others internationally through the United Nations High Committee on Refugees in New York City.
Locally, she founded Looking Into The Future (LIFT) and the foundation InnerEd. LIFT, located in Trenton, brought tutors together with poorly performing students. InnerEd helped disadvantaged students receive a better education. She also tutored international students at Princeton University in English, and donated faithfully to Planned Parenthood and The Harvest.
In 1997, she was honored by the New Jersey Legislature and the Trenton chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction for her volunteer work.
Predeceased by her husband, Dr. Speir, in 1982, she is survived by her children, Phillip Palmedo Thompson, Bethlin Thompson Proft, Melanie Thompson Fauchet, Gerard Thompson Jr., Molly Thompson, Robert Wade Speir IV, and Pinith Ky; a brother, Phillip Palmedo; and 23 grandchildren.
The funeral service will be at the Unitarian Church, Princeton, on Monday, April 16 at 5 p.m. Calling hours will be 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 14 at The Kimble Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Planned Parenthood of Mercer County (609-599-4881); or to the National Parkinson's Disease Foundation (800-327-4545).
The memorial service for Dr. Lillian Baum Tenney, M.D., originally scheduled for March 17, has been rescheduled for this Saturday, April 14 at 3 p.m. at the Princeton University Chapel.
A reception at Prospect House will follow the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to Doctors without Borders.
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