"Elisabeth Faris Looney (Betsy), age 88, died peacefully in Chapel Hill, NC on April 8, 2015 with family at her side. Born June 18, 1926 in Manhattan, New York, to James Edge Faris and Elisabeth Sheldon Faris, Betsy quickly embarked on a life of travel. Her father was a doctor in the United States Public Health Service and his postings took the family many places abroad and stateside. Betsy’s favorite was Fort Monroe, Virginia where they lived in the 1940’s and she spoke fondly of walking along the water to the Officer’s Club with her father.
In high school she was a lifeguard at the Officer’s Club pool where she met young men heading overseas to fight-some of her favorites never returned. Betsy was a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia. After graduation she worked as a school teacher at Fort Monroe until moving to Washington, DC where she met her husband, Dr. William Boyd Looney.
Betsy continued her travels with her husband, they honeymooned in Cairo, lived in Cambridge, England, toured the wine regions of France & Italy, and skied in Austria and Switzerland. Eventually they settled in Charlottesville not far from Red Hill where her father grew up. It was there that she raised two sons, assisted her husband with his numerous papers and presentations, and volunteered with local organizations including Planned Parenthood, the Orton Society, Hospice of the Piedmont, and NAMI Blue Ridge.
At the age of 71 she went with her son Jim on a month long trekking trip of Nepal complete with a motorcycle tour of Kathmandu. For her 80th birthday she traveled to Antarctica. In her lifetime Betsy managed to visit every continent except Australia and she made her son Bill promise that he would take some of her ashes there.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
Betsy is survived by her sister Mary Faris Bibby, her oldest son, William Boyd O’Luanaigh, his wife Paige and their children, Robin and Erik. Betsy was preceded in death by her son James Patrick Looney, her husband, Dr. William Boyd Looney, and her brother James Edge Faris.
Betsy requested that there not be a funeral or memorial service so a celebration of her life will be held when her ashes are interred on June 20th at the Mooreland Baptist Church in North Garden, Virginia. The family will provide more details as they become available. For memorials please consider donations to NAMI Blue Ridge at the address below:
Elisabeth Faris Looney
NAMI - Virginia
P.O. Box 8260
Richmond, VA 23226-0260
Her family was blessed to have been by her side as she passed and were constantly astonished at her strength of will. She left as she lived, in her time and on her terms."