Betty Lonita Caple of Hartsville, NY, age 98, passed away peacefully on August 14 in Waterloo, NY with family present.
She was a passionate force for education in the Village of Canisteo, New York and a dedicated caretaker of history for the Town of Hartsville, New York from 1950 –2000.
Born in Hornell, NY in 1924 she graduated from Hornell High School in 1942 and received her teaching degree from Brockport State Teachers College in 1946. She earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Elmira College.
While home on a week end from college in 1946 she met the man she would marry, Thomas Douglass Caple, an Army veteran and Hartsville resident. They were introduced at a Young People’s meeting and the next day he asked her for a date. Their first date was the Canisteo Senior Prom. She and Tom were engaged six months later. Their wedding took place on July 26, 1947 in Hornell, NY.
Betty’s teaching journey started in Cuba, New York as a sixth-grade teacher until she and Tom bought a house in Hartsville Center and moved there in 1948. Here they raised their four daughters and celebrated 67 years of marriage together. She often said her greatest achievement in life is her four daughters.
Education and learning were paramount to Betty. Reading and weekly trips to the Canisteo Library were an important part of the Caple family life. Betty nurtured her daughters to have a great appreciation and love of history and reading.
On family summer vacations across the US, she insisted the family stop and see any historical plaque, museum, monument, fort or battlefield on route. Experiencing these sites first hand was important to her teaching of American history to her fourth-grade students. She was widely respected by parents, fellow teachers, administrators and students during the 36 years she taught at Canisteo Elementary School. Her leadership, compassion, and genuineness were evident throughout her life.
Upon retirement from teaching in 1989 she and Tom remained very active in maintaining Hartsville Township historical records; preserving, organizing and cataloguing 150 years of historical documents and artifacts for the township. She served as the town historian for 40 years. “History, this is our identity”, Betty said.In 2017she fulfilled a dream by becoming a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and a member of Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (DUVCW).
When the Kanisteo Historical Society began construction of a new building in the mid-1990s on Main Street in Canisteo, Betty served as a volunteer and Tom was co-chairmen of the planning and construction of the project. They were strong supporters of KHS and so very proud to be part of the Dedication Day Celebration of the new building on October 27, 1995.
Betty is predeceased in death by her husband Tom who passed away in 2014, and her siblings; 3 sisters and 3 brothers. She is also predeceased by her daughter, Carla Agonito (Charles), two grandsons, Thomas Agonito and Seth Moat and two sons-in-law, John Bassett (Marie) and James Bird (Marsha).
She is survived by three daughters, Elizabeth Ann Swisko (Michael) of Windham, Maine, Marsha Bird of Palm Beach, Florida and Marie Bassett of Hartford, Kentucky. She is survived by grandchildren, Joshua Moat, Vivien (daughter of Carla and Charles Agonito), Tasya Swisko Morse (Patrick), Todd Bird, Scott Bird and great grandson, Sloan Bird, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements are with Brown & Powers Funeral Homes, 6 Spruce Street, Canisteo, NY 14823
Friends and family are invited to attend visitation on Saturday, August 26, 2023 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm and a funeral service at 2:00 pm at Brown & Powers Funeral Home, 6 Spruce Street, Canisteo, NY 14823.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions for Betty may be sent to the Kanisteo Historical Society, 23 Main St, Canisteo, NY 14823 and the Hartsville Slate Creek School & Museum, AKA Hartsville Historical Society, c/o Katherine Burdick, Treasurer, 5085 Purdy Creek Road, Hornell. NY 14843
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Betty Caple, please visit our Tree Store