Betsy Peters

Dr. Betsy Ross Peters, 90, died at the Hospice of Laramie House on Nov. 21, 2018, just 20 days after the death of her husband Dr. Oliver Leon Peters. They were married for 68 years. Betsy was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in January of 1928. Her parents were Jimmie Sidney Nall Ross and Eric Mansfield Ross. They lived in Pine Bluff where he father was the District Attorney until Betsy was 12, then bought a farm and moved to Dumas, Arkansas, where Betsy attended High School.

Her college years were spent at Baylor University where she met Oliver. They graduated together in 1949 and she went on to complete a master’s degree at the University of Maryland. In September 1950 they were married on her family’s farm. Betsy worked for years for the Social Security Administration as a Claims Representative. She often visited people in their homes to sign them up for the relatively new program, so they could collect the proper benefits. Because she had witnessed widespread poverty during the Great Depression, she was determined to bring Social Security to anyone who qualified. When the family moved to Laramie in 1964, Betsy returned to academia as a Lecturer in the History Department at the University of Wyoming.

She later completed a Ph.D. in History, the first to do so at UW.

While raising her family, Betsy took on several administration jobs including Wyoming Director of the 1980 Census and Wyoming Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. She was instrumental in helping to create UW’s Outreach School for distance learning and adult education. She traveled with various music, theatre, library, and art programs designed to bring benefits of the university to small towns across Wyoming. Betsy was devoted to the scholarly process and its ethic. She experienced great joy from achievement and worked hard all her life.

At the age of 55, she attained her lifelong dream of becoming a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Department of State, working in Embassies and Consulates around the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. Even in retirement, she continued to deploy for temporary assignments with State. She was proud to represent our country overseas and enjoyed learning about diverse cultures. Art, music, and architecture fascinated her in each of the assigned posts. When Betsy and Oliver returned to Laramie for their later years, they rejoined old friends, played golf, and enjoyed the Rocky Mountains.

She was active in the Wyoming State and Albany County Democratic Party, volunteering thousands of hours of her time over the years. Betsy took the opportunity to travel whenever anyone was willing to accompany her. She especially enjoyed Europe and journeyed there many times with friends and family members, always ready for the next adventure.

Betsy is survived by her daughters, Elizabeth Peters Bierer (Michael) and Sidney Peters, her son, Robert Mitchell Peters, and five grandchildren, Kyle Stevenson Peters, Cedric Oliver Peters, Isaac Oliver Bierer, Liliana James Bierer, and Sarah Bo Abigail Peters.

The family is very grateful to Kimberly Shepherd for her excellent care of Betsy and Oliver for the past three and one-half years.

Betsy will be honored at an open house on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 from 2-5 p.m. at her home, 327 Corthell Road in Laramie. There will also be a brief graveside gathering on Monday, Dec. 17 at 10:30 a.m. at Greenhill Cemetery in Laramie.

Friends, family, and friends of the family members are welcome at both events.

We request instead of flowers, please consider a donation to the Albany County Library Fund in Betsy’s name.

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