Elizabeth (Betsy) Jane Franklin
Elizabeth (Betsy) Jane Franklin was born to parents Marguerite (Peg) and Paul (PA) Franklin in Waltham, Massachusetts on January 18, 1923. She arrived with big black eyes and an unmistakable smile, and was an only child. Moving to Port Washington, Long Island, the family led a peaceful life. Betsy’s father, an ocean sailor, taught Betsy how to sail. She had her own sailboat and took her first solo sail at the age of ten. She took up competitive swimming, joined St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, and had many friends.
Mount Holyoke College was Betsy’s choice and she graduated with a BA in 1943. After college she worked for IBM in New York. Meanwhile, Betsy’s college roommate Tink offered her a blind date, a West Pointer Jack Kirby, and it was “love at first sight.” They married in 1947 and served in the Air Force for seven years. Jay Kirby was born in Albuquerque, NM in 1948, and Jane Kirby was born in Houston TX in 1950.
After the Air Force, Betsy and Jack moved to Butte MT to run the Kirby family business. In Butte, Betsy gave birth to Carol Kirby in 1954 and Paul Kirby in 1956. Betsy always said she loved Butte. There she learned to ski and was one of Ruth Rotundi’s morning musicians. She was a stay-at-home mom, and she taught her children many skills learned as a child, including architecture, swimming, building, sewing, knitting, singing, painting, skating, and sailing.
In 1983, Betsy and Jack, being empty nests, moved to Missoula to be closer to their children and their cabin on Flathead Lake. There they bought a house, joined the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, and attended many U of M events, becoming true Missoulians. While she spied Fairway Drive a lot on which to build, Betsy was over the moon designing her dream home with her son Jay. This is the house Betsy lived in for the rest of her life.
In 1995 Jack Kirby passed away and Betsy began a new chapter in her life with the encouragement of Holy Spirit parishioners. One gentleman in particular, Gerald Doty, invited Betsy to many musical events. Eventually he asked her to marry him and Betsy said “Yes”. Gerry moved to Betsy’s, setting up a music studio downstairs. Soon they were traveling all over the world. Betsy threw a big party for Gerry on his 100th birthday, but sadly Gerry passed away a year later. Betsy spent the rest of her life with her family and friends, and wonderful caregivers.
Before Betsy in Heaven are her parents, Grandma and Grandpa Franklin, Moms and Dads Kirby, son Paul Kirby and husbands Jack Kirby and Gerald Doty.
Betsy is survived by her children, Jay Kirby (Kathy), Jane Micklus, Carol Shaffner (Geoff) and her stepdaughters Jeannie Kirby and Barbara Kirby: grandchildren Kristin Wilson, Justin Kirby (Lindsey), Peter Menteer (Lindsey) Amelia Regalado (Alejandro), Helen Micklus, Luke Shaffner (Erinn), Josh Shaffner, Rory Kirby, Kazia Kirby (Marcus), Kallie Anthony (Steve) and Lilly Kirby. The great grandchildren are Tanner, Jarrett, Trent & Colter Wilson, Devin Shaffner, Maeve & Cashel Menteer, Benito Regalado, Kiryn & Emery Miller, Maya Anthony and Freya Kirby. Betsy’s stepchildren are Philip Doty, Suzy Sironi (Emilio), Sylvia Kelty (Pete) and numerous stepchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
On February 28, 2022, at the age of 99, surrounded by the love of her family, her wonderful caregivers and her hospice family, Betsy regains her wings and sets sail for her heavenly home. We miss her so much.
A memorial service will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit on Monday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m. Reception will follow at 171 Fairway Drive. It can also be viewed online at: https://youtu.bel_Rht-TBgQ. Note: This is ql_Rht-TBgQ or Google Betsy Doty Memorial Service.
Published by Missoulian on March 20, 2022.