To the editor:
Cranbury recently lost one of our most cherished and important residents. Elizabeth M. Wagner, known to everyone as Betty, passed away on May 22, 2018, exactly seven months after celebrating her 100th birthday.
We were astonished that her passing went relatively unnoticed, which is a shame for a woman who has done so much for our town through her tireless and selfless efforts.
This town of Cranbury would not be what it is today without Betty. She was President of the Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society for many years and was on the Board of Trustees for over 40 years. She was forever vigilant to see what issues would do harm to our town and led, coerced and supported efforts to thwart them.
Betty brought people together for many of these projects. She was always a leader who sought out people for their individual talents and put them to work utilizing them. No one could say “no” to Betty. She used to tell us that’s what it was all about – getting people to work together so they would get to know their neighbors.
We always came away from our many visits with Betty admiring her wisdom. She was truly a person who accepted everyone and did not judge. She was interested in us and our opinions and what we had to say. When we stopped in to see her, either together or separately, she would drop whatever she was doing to visit with us and have conversation (many times over tea and cookies – an old-fashioned custom we don’t do enough of these days). She always had time to spend with us because we were important to her and she genuinely cared about us.
Betty died quietly and along with her went a compassion for Cranbury and its’ citizens, the likes of which we may never witness again. Personally, she and her husband Bill were our wonderful generous neighbors and she was a remarkable woman who made an indelible mark on us and our community. We could fill volumes with stories of Betty’s projects for the betterment of Cranbury.
The Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society will be re-naming the History Center with Betty’s name in her memory. That’s the least we can do for all she gave to us. We hope the Township Committee and the Cranbury residents at large will find some way to recognize and remember her in a significant way.
We feel the best way to remember and honor Betty is to continue to recognize her undying spirit and by trying to do what’s best for preserving our Town of Cranbury.
Together we want to publicly express our thanks to Betty. We will certainly miss you.
Nadine and Mark Berkowsky