RI Treasurer Elizabeth S. Demaray dies
RI Treasurer Elizabeth S. Demaray
RI Treasurer Elizabeth S. Demaray of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, USA, died 25 January.
Demaray joined the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie in 1988 and twice served as its president. Her husband, Ken, is a past president of the Rotary Club of Chippewa County (Sault Ste. Marie) Sunrise and a past assistant governor.
Elizabeth Demaray’s appointment to the position of RI treasurer for 2012-13 by President Sakuji Tanaka made her the first woman to serve in this position. In addition to serving as an RI director, she held posts as district governor, committee and task force member, regional RI membership coordinator, and training leader. On the RI Board, she served on the Executive Committee, Joint Committee, and Programs Committee.
“Betsy has served Rotary in many ways through the years and was a dedicated Rotarian and strong leader,” says Tanaka. “I shall miss her counsel and friendship very much, as will all the directors who have worked with her so closely. She and her husband inspired us all with their courage and determination in dealing with the health challenges of this past year.”
A commercial real estate broker, Demaray owned several businesses with her husband, including an appraisal firm, an accounting firm, a sporting goods store, and a fitness studio. She served as president of the local Board of Realtors and of United Way in her community and was a trustee of the Lake Superior State University Foundation and War Memorial Hospital. She was also director of her church’s hand bell choir. In the 1980s, she was named one of the top five female entrepreneurs in Michigan.
Demaray was a Benefactor of The Rotary Foundation and a Bequest Society member with her husband. They hosted six exchange students and took part in a discovery grant mission to Jamaica.
“Betsy was at her best when she used stories to tell the Rotary story. She cherished the Family of Rotary at all levels,” says Kathy Hegedus, administrative assistant for District 6290, which includes Sault Ste. Marie and other parts of Michigan. “She was connected to her fellow Rotarians and they felt closely connected to her. She embraced all. She was a wonderful mentor.”
Pat Merryweather, governor of District 6450 (Illinois), part of the zone Demaray represented on the RI Board, remembers that Demaray was unable to attend a multidistrict presidents-elect training session last year because she was undergoing cancer treatment. Demaray videotaped her message and also surprised the attendees by joining the meeting via Skype.
“She talked about the fellowship of Rotary and how the support of others had sustained her,” Merryweather says. “She remarked about how wonderful it was to be with like-minded people that place Service Above Self, live and work by the Four-Way Test, and can always be counted on. We have continued to be inspired by Betsy’s words and the example she set for all of us.”
"Betsy was always ahead of her time. She seemed to find a way to do more than was expected of her, in her career, in her church, in Rotary, and for her community,” said Tom Ewing, a member of the Sault Ste. Marie club and longtime friend. “The way she lived her life, and the way she carried on despite her illness at the end of her life, are a lasting inspiration to all who knew her.”
Demaray is survived by her husband; their two children, Eric and Tina; and four grandchildren. Visitation will take place Sunday, 3 February, 15:00-20:00, and Monday, 4 February, 11:00-14:00, at the Central United Methodist Church in Sault Ste. Marie. Funeral services will be held there 4 February at 14:00.