Betty Nelle Stanley Starr Garmirian
Betty Garmirian passed away at Whitehorse Village on March 4, 2019. Betty was a longtime resident of Swarthmore before moving to Whitehorse Village in 2004.
Betty was born on September 22, 1922 at a private hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Betty grew up in Salem, Indiana, and after graduating from high school went on to Indiana University receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Education during the World War II years. Upon graduation, Betty taught 5th grade for a year before marrying fellow Salem resident, Robert J. Starr.
Bob was stationed with the Navy in Philadelphia at the time, and Betty took the train with her step-mother to her new home. The church that Bob and Betty were married in was always within view of Bob’s office, years later, when he worked for the Insurance Company of North America.
After the war, the Starrs settled in West Lafayette, Ind., so that Bob could complete his degree at Purdue. Betty continued to teach long enough to receive her lifetime credential in the state of Indiana. Betty had their first child, Sharon, and the family then moved to Kentland, Ind., and a second daughter, Sally, was born. The family moved to Naperville, Ill., for a year and then on to Swarthmore, Pa.
Swarthmore was the ideal place for Betty and the family. Betty’s love for teaching continued in the Nether Providence and Wallingford-Swarthmore school districts for years. She was an involved parent and devoted friend and thoroughly enjoyed gardening and the arts. Her true passion for reading was a significant part of her life. Many a child and adult benefited greatly from Betty’s open sharing of this passion.
Betty remained in Swarthmore after her first husband passed away, and was fortunate to meet her great love, George Garmirian. They were married on February 12, 1983. She was delighted to add to her family another two daughters, Barbara and Beth. Being the wife of an Armenian man became an important cultural transition for Betty. She learned to cook Armenian food, researched history and became part of a wonderful extended family. George and Betty had 22 years of an exciting and full life together before George succumbed to cancer in November of 2004. For the last 15 years of her life, Betty lived at Whitehorse Village surrounded by friends and family. She enjoyed telling people that she had 17 great grandchildren, and the life to prove it!
Betty is survived by her daughters, Sharon Surratt (Walt), Sally Starr, Barbara Hirshfeld (John) and Beth Binkley (John); nine grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. This quote is what Betty reached for all her life and best describes her: “a vibrant soul with a loving heart.”
A memorial service will be held at Whitehorse Village on March 23, 2019 at 2 p.m. Memorial gifts, in honor of Betty, can be made to the Chester Children’s Chorus.