Elizabeth Oot Blackwood

Elizabeth “Bette” (Dawson) Oot Blackwood died on Nov. 5, 2021, in Norwood, Mass., surrounded by her children, as she would have wished and commanded. “Joy, joy, joy” and “welcome in” were the two phrases many would know her by, as she invariably chose happiness over sorrow and never knew a stranger.

Bette was blessed to have two great loves in her life — her first husband, Albert Powell (“Pete”) Oot Jr., and her second husband, Terence Robinson (“Terry”) Blackwood. Both loved her back with humbling devotion while she led them on a merry and joyous dance through life. Pete predeceased Bette in 1976 and Terry predeceased her in 2017, two terrible blows to a formidable woman.

Bette taught her five children to do all the things she loved: to ski, play tennis and golf, be outdoors regardless of the weather, and to love their children and each other with passion and ferocity. She did not teach them to play bridge, however, as she could not bear to play with amateurs. She pursued this avocation, as she did with all aspects of her life, with a level of intensity and mastery that shamed the rest of her family.

Born in Syracuse, N.Y., on May 27, 1928, Bette was the third of four beautiful daughters born to Bernard and Veronica Dawson. She attended Nottingham High School, where she met the first love of her life, Pete Oot. They married in 1950 after Bette’s graduation from Vassar College and spent most of their 26 loving years together in Westminster, Vt., where they raised their five children. They loved skiing, playing golf, tennis and bridge, and sailing in the Caribbean with family and friends. Under Bette’s edict, the door of the “Oot House” in Westminster was always open, and the table sagged with food for a full house, including a notorious beef stew and an invariable leg of lamb, both served with a generous offering of Gallo’s Hearty Burgundy Wine.

Following her husband’s death in 1976, Bette married her second love, Terry Blackwood, in June of 1978. They resided in West Hartford, Conn., for eight years before moving to the Blackwood family farm in Centreville, Md., on the state’s eastern shore. In their 38 years together, he broadened her horizons with flying lessons, Caribbean and Chesapeake sails, European travel, and a host of other adventures, farming not the least of them. He danced her off her feet and sang her many an Irish tune, all while teaching her children and his that second loves can be the most romantic and sustaining of loves. Terry and Bette retired to Centreville, spending their winters at the Ocean Club and Indian River Plantation in Stuart, Fla., before returning to New England in 2005 to be closer to their children and friends. They resided at Duncaster in Bloomfield, Conn., until Terry’s death in 2017.

Bette cherished the many friends, fellow athletes, sailors and bridge players she met at the clubs to which she belonged, including the Hooper Golf Club, Brattleboro Tennis Club, the Hartford Club, Hartford Town and Country Club, Talbot Country Club, The Tred Avon Club, Chester River Yacht and Country Club, and Stuart Yacht and Country Club. She was also a member of the Hartford Symphony Auxiliary and a devoted lover of classical music, which brought her great joy throughout her entire life.

Bette is survived by her five children: Martha Van Oot of Orleans, Mass.; Christopher Oot and his wife, Sara, of Spofford; Peter Dawson Van Oot and his wife, Alice, of Orleans, Mass.; Laura Oot-Sheridan and her husband of Marshfield, Mass.; and Betsy Van Oot of Norwood, Mass. She is also survived by her 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren; her sister, Mary Veronica (“Ronnie”) Rudolph, of Portland, Ore.; and her sisters-in-law, Miriam Oot Shields of Geneva, N.Y., and Sarah Loftis Oot of Cleveland, Tenn. Her sisters, Barbara Dyke of Syracuse, N.Y., and Alyce Hunt of Minneapolis, Minn., predeceased her. Bette also had four stepchildren: Elizabeth Stafford of Exeter; J. Temple Blackwood of Castine, Maine; Kathleen Hayward of Brooksville, Maine; and Gertrude White Glastonbury, Conn., 10 step-grandchildren and five step-great-grandchildren.

A celebration of Elizabeth Blackwood’s life will be held at the convenience of the family in Westminster, Vt., and Walpole. Contributions in her memory may be made to CARE World Wide Relief Fund for Children, 151 Ellis St. NE, Atlanta GA 30303-2439; and/or to Care Dimensions at www.caredimensions.org.

Visit the online guestbook at www.gfdoherty.com. Arrangements are being handled by George F. Doherty and Sons Funeral Home, Dedham, Mass.