Bettye Floyd, 74, campus counselor at Towson University, avid traveler

February 15, 2003|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Dr. Bettye Floyd, a former campus counselor upon whom generations of Towson University students came to rely for straightforward advice, died of cancer Feb. 8 at St. Joseph Medical Center. She was 74.

Born Bettye Zane Alexander and raised in Kannapolis, N.C., she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in English and Spanish from Wake Forest University in 1949.

She earned a master's degree in counseling and guidance in 1961 from the College of William and Mary, and her doctorate in counseling and human development from George Washington University in 1993.

In 1962, she began her career working for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco. She later was an assistant research adviser at Northern Illinois University and resident adviser at Michigan State University before moving to what is now Towson University in 1966.

Dr. Floyd counseled students from a book-strewn office on the second floor of Glen Esk, a former Victorian mansion that had earlier housed the university's president and was later converted into the campus counseling center.

Charles E. Maloy, former associate vice president of students and director of the Counseling Center from 1972 to 1995, worked closely with her for more than 20 years.

"She had a love of working with students," said Dr. Maloy, who retired in 1998. "She liked working with students because they were bright, articulate and very challenging as a group."

He added, "She was a rock for the people she worked with and someone you could always count on. You couldn't overload her. She was always taking on more clients."

Alice M. Feeney, a former counselor at the university and a Towson resident, recalled Dr. Floyd's firmness in dealing with students.

"She told them they could do whatever they wanted to do. Even though she understood their apprehensions and had sympathy for them, she would never let them get away with saying, `I can't. I can't.' She was able to make them see that they were pretty terrific people," said Mrs. Feeney of Ruxton.

Ruth S. Lisansky, a longtime friend, said Dr. Floyd was someone who believed the impossible was possible. "She was able to infuse her students with self-confidence, and it was a wonderful sight to see," said Dr. Lisansky, who retired from the center in 1993. "However, she wasn't one to hold hands or coddle. She helped people help themselves."

Dr. Lisansky, who lives in Mount Washington, described Dr. Floyd as a "dynamic woman who was full of energy."

Dr. Floyd, who worked long hours, was dogged in her determination to find the best possible solution for her student clients.

"She never gave up on anyone, no matter how many problems a person had. She gave them strength when they didn't have any and dramatically changed their lives. You could always count on her," said Lin Hargrove, a Towson graduate and friend for more than 30 years.

Dr. Floyd retired in 1998.

A stylishly dressed woman during the workday, Dr. Floyd was just as comfortable in a pair of old blue jeans as she worked in the rose and herb garden of Troll Run, her 5-acre Joppa farm.

She lived with her husband of 37 years, Ross F. Floyd, a retired merchant mariner who survives her, in a replica of an 18th-century Williamsburg home.

She enjoyed traveling, especially to Jackson Hole, Wyo., where the couple planned to build a second home. She also liked making homemade jellies and potpourri for family and friends.

"Not long before her death, someone asked her if she had any children. She replied with a laugh, `No, none of my own, just 10,000,'" said Ms. Hargrove of Baldwin.

She was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church, 11901 Belair Road, Kingsville, where a memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. today.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sisters, Evelyn Phillips of Charlotte, N.C., and Georgeann Carswell of Hickory, N.C.

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