Elizabeth "Betty" May's Story

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Elizabeth May "Betty" (Famico) Montoni, born 1932, a lifelong resident of Salem, passed away peacefully at the Kaplan Hospice House in Danvers early Sunday morning surrounded by her family.

Born in Salem the daughter of the late Alice Foye Famico and Frank Famico, she attended the Bowditch Elementary School and graduated in 1950 from Salem High School. Betty married former Beverly Building Inspector, Richard "Chick" Montoni and is survived by five children, Richard Montoni and his wife, Andrea of Virginia, Beth Montoni and her partner, Dr. Michael D. Schrenko of Salem, MaryJane Thomas and her husband, Jon of Beverly, Robin Montoni and her husband, Ed Handrich of Bradford, Linda Clure and her husband, James of Castle Rock, Colo. and MaryJane Montoni, wife of John Frank Montoni of Gloucester. She had eight loving grandchildren, Derek Thomas and Richard Thomas, Amber Barter, Kimberly, Shane and Kayla Montoni, Kaitlyn Clure and Lucas Montoni; her sisters, Nancy Savy and her husband, Joseph, Francis Grace, Chet Famico and her special friend and brother, Donald Famico and his wife, Joann. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews and dear friends. She was predeceased by her loving son, Dr. John "Jack" Montoni of Gloucester.
Betty was a nature lover who spent her childhood summers at the Ipswich Audubon Society with her uncle, Elmer Foye and his wife, Caroline who were the estate caretakers. She had remarkable wit and a keen sense of humor. Betty was a pianist, enjoyed music, cooking, traveling, cruising, gardening and walking the Salem Willows, where she lived for many years. A master craftsperson and a single mother of six, she used her artistic talents to give craft lessons. In the 1970s, she opened a small store front, "Strange Things," in Swampscott, and then in the 1980s she moved her business to Faneuil Hall where she owned and operated many flourishing retail businesses. Her pushcart, "Clownin' Around" was an all-time favorite as well as her gift store "Celebrations." Betty later moved to Cape Cod to open the "Piping Plover" gift shop on Main Street in Chatham. She retired in the Salem Willows and continued using her creative talents and sharing her retail knowledge working at the House of Seven Gables and the Wenham Tea House gift shops. She was a longtime member of the Salem Garden Club and attended adult classes with the Explorers.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to her many friends, her neighbors and friends at the Essex and most notably, the aids that cared for her with love, kindness and humor. Kindly consider a donation in her memory to the Kaplan House, Care Dimensions that provided comforting support and care or Shriners.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend services on Thursday, September 21, 2017, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Murphy Funeral Home, 85 Federal St. (corner of North St.), Salem, MA 01970. A memorial service will be held on Friday, September 22, 2017, at the Grace Church, 385 Essex Street, Salem, MA at 10 a.m. Interment will take place after church at Greenlawn Cemetery, 57 Orne St., Salem, MA. For additional information or online guestbook, please visit www.MurphyFuneralHome.com.
Published on September 19, 2017
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