Garrettson—Elizabeth Stabler Miller Garrettson, 83, on November 18, 2020, suddenly and unexpectedly, of complications following radiation therapy for lung cancer at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney, Md. Her husband and daughters were holding her and singing to her up to her last breath. Beth was born on June 30, 1937, the third daughter of Robert and Mary Reading Miller, and was an eleventh generation Maryland Quaker.
Beth attended Sherwood School in Sandy Spring, Md.; Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.; and Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City. She was elected student body president while at Emory. She met her husband, Lorne Garrettson, while a nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital. In 1964, the two of them spent four months in a 100-bed rural hospital in Ghana where Lorne was a general physician and Beth served as the head of nursing. She worked for the Georgia Department of Public Health, where she taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation. From 1974 to 1987, Lorne and Beth served in the infirmary at Catoctin Quaker Camp in Thurmont, Md., supporting the health and wellness of hundreds of campers over the years. In Richmond, Va., she was a medical and motherly presence in a home for boys.
Beth was active in all meetings where she lived, including Richmond; Atlanta; and Buffalo, N.Y. She was also active in her wider communities. In Richmond, she started a food cooperative, a babysitting cooperative, and a gourmet supper club.
Lorne retired in 1999, and they moved to Beth’s ancestral home of Sandy Spring in 2000. Beth was active on several committees of Sandy Spring Meeting, and served on the boards of Sandy Spring Friends School and Friends House Retirement Community. She was a member of the Montgomery General Hospital’s Women’s Board, as had been her mother and both grandmothers. She was active in the Women’s Mutual Improvement Society of Sandy Spring, the oldest women’s club in the country.
Beth is remembered by many for her cheerful and loving manner and her ability to offer support and solace to others. Everyone felt her joy and warmth. When her sister died leaving young children, Beth took her niece and nephew into her home. Her niece lived with her twice more for extended periods during life’s transitions when she needed support and the warmth of family.
Beth was a piano player who accompanied family sing-alongs. She had a lovely alto voice and a love of choral music. She and Lorne sang in community choral groups in Atlanta, Buffalo, and Sandy Spring. She sang in a small a capella group in Richmond. Beth passed her love of singing to her children and sang with Lorne and two daughters in a large choral group in Rockville, Md., where her daughter is the director.
Beth is survived by her husband, Lorne Garrettson; three children, Elizabeth Brooke Carroll (Brian), Linda Janney Garrettson (Michael Minnig), and Mariana Garrettson (Jordan Taylor); and five grandchildren.