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Elizabeth "Betty" Brownell Balestrieri, 83 of Bellaire, passed away peacefully on Thursday, November 10, 2022. She was born on February 12, 1939 in Detroit, MI the daughter of Robert and Dorothy (Ault) Brownsell.
Betty graduated from Gross Pointe High School and went on to attend the University of Michigan where she obtained her undergraduate degree in Physical Education. She then attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and earned her Masters and PhD in English. While working on her graduate degrees, she also worked as a substitute teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools.
As an English Professor, she spent most of her career overseas in Japan, where she would work for the next 20 years before retiring. She taught at several universities and she played a large role in helping those universities develop Women's Studies programs. Betty grew up spending her summers at her family's cottage on Lake Bellaire which had a special place in her heart, and so she retired to Bellaire to enjoy her later years.
She loved to swim, and she even swam across Lake Bellaire several times in her younger days. Throughout her life, Betty loved to garden, and could often be seen tending to her plants at her home in Bellaire. She was an avid reader as well as a published poet and author. She was also an active member of the Michigan Democratic Party.
On June 21, 1984 in Milwaukee, WI, she married Peter Balestrieri, who survives. Also surviving are her six children, Gwynne Williams of Portland, ME, Amie Williams of Athens, Greece, Dan Williams of Evergreen, CO, Sarah (Fred) Pescatore of Berkeley Heights, NJ, Andrea Balestrieri of San Diego, CA, and Joseph Balestrieri of San Diego, CA; and five grandchildren, Conor Arnodo, Caleb Williams, Jordan Williams, Seth Williams, and Luca Wolf.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and two sisters, Nancy Thomas and Barbara Brownell.
A memorial service will be held at 3 pm on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at the Bellaire Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Global Girl Media, www.globalgirlmedia.org/donate or Grass River Nature Conservancy, www.grassriver.org.
Arrangements are in the care of the Bellaire Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Please sign her online guestbook at www.mortensenfuneralhomes.com
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Starts at 3:00pm (Eastern time)
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