Elizabeth Jane Strand, Crookston, MN (formerly of Moorhead, MN) passed away on August 6, 2020. Betty (to friends and family) was born on July 2, 1923 to Richard and Karoline Strand of Crookston. Ever the independent spirit, Betty decided at an early age to make her life her art. After high school, she served in the Secret and Confidential Unit of the Ordinance Department in the War Department, eventually working in the newly built Pentagon. Returning to MN, she obtained her Bachelor’s from Concordia College, Moorhead and followed that with a Master’s in Art and a Master’s of Fine Art at the University of Iowa. That investment led her to a life as an independent artist; as a mentor of other artists through a professorship at Concordia College, Moorhead; as a world traveler and as a private soul enjoying her life in her star-shaped home which she had constructed from a Frank Lloyd Wright design. In addition to art, Betty loved good food with good company; playing games and sharing laughs; donating to charity; and her private pastimes of reading and watching PBS. As she never married and had children, several nieces and nephews were the beneficiaries of both constructive criticism and fierce support. Her choices allowed her to complete her first bucket list by the age of forty and her encouragement was in hopes that all others could do the same.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Karoline and siblings: Borghild, Mathea, Rugnar, Agnes, Mabel, Vivian and Dick. She is survived by generations of family members. In honor of Betty’s 97 years of making her own way, this writer closes with the quote that greeted Betty each day as she took graduate school classes, “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis Est” (Art Endures, Life is Short).
Among Betty’s belongings was a card with the quote, “Sometimes ‘right back where you started from’ is right where you belong”. There will be a Celebration of Life event in Crookston in September. Contact Jackie Bertils at 27332 245th Ave SW, Crookston, MN 56716-9179 for more information.