Spitzkeit, Elizabeth Tewksbury (Mrs. James)


May 30, 1924 - January 22,1980
Elizabeth Tewksbury Spitzkeit (Betty) was born May 30,1924 in Ashtabula, Ohio and died January 22,1980, in Bogalusa, La. Her early years from 1924 to 1940 were spent in China with her missionary parents, Rev. & Mrs. M. Gardner Tewksbury. On the eve of World War II, in 1940, she returned to the United States to complete her high school education and to attend college. She was graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio in 1948. She taught school in Berlin, Conn., and in 1947 enrolled in the Biblical Seminary of New York City to study for an M.R.E. degree. In 1948 she stopped her study to work at the Institute of Far Eastern Languages at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. There she met and later married Rev. James W. Spitzkeit, a student in the Korea Department of the Institute. In June 1949 they were commissioned as missionaries of the Methodist Church. That same summer Betty joined the ESM Methodist Church in Bogalusa, La.
She served with her husband as a missionary to Korea for 29 years. During the years 1951- 57 she bore three children: Hulda Beth (Mrs. John LaBreche), Bonnie Ruth and James Walter. Her life was devoted to her family and to teaching. She taught in the Taejon Women’s College and in Korea Christian Academy, the school for foreign children .
Betty loved people and had a special sensitivity and empathy for the poor, the distressed, the lonely, the troubled, the friendless, and where others saw only the dross in a person, Betty would always point out the gold.
Betty had a deep and abiding faith in God as we know Him through Jesus Christ. She took seriously her early understanding of the purpose of life as expressed in the Westminster Catechism: “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Betty built her life on the rock-like foundation of the truth as found in Jesus Christ, so when the storm of disease raged against her, her house stood. Her last years were some of her finest. Though they were filled with severe pain and acute suffering, she did not complain. As the hymn “How Firm a Foundation” states, God promises to “sanctify our deepest distress” and He did that for Betty. God gave her power to transcend her pain and suffering and she developed during her long illness a ministry of intercession and a ministry of encouragement and comfort to others.
By the power of the Holy Spirit working in her Betty left us a legacy of how Christ forms life surrendered to Him, of how to accept cancer courageously, of how to bear pain and suffering patiently, and of how to die victoriously.
We miss her very much, but we rejoice that she is free at last from the disease, pain and suffering and is with our Lord Jesus Christ. As the poet wrote
Weep not, weep not,
She is not dead;
She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.
Heartbroken husband — weep no more;
Grief stricken son — weep no more;
Left lonesome daughter — weep no more; She’s only just gone home.
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, 1980, Pages 171-172

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