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H. Elizabeth Zollinger ’48

A picture of Elizabeth Zollinger in the role of Bizet's Carmen

H. Elizabeth Zollinger ’48, June 17, 2013, in Portland. The daughter of Clifford E. Zollinger ’21 and Helen E. Watt Zollinger ’21, niece of Marian Zollinger ’26, and sister of Janet R. Zollinger Edwards ’46, Betty was well prepared to undertake the rigors of a Reed education. She earned a BA from the college and an MA from the University of Oregon in biology and then taught biology to chiropractic students in Portland before moving to New York, where she worked at Columbia University as a tutor. Her passion was music. She performed in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas at Reed. After moving to New York, she found success as a singer, appearing in concerts; in operas such as Carmen, Aida, and Madama Butterfly; in theatre and musical productions; and in radio and television. She performed throughout the U.S., and in Germany, England, and Italy. “I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said that show business was the simplest job in the world,” she said in an interview. “Still, it has been wonderful for me.” International Beaux Arts selected her as singer of the year in 1982. On her visits to Portland, she stayed with friends Wayne E. Kuhn ’25 and Agnes Lakie Kuhn ’27 and attended events on campus. Eva Lamfrom Labby ’51, who notified the college of Betty’s death, first met Betty at Grant High School in Portland. They performed together in operettas at Reed and maintained a friendship through the years. “She had the gift of a lovely mezzo soprano voice,” says Eva. “When she returned to Portland in 2006, in declining health, I accepted the position of having her power of attorney and spending time with her as often as I could. Alzheimer’s took away her memory bit by bit. She had retained her good attitude, graciousness, and especially good, loyal memories of her years at Reed, particularly talking about her Reed classmate Phiz Mezey ’48.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2013

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