Betty Matlaw

Betty Matlaw

Betty Matlaw, October 5, 1926 – February 6, 2023, was born in Cleveland, moving to Toronto with her parents Joseph (a mechanic) and Ethel (a dressmaker) during the Great Depression.

In Canada, life was a little less hard. Betty had perfect attendance and excelled at drawing while at Eglinton School from 1935 through 1940, but her parents forbade continuing school after her high school graduation. Betty wouldn’t be stopped, though, working throughout her time at the University of Michigan, later taking additional credits at Chicago’s Art Institute and Roosevelt University, where her friendships and interests expanded to dancing at the Aragon Ballroom and hearing Billie Holliday sing at the Bee Hive Lounge. Marriage to her classmate Ralph brought them to New York, where Betty started work in publishing before typing his dissertation as he pursued academic positions at Princeton, Harvard and a lengthy sabbatical in Paris. Those years were a gift of so many memorable experiences, which further encouraged Betty’s enduring curiosity and concern for others.

Betty made such a difference to all those whose lives she touched. Her dear friend Richard J. Gehring (Buffalo) fondly recalled their meeting in 1969 at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Work Administration: “my treasured friend . . . 54 years ago, we helped each other get through grad school — Betty was my rock.”

Betty was loved by her daughters Leslie Matlaw (Chicago) and Karen Steinberg (California). Final arrangements are private.

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