Elizabeth "Betsy" Conlan Gregg of Winston-Salem, N.C., died Feb. 3


Elizabeth “Betsy” Conlan Gregg of Winston-Salem, N.C., passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family on Saturday, Feb. 3, under the amazing care of Kate B. Reynolds Hospice House.

Betsy had a uniquely brilliant and curious mind. She admired and knew more about the Virgin Mary, Eleanor Roosevelt and Jane Austen than anyone on earth. She was a wise, hopeful, patient, and giving mother; a loving, selfless and supportive wife, and a beloved grandmother. She was a dedicated lifelong steward of our planet and all of its inhabitants. Betsy was a constant champion of the less fortunate. She lived for causes, reading, people and conversations of substance, farming, gardening, baking, hiking, performing and visual arts. Betsy was an irreplaceable friend to many women with whom she embraced empowering them in thought, life, education, charity, politics, education and adventure.

Betsy was born Dec. 20, 1932, in Boston, Mass., to Joseph Fraser Conlan and Sarah Fleming Conlan, one of six children. She graduated high school from Ursuline Academy, attended Randolph Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg and later graduated from Wake Forest University.

She met her husband of 58 years, James Murphy “Jim” Gregg Jr. of Fort Mill, S.C., in her hometown of Boston where Jim graduated from Harvard Law School. Jim was also a graduate of the The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., and a decorated first lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.

Betsy and Jim were married on July 14, 1955, at Old Saint Mary’s Church in Philadelphia. Betsy and Jim moved to Winston-Salem in 1958 when Jim was hired to be a trust officer for Wachovia Bank & Trust where he worked until he retired in 1991.

They lovingly raised their sons, James Murphy Gregg, III (Murphy) and John Michael Gregg (Mike) in Winston-Salem.

In addition to being an amazing mother and wife, Betsy was actively involved in children, education, business and community service, including PTA, Child Guidance, The Battered Woman’s Shelter, United Way, Save the NEW River, The North Carolina Christmas Tree Growers Association, Roaring Gap Store, Out Back Café, Blue Sky Bakery and Diamondback Grill, Integration of the Winston-Salem Forsyth County School System, SECCA, UNC School of the Arts, The Sesquicentennial Celebration of Wake Forest University.

After Jim retired they moved to Taos, N.M., then Crested Butte, Colo., and traveled the Southwest extensively. They then spent several years living in Lexington, where Betsy was active in the local community. Her professional baking at Mike and Brenda’s Blue Sky Bakery was a great source of personal pride and source of much happiness. Betsy and Jim came full circle moving back to Winston-Salem in 2011 where they enjoyed becoming reacquainted with lifelong friends and living just down the street from Murph and Kimberly’s Diamondback Grill.

Betsy was predeceased by her husband of 58 years, James Murphy Gregg Jr., who passed away in Winston-Salem on Nov. 9, 2014; sister Constance Remmer of Miami, Fla., and brothers Peter Conlan of Beverly, Mass., and Mike Conlan of Tulsa, Okla.; and her brother-in-law, John Nathan Gregg and his wife Nancy of St. David’s, Pa.

She is survived by brothers Joseph Fraser Conlan Jr. of Brewster, Mass., and his wife Louise, who was a dear friend of Betsy’s since they were 15 years old, and brother Franklin Pierce Conlan and his wife Rikka of Philadelphia, Pa., and Carmel, Calif. Betsy is survived by 21 nieces and nephews and their many wonderful adventurous children and grandchildren. Betsy is also survived by her two sons, James Murphy Gregg III, his wife Kimberly Moore Williams Gregg and their two children James Murphy Gregg IV and Harris Moore Gregg of Winston-Salem, as well as John Michael Gregg, his wife Brenda Bowers Gregg and their two sons, John Michael Gregg Jr. and Benjamin Murphy Gregg of Lexington.

Many of Betsy’s fondest memories are of her grandchildren — attending dance recitals, soccer games and volunteering at their school (in the library of course.) Betsy successfully integrated all her loves (education, progressive causes, gardening, baking and reading) in nurturing and supporting her grandchildren through the years. Betsy and Jim’s proudest and greatest legacy is the future of their beloved grandchildren, Jay, John Michael, Harris and Ben. By far, their grandchildren brought the most joy to their lives. She also talked so often of the time she spent with Jim, family and close friends at their Christmas Tree Farm and their farm house on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Laurel Creek.

Betsy moved into Salemtowne Retirement Community upon Jim’s passing in 2014 and was happily very active for several years with dear friends new and old working on the library committee, the environmental committee, choir, taking walks and watching classic movies.

We welcome close friends and family to Salemtowne for a celebration of Betsy’s life on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 2 p.m. Through thick and thin she never lost her humor and consistently maintained “I am one of the lucky ones.” We are also the lucky ones for having known and loved and been loved by Betsy.

Memorial gifts may be made to The Forsyth Backpack Program that feeds chronically hungry school children in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. Forsyth Backpack Program, 380-H Knollwood Street, Box 402 Winston-Salem, NC 27103, forsythbackpackprogram.org or Crisis Control Ministry, 200 10th Street, E. Winston-Salem, NC 27101, www.crisiscontrol.org. Online condolences may be made through www.salemfh.com.


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