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Elizabeth Ann McCracken McDowell ’34

A picture of Elizabeth McCracken McDowell

Elizabeth Ann McCracken McDowell ’34, November 3, 2011, in Portland. Betty came to Reed as a transfer student and a day-dodger, along with her sister, Mary McCracken Lathram ’36. Their father was a dentist, and three of his patients were Reed instructors. Additionally, T.L. Eliot officiated at her parents’ marriage, and her maternal grandfather’s farm was adjacent to the land on which the college was built. “There was a lot of lobbying for us to go to Reed,” Betty said. She majored in psychology and took a minor in education. Following graduation, she did social work during a longshoremen’s strike in Kelso, Washington, and then enrolled at Claremont McKenna College, where she received an MA in clinical psychology. She taught high school in Nevada and in Portland, with subjects ranging from Latin to social sciences, and from P.E. to arithmetic. In 1940, she married James N. McDowell, whom she had met during her first year in high school; they raised six children. Betty was a dedicated volunteer in her community. For decades, she served on the board of Catholic Charities and Services and assisted with counseling and providing resources to those who needed food, lodging, or petrol. Survivors include four sons, two daughters, 13 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and her sister, Mary. James died in 1995.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2012

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