Elizabeth Glascock, 78, traveler and volunteer

July 24, 2005|By Stephanie Desmon | Stephanie Desmon,SUN STAFF

Elizabeth "Betty" Brewster White Glascock, an adventurous woman who traveled to six continents more than once but considered Maryland home, died of pulmonary failure Wednesday at her house in Atherton, Calif. She was 78.

She was born in Paris to Nancy Brewster White and Francis White, a career diplomat whose posts included undersecretary of state for Latin America and U.S. ambassador to Mexico and Sweden.

The family lived in New York and Washington for much of Mrs. Glascock's childhood. She spent summers in Narragansett Bay, R.I., and spent time with family in Maryland. She graduated from the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Va., in 1945.

Upon graduation, she moved with her parents to Spain, which became her base of operations for exploring Europe. When President Dwight D. Eisenhower named her father U.S. ambassador to Mexico in 1953, she joined her parents. There she met George Graham Glascock, an attorney in Mexico born to American parents. They married in 1956.

While in Mexico, Mrs. Glascock had four sons and spent time turning the Junior League of Mexico, which was a social club at the time, into a philanthropic organization. She became president of the group in the 1960s and under her leadership the league opened the first school for the blind there.

In Mexico, she also developed an interest in history and archaeology, especially from the pre-Colombian period.

In 1975, after she and her husband divorced, Mrs. Glascock moved to Baltimore and lived on North Charles Street. She later purchased a farm outside Hampstead, attracted to the farm country by her love of riding. She also owned a 64-acre farm nearby on which she had an 18th-century log cabin moved piece-by-piece from Pennsylvania in the late 1980s and then restored. Later, she arranged for a group of Amish men - and a woman, to cook meals - to be brought from Pennsylvania to a home she owned in Santa Fe, N.M., where they constructed a traditional Amish barn, said her son Miles Brewster Glascock of Coral Gables, Fla.

"My mom, as you can tell, [was] into preservation," Mr. Glascock said. She tried "to preserve the history of the area," he said.

Mrs. Glascock, a descendant of Johns Hopkins, volunteered at the pediatric urology clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital for 15 years. She was a former member of the board of directors for the Maryland School for the Deaf. She served on the board of directors of Holderness School in Plymouth, N.H., for eight years. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Colonial Dames of America.

Her paternal grandmother, Virginia White, raised funds to preserve Baltimore's Shot Tower and the historic Hammond-Harwood House in Annapolis. Some of the early-American furniture and a Maryland-made silver tea set on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art were donated by Mrs. White. Mrs. Glascock's maternal grandparents were among the founders of the Greenspring Valley Hunt Club.

Mrs. Glascock loved to travel, her son said. The only continent she missed was Asia, journeying twice to Antarctica. Her third trip there was planned for 2004 but she fell ill and instead donated it to the Johns Hopkins University. Two scientists made the trip, Mr. Glascock said.

Among her son's favorite memories were the car trips they would take, usually with a German shepherd and a few friends along for the ride. In 1970, she loaded up eight kids ranging in age from 6 to 18 - including her four sons - into her station wagon and spent five weeks driving through southern Mexico, which at the time meant traversing mostly dirt roads and river beds.

A family service was held last week. A life celebration will be held at the Elkridge Club in Baltimore in the coming weeks.

In addition to her son, she is survived by three other sons, George Francis Glascock of Atherton, Calif., Bonsal Hays Glascock of Paradise Valley, Ariz., John Walker Glascock of Town and Country, Mo.; and 12 grandchildren.

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