Elizabeth Phelps

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Obituary

Elizabeth “Betty” Wood (Casillo) Phelps, 95, passed away peacefully on April 17, 2017. Although born in Littleton, NH, on August 30, 1921, to the late Milo and Alice (Richardson) Wood, Betty grew up and was educated in Albany, NY. She later attended Sargent College of Boston University, leaving to pursue a career in music as a singer.

As a young girl, Betty was trained as a dancer in both ballet and tap and sang in many musical venues. She was especially proud of having performed with a young Sammy Davis, Jr. and his uncle, and with Ina Ray Hutton, one of the few female big band leaders of the 30’s and 40’s at the Palace Theater in Albany. Additionally, she won a singing contest to sing with Harry James and his big band. Being a young woman in the 40’s and having a strict father, however, made it difficult for her to pursue this dream. In recent years, Betty disclosed that she performed under the name Valerie Pierson, a fact unknown to her children at the time.

Before moving to Myrtle Beach, SC, Betty spent a good part of her life in Rome, NY, working at Griffiss AFB, later moving to Nashua, NH, and Tachikawa, Japan. To many in Myrtle Beach she was known and well-loved as “Miss Betty”, accompanying her daughter Lisa and son-in-law Dan O’Reilly to Travinia’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar at Market Common on Friday nights to listen to their band, U-N-I. Miss Betty had her own special place on the leather couch where she held court. She will be remembered as a woman of great beauty, grace and talent. Her kindness and her sense of humor, however were like a magnet that drew adults and children to her. She loved a great prank and continued to don a creative and hilarious costume each Halloween. She loved leading a conga line with her walker at Travinia’s only to evoke peals of laughter from the crowd and customers. Betty was our “Sunshine” and we will miss her tremendously.

Betty was predeceased by her husband, Herb Phelps, her former husband, Joseph Casillo and her siblings Beverly Ames and Milo Wood. She is survived by her sister Gaile Van Wie (husband Chuck) and many nieces and nephews as well as her children, Sandra Voveris, Jo-Ann Zall (husband Jeffrey), Joseph Casillo (wife Marlene), daughter, Lisa O’Reilly (husband Dan) with whom she lived, and her stepdaughter, Kathryn Young. She is also survived by her grandchildren Joseph Voveris (wife Mia), Allison Burnette (husband Brian), Michael Voveris (Fiancée Emely), Jessica Zall, Sarah Zall, Hannah Casillo, Chelsea Casillo and her great-grandchildren Jonah and Evan Voveris, Kobe, Brianna and Jaxen Burnette, Isabella, Olivia, Mason and Roman Voveris, and Adora and Cade Casillo who will all miss their “G.G.” very much.

The family will receive friends at one hour prior to the service at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Garden City with a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. The inurnment will take place at the Columbarium immediately following.

To view these details online, visit, www.burroughsfh.com

Burroughs Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting the family.