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Betty Doris Seldon-MacFarlane

Betty Doris Seldon-MacFarlane

February 9, 2024

Betty Doris Seldon-MacFarlane

Seldon-MacFarlane (née Wright), Betty Doris   Professor Emerita

January 18, 1928 - February 9, 2024

Our Mom, Grandma and Great-Grandma died peacefully in London, Ontario, on Friday, February 9th, 2024 having recently celebrated her 96th birthday.

Mom will be missed by her only child, Elizabeth, and by her beloved grandchildren Pam Hrick (Kristyn Watterworth) and Jason Hrick and by her wonderful great-grandson, Paxton Andrew Watterworth. Loved and missed by her step-daughter, Catriona MacFarlane-Reed (Travis Reed) and by Jeanie MacFarlane (Stephen Brunt) and their children Nat, Jake and Hollis.

Predeceased by her husbands, Thomas Brook Seldon (1914-1957) and Andrew Walker MacFarlane (1928-2002); her parents Cecil and Agnes Wright; and by her sister, Joan.

Born in Toronto, Betty’s family moved to London in the 1940s. She attended South Secondary Collegiate and then received her BA (Secretarial Science) from the University of Western Ontario.  In 1950, she married Tom Seldon, LLB.  Sadly, shortly after their daughter’s birth, Tom unexpectedly died in February of 1957. Thanks to her parents’ help, Betty was able to adjust to a very different reality. 

In 1964, Betty became an instructor in the Department of Secretarial Science at the University of Western Ontario.  She remained active at the University over the next 24 years:  obtaining a ‘Master of Library Science’ degree; becoming an accredited Associate Professor within the Sec Sci Department; taking a local leadership role within ARMA International; and working in the President’s Office for a 3 year term during the tenure of Dr. D. Carleton Williams and Dr. George Connell. It was during this time that she also met UWO’s founding Dean of Journalism, Andy MacFarlane. The pair married in 1981. Betty retired from the University in 1988, receiving the designation of Professor Emerita.

Her step-daughter, Catriona, notes that Betty was, in her opinion, “an excellent role model for young women”.  Catriona further notes that people born in 1928 “…had a sense of “duty” and doing what was “right” based on the attitudes and ideas of the time.  Betty always believed she was doing the right thing at the right time.”

Particularly in retirement, Betty relished the role of grandmother, and was a presence at her grandchildren’s extracurricular activities. Both before and after Andy’s passing in 2002, Betty remained an avid traveller, theatregoer, reader, and deliverer of Meals on Wheels across London into her early 90s alongside her dear friend, Nancy Poole. 

Betty will be remembered by those who loved her for many things, including her drive to make a better life for herself in sometimes challenging circumstances, and for her tenacity as a faculty member at UWO, at a time when faculty spaces remained overwhelmingly dominated by men. 

Private family interment at a later date. 

Betty’s family wishes to thank Dr. Frank Shin for decades of care and the staff at Manor Village (particularly Jane and Tammy) for their kindness over the last few months.  Also we are so very thankful for our friends, Holly and Kirk Jordan, who have been with us for many years throughout this journey, and for Tim Heikoop who has provided spiritual guidance and friendship.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Betty’s memory to Meals on Wheels London or to your local charity of choice supporting those who need our help.


Good Day.
Firstly, sorry for your loss. I did not know Betty but have researched her and her husband Thomas. I am writing a family history of the Seldon family and would love to reach out to the immediate family. I would love to her about both Thomas and Betty and what their lives were like. And of course, any photos. If the family agrees, I would like to include this information in the non profit published family history.

Thank you in advance.
Glenn Elliott

betty wrigtht seldon 1967.jpg
— Glenn Elliott, March 26, 2024

James and I had some wonderful times with Betty and Andy at the Western Fair Racetrack and again, after Andy's death, with Betty and Catherine Ross. She was so proud of Pam and Jason and spoke glowingly of their successes. Having taught both her grandchildren, I knew her praise was justified. We last saw Betty some years ago with her friend Nancy Poole.

It was always a pleasure to chat with Betty. I wish we had kept in touch. She was truly admirable.

— Susan Wallace and James Reaney, February 25, 2024

Dear Liz and family,
I am so sorry to learn of the recent passing of your Mom, Step-Mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother. I remember Mrs. Seldon-MacFarlane as an energetic, humourous, intelligent, beautiful woman who in her later years would pop in for lunch at Museum London on occasion with her dear friend Mrs. Nancy Poole who was equally energetic, humourous, intelligent and beautiful - they were the perfect dynamic duo - and I was always interested in hearing about their adventures of delivering meals on wheels and catching up their family news!
Thinking of you all with much affection.
Warmest regards,
Cydna Carmichael Mercer

— CYDNA MERCER, February 23, 2024

Betty was an enthusiastic, thoughtful and inspiring professor during my time at Western (class of 1972, Secretarial Science). I still remember that big smile and helpful hints she offered. My sympathy to her family.

— Peggy Lewis, Victoria BC, February 20, 2024

Liz, Pam and Jason. Dave and I are very sorry for your loss. I have great memories of Betty from my time at Western, but even better ones of our times at London Lightning. I will never forget her joining in warmups and cheering on Pam and the team. She was a true inspiration showing the impact an active and involved grandmother can have. She was funny and positive and a true light to be around. I’ve taken her lessons in grandparenting to heart. Once again, our sincere sympathy.

— Sheila LeClair, February 20, 2024

I am very sorry to hear of your Mom/Grandmother's passing. Betty was a great friend to both my Mom and Dad, (Marilyn and Jack Hartry) and I knew Betty for a long time...in fact she is a part of many pictures I have of my parents and their friends from years gone by. Betty and the late Pat Davis were an invaluable help to my parents and especially my Mom in the last years of her life. Betty was always there to lend a hand and lend invaluable support. She was with us in the hospital and at my Mom's side as she passed away. Together both Betty and Pat provided great support while Mom was sick and after she passed away.
Again, I am very sorry for your loss and so happy to have known Betty and to have had her as part of my life and the life of our family. I will never forget her!

— Jane (Hartry) Whetham, February 19, 2024

I have known Betty for more than 50 years as the mother of my dearest friend, Liz. What remarkable lifetime achievements she accomplished during a time where most women were expected to be wives and homemakers. Her most remarkable legacy though, is passing her intelligence, tenacity and strength onto her daughter, Liz and her two grandchildren, Pam and Jason. She will be missed.
Cathy Dance

— Cathy Dance, February 18, 2024

Our hearts go out to our lovely neighbour Liz at the passing of her mom Betty. Betty had been a part of our world since she moved in with Liz. Always a go getter, delivering Meals On Wheels in her later years. And sharp as a tack with her Sudoku puzzles!
She was so very kind to Maddie and I. Always interested in Maddie’s academic life and her dancing. It always touched my heart. My late husband loved Betty too! Always flirting with her which brought on the biggest smile!
In the warmer months we would always see Betty outside feeding the birds and the bunnies. We are very much going to miss that this Summer.
Again, our sincere condolences to Liz, Pam and Jason. Betty was so special to us. We loved her dearly, and we are really going to miss her. She always made us feel so special. But she’s at peace now, which is comforting in our sadness.
Rest in peace Betty. You made a difference in our lives and we will never forget you. You were a special lady, that’s for sure.
Much love, Lisa and Maddie.

— Lisa and MAddie Clark, February 18, 2024

As a graduate of Western's Secretarial Science program (l969), I know how fortunate we were to have Betty as an instructor. She was very well liked and a wonderful role model for each of us. Hers was certainly a life well lived. My condolences to Betty's family and friends.

— Carol Hunter, February 17, 2024

Cathy is remembering the time Betty encouraged my dad to get yellow roses at the time of her graduation from UWO nursing in 1962. Everyone was excited when you entered the writing competition about being the Prime Minister of Canada for a day, you had an excellent platform!
Dr. Whelen died in 2012, Cathy is 3 years younger than your mother but still living independently in downtown London; she would enjoy reminiscing with you.

— Doug Whelen on behalf of Cathy Whelen, February 17, 2024

I had the pleasure of knowing Betty through Western's CCAA (the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging) where we met twice a week. I feel sorry that we lost touch in the last few years. She was such a lovely and lively friend. She died on the 9th of February, my birthday.

My condolences to her family.

— Cécile, February 17, 2024

I remember Betty from my early library science days (SLIS). She was just the nicest person and lovely to be around. The fact not having known her for a long period, i still have remembrances her, is testament to the impact she had on the people she knew.
Heartfelt condolences to all her family and friends.

— John Fracasso, February 17, 2024

Betty had such an inquisitive mind and a genuine interest in - how things work.
She loved Geography and always had the Best Questions - You will be missed - CAT

— Catriona MacFarlane-Reed, February 15, 2024

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