Elizabeth's Story

CAMDEN AND SURRY - After 91 years of gracious living, Elizabeth Brennian Leaf, passed into the Great Beyond on January 19, 2016 following a short illness. Better known as Betty to her friends and Nana to her grandchildren and great grandchildren, she lived a vibrant and fulfilling life until the very end, continuing to radiate love and good cheer to everyone touched by her.

Betty was born on September 19, 1924 in Easton, PA to William Brennian and Iva Schilling Brennian. She was raised in Easton and had lasting fond memories of spending summers on the New Jersey shore with her mother and extended family. Betty attended Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania where she studied French and Spanish. After graduating she taught French at Cedar Crest. An avid dancer and singer, Betty was swept off her feet by returning WWII fighter pilot, Charles C. Leaf. After a whirlwind courtship of three weeks, they were married in Valley Forge, Pa. in 1946. As the wife of a military officer, Betty lived a life filled with travel and adventure, moving 28 times, including tours in France, Germany and Spain, while raising a family of five active children. The family spent their summers at their lakefront property on Toddy Pond in Surry which then became their retirement home in 1971. Toddy Pond continued to bring the burgeoning family together every summer, a magical place held dear by every member of the family. Betty and Charlie were always in the center of things and took great delight in watching new generations swim to the float.

Throughout her life Betty was known far and wide for her incredible warmth and positive spirit. There is nothing Betty enjoyed more than a competitive game of Spite and Malice, bridge or cribbage. Charlie and Betty spent many happy hours on their boat, Legacy, cruising Penobscot Bay including several encounters with the famous seal, Andre. Following the death of Charlie in 1995, Betty lived in Bucksport, before moving to Parker Ridge Senior Living Community in Blue Hill and most recently to Camden Hills Villa in Camden. At each stop Betty quickly developed a circle of friends who appreciated and admired her wonderful spirit.

Betty is survived by Lucy Leaf of Surry, Nancy and her husband, Richard Salminen of Surry, Barbara and her husband, Stephen Antell of Shelburne, VT., Charles (Chip) and his wife, Sandra Leaf of Colorado Springs, CO. and William (Bill) and his wife, Kristin Michel of Gloucester, MA. She is also survived by her six grandsons: Erik Salminen, Brennian Antell, Alec Antell, Evan Leaf, Justin Leaf and Jason Leaf. Betty is also survived by 3 great grandchildren: Demetri Antell, Lainee Antell and Olivia Salminen.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the wonderful, nurturing community of Camden Hills Villa, to the staff of both Pen Bay Memorial Center and the Sussman Hospice House.

Respecting Betty's wishes, there will be no services at this time. A celebration of her life will be held at the family property on Toddy Pond at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Blue Hill Heritage Trust, Bangor Humane Society or a charity of your choosing.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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