Salem, MA — Mary Elizabeth Lee “Betty” Wilbert, age 96, wife of the late Rev. William C. Wilbert, Sr., died on Saturday, May 4, 2013, at home. She was the daughter of the late John and Mary (Pennypacker) Griffen of Pittsburgh and St, David’s, Pa. Mrs, Wilbert was an active member of the altar guilds of the Episcopal churches at which her husband served in Pittsburgh, Youngsville, and Monongahela, Pa., and in Mayville, N.Y. She was also a dedicated volunteer for the public libraries in Youngsville and Mayville. Following her husband’s death in 1980, she was the hostess and house manager at the Episcopal Cottage at the Chautauqua Institution, N.Y., for the 1983-1994 summer seasons.
She graduated from The Winchester Girls School, Pittsburgh, in 1935 after attending Highland Hall, Holidaysburg, Pa. In 1937 she was employed at Fidelity Bank and Trust Co., in Pittsburgh, when the waters of the Ohio River rose 80 feet in a great flood, and the bank was inundated. When the waters receded, she was given the task of cleaning items that had been stored in the bank’s safety deposit boxes, washing river mud off stocks, bonds, jewelry and other valuables and hanging them up to dry on lines strung across the walls of the bank’s vault. After World War II, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, she served as a civilian employee of the Ordnance Department of the U.S. Army in Honolulu and San Francisco.
In the early 1960s, as the wife of a newly ordained Episcopal priest, she was active in parish life at All Saints Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, and was a member of the ladies volunteer auxiliary at Allegheny General Hospital. In 1963, after her husband became vicar of St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, Youngsville, she worked as an office assistant for The Youngsville Courier/Warren County Guide, a weekly newspaper, and wrote a popular column of local news called “Bits of Drift”.