1. 265: Elizabeth “Betty” Werrenrath: A Life-long Progressive, still Advocating for Change at 110 Gail Zelitzky and Catherine Marienau 26:33

We love all our interviews. However, meeting Betty Werrenrath in person, and interviewing her in her apartment at the Presbyterian Homes in Evanston, IL was a unique experience that we would not have traded. Betty is inspiring, positive, upbeat and interesting. She was born January 28, 1914 in Harrisburg, PA. The daughter of a progressive preacher’s kid, she says, “I had to act decently because he was so well-known”.

““Be more interested in others than you are in yourself. Listen.” – Betty Werrenrath

An athlete, she played field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, tennis and golf in high school and college. With a full athletic scholarship that included a job in the alumni office, she graduated from Wells College with a degree in art history in 1935.  Betty and Reinald married in 1937 and remained married for 82 years. They have three children. They moved to Presbyterian Homes in Evanston in 1998. Reinald had a stroke at age 103 and passed away in 2019.

Betty’s multiple passions and drive for advocacy have stayed undiminished throughout her life. When she sees changes that need to be made she takes action. In addition to church and community volunteer efforts, after Reinald retired they collaborated on over 100-16mm educational films distributed nationwide, staying for weeks in eight different countries to research and film. 

In the Presbyterian Homes, Betty enthusiastically pursues new friendships and activities. 

Gail Zelitzky & Catherine Marienau Women Over 70 - Aging Reimagined

The decades that begin in our 70s require resilience to deal with new challenges, gratitude for living longer, and inspiration to enrich our own and others’ lives. Hosts Gail Zelitzky and Catherine Marienau are two such women. Their stories and the stories of the over 200 women they have interviewed celebrate women’s enduring courage, compassion and contribution. Our compelling stories shatter the myth that we become irrelevant as we age.