Cover photo for Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Marlow's Obituary
Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Marlow Profile Photo
1927 Mary 2024

Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Marlow

February 16, 1927 — February 23, 2024

Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Marlow (nee Strom) passed peacefully on Friday, February 23, one week after her 97th birthday, at the John Clarke Retirement Center in Middletown, RI. Betty had an amazing life. She grew up on a tobacco farm in Quincy, FL, before leaving to attend Wesleyan College in Macon, GA. In 1947, she spent the summer at the YMCA / YWCA President's School in New York City, where she met her life-long partner, the late Bill Marlow. Independently, they each made the decision to travel to India the following year as Methodist missionaries, where they taught (in different cities) for the next three years. Dating throughout the separation, they became engaged in India and married in 1952, shortly after their return to the States.

Eventually, they settled in Reading, PA, where they raised three wonderful children, and Betty worked as an educator, training early childhood teachers and teaching adults to read. She was very active in her church, the former Central Park UMC, and worked with a group of women who became dear friends, planning many years worth of Sunday School programming, in addition to volunteering in the soup kitchen and clothing center.

Throughout their almost 70 years together, she and Bill were true partners. In addition to her own career as an educator, Betty was a partner in Bill's ministry through Yale Divinity School, churches in Carlisle, PA and many years caring for students and faculty at Albright College. Both were active in civil rights and political activism in Reading, and Betty served on the Board of Elections.

Her greatest joys were being with family and creating environments for both plants and people to grow. She was welcoming to everyone she met and generously offered her home, hospitality, and countless Christmas cookies. She loved gardening, and shared plant cuttings with many friends. She was known for reviving plants that were "not quite dead enough." Betty and Bill loved to travel, and their trips to Israel, India, China, and Thailand were legendary.

They relocated to Rhode Island in 2017 to be near family. She will be remembered for her warm smile, the gratitude with which she lived each day, and her frustration at certain politicians as she watched MSNBC at bone-crushing volumes. She is survived by her children, E. Lynn Marlow (Ronna Davis), Karen Marlow McDaid (John McDaid), and W. Scott Marlow, and grandchildren Elise Plyler (Liz White), Liam Lewis-Marlow, Kaiya Lewis-Marlow, and Jack McDaid, as well as many dear friends. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Children's Defense Fund and the Democratic Party. Betty would want you to vote Democrat.

Visitation with the family will be held on Friday, March 1 from 3-6pm, at Connors Funeral Home, 55 West Main Rd., Portsmouth, RI. A memorial service will follow at a later date.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Marlow, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, March 1, 2024

3:00 - 6:00 pm

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 22

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree