Elizabeth Whitney “Betty” Crisci, 90, was born on Nov. 15, 1927 in Newton, Mass., and died peacefully in her sleep on Aug. 3 at Harbor View Cottage, Lincoln Home in Newcastle. She was the daughter of Allen F. and Mattie (Mazzur) Whitney.
Betty grew up in Newton and graduated from Derby Academy in Hingham, Mass. She continued her education at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., graduating with a B.A. degree in Christian Education. In 1948, Betty and Francis Crisci were married and began their ministry at The Second Baptist Church in Newton Upper Falls, Mass., next to the famous Echo Bridge and on the banks of the Charles River.
As a team, they grew the fledgling church to ten times its original size by witnessing and inviting folks throughout the area to join them in worship. Betty tirelessly started youth and young adult Bible studies. She led them not only on a spiritual journey, but on many outings, climbing small mountains and hiking beautiful trails around New England.
They found an old rustic cottage on an abandoned cranberry bog on Cape Cod. That began years of enjoyment on Cranberry Hill with family, friends and their close group of other pastors and their wives filled with fellowship, good food, and many “minister” jokes.
Betty taught kindergarten in the public schools, and creative writing in adult education. She was a sought-after speaker at Christian functions throughout the state. She was a prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles in both Christian and secular magazines. She also was a published author of over 20 books dedicated to helping churches grow.
Upon retirement, Betty and Francis moved to Sarasota, Fla. to Mobile Home Estates. Their ministry continued another 20 years; Francis as Chaplain and Betty once again the organizer. They held Sunday afternoon services at the park chapel and hosted many Bible studies and fun gatherings in their home.
As a couple, they enjoyed beachcombing and taking long daily walks around Siesta Key. Betty loved to collect shells and created shell art for her family and friends. She was an avid and competitive Scrabble player, and led a group of fellow yard sale enthusiasts on many Saturday morning adventures.
After Francis died, Betty spent summers in Maine with her daughter, and winters in Florida with her son.
Betty was a left-handed, blue eyed bundle of energy, a leader of many who knew her as she faithfully followed Christ. Her favorite Bible verse which she quoted often throughout her life is found in Philippians 4:13; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
Betty was predeceased by her husband, Rev. Francis F. Crisci; parents, Allen and Mattie Whitney; brother, Allen Whitney; and sister, Harriet Chandler.
She is survived by sister, Carol Eaton; daughter, Katherine Lee and husband Henry; son, David Crisci; granddaughter, Kira Salvatore; grandsons, Whitney Lee and wife Courtney, and Zander Lee and wife Alison; great-grandchildren, Angelina and Michael Salvatore, Sylvia and Henry Lee, and Jack and Lauren Lee.
There will be a private committal service for the family. A public memorial service will be held in Maine later in the fall.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main St., Damariscotta, ME 04543. Condolences, and messages for her family, may be expressed by visiting www.StrongHancock.com.