WARREN - Betsy Witherbee Milliken Giustra, 79, smiled and passed peacefully on Monday, September 23, 2019 at Sussman House in Rockland with her four children by her side.
Betsy was born, March 25, 1940 in Kingston, New York to Albert Edward and Phyllis Myer Milliken. She grew up on Sycamore Farm in the stone house where her mother was born. The baby of four, her father affectionately called her “Betsy Bee” as she buzzed around trying to keep up.
Betsy was a graduate of Kingston High School and Green Mountain Collage in Vermont. She and Dad were married in 1962 and Mom began to make home wherever his career lead them from Brooklyn, NY to Rochester, NY then Maryland and even Okinawa and back to Manhattan, NY before moving to Maine in 1970. By that time, she had four children in tow and the family made their home in Thomaston until they moved to the Betsy Bee Farm in Warren in 1974. Betsy was a lifelong learner, and in her sixties, continued her education by earning her CNA from Midcoast Technical College and then her RN degree from Augusta School of Nursing. She instilled a love of books and reading in her children and grandchildren.
Betsy was forever young at heart. She began horseback riding as a child and continued into her seventies. She was also an accomplished skier from an early age and continued to ski with her children and grandchildren on the slopes in Maine as well as on ski trips to Colorado. She introduced her children to 4-H, served as a leader, and later exhibited Polled Hereford cattle at many of the fairs around the state. She played in the women’s hockey league at the Midcoast Recreation Center in her sixties having never played before. A wonderful seamstress, she enjoyed her time with the Warren quilting group and the local Red Hats. Mom loved life and she loved her people. She shared her exuberance through nursing, hospice, hospital auxiliary, volunteering in schools, and participating in community and church events. Mom enjoyed simple pleasures like walks across the fields on the farm and at the beach, any time she had her family all together, holding her grandchildren as babies and later attending their activities, talking with friends on the phone, swimming in the river, Coke floats on the porch during a thunderstorm, trail riding on her horse, dancing to the oldies, shopping at Reny’s, Moody’s custard pie, Pat’s Pizza and McDonald’s sundaes. Betsy chose, with her faith in God, to appreciate all the wonders, large or small, that surrounded her each and every day. She approached everything and everyone with a smile. Betsy will be remembered lovingly by so many, and her family appreciates and is comforted by all the memories shared.
Betsy is survived by her husband of 57 years, Peter Giustra. Mom leaves precious memories with her four children Betsy Moore (Shawn), Sam Giustra, Clint Giustra (Michele) and Allison. Mimi will always be cherished by her 8 grandchildren, Peter and Katelyn Moore, Joshua and Jacob Giustra, Caleb Giustra, and Alecos, Thomas and Caroline Stratis. She is also survived by her siblings, Robert (Patricia) Milliken, Jean (Dwight) Westholt and Sue (Allan) Mitchell, as well as so many adoring nieces and nephews.
A memorial service and celebration of life were held on Friday, September 27, 2019 at the Thomaston Baptist Church. To share a memory or condolences, please visit Betsy’s Memory Wall at BCHFH.com. Memorial donations may be made to Thomaston Baptist Church, 212 Main Street, Thomaston, ME 04861.