Seattle, WA

Elizabeth “Betty” Nicholson died peacefully from cancer January 19. 

Throughout her life, Nicholson served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and communities across the country, from New York City to Lubbock, Texas, to Juneau, Alaska. She was a fourth-generation Presbyterian leader. 

Born in China to missionary parents and educated at the College of Wooster, Nicholson began her professional life as a director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Little Falls, New York. After a brief stint there, she became an editor for the Board of Foreign Missions at the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA) offices in New York City, where she met her husband, the Rev. Dr. Robert D. Nicholson. 

Among many other services to her church, Nicholson helped form the Palo Duro Union Presbytery that brought together 65 congregations of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) and the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (UPCUSA) before the two denominations merged. 

Nicholson served the national church also as a founder of the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Network, leader of training conferences at Montreat and Mo Ranch, member of Seattle Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry and moderator of its Permanent Judicial Commission, and member of the Synod of Alaska-Northwest’s Permanent Judicial Commission. 

A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 7, at 2:00 p.m. at Lake City Presbyterian Church in Seattle, with a graveside service at 3:00 p.m. the following day at Woodlawn Cemetery in Snohomish, Wash. 

Donations to the Betty Nicholson Memorial Fund, which will be shared between Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Heifer International, can be made at any Wells Fargo branch.