Beloved wife, mother, stepmother, and grandmother, Betty Joan Blomgren Adams died peacefully at Rex Hospital in Raleigh on August 27, 2013 after a brief illness. She was 82. An artist, professor and active supporter of the arts, Betty's warmth, sense of humor, joi de vivre, and talent illuminated the many lives she touched.
Betty was born August 7, 1931 in New Britain, Connecticut. Her parents were Ragnhild Margaret Anderson and Evert Axel Blomgren, both born in Sweden. Her father developed electro-mechanical devices that were used in many aerospace vehicles and projects. Betty enjoyed all things Swedish, and a Swedish flag frequently flew in her honor when she was in residence at her Cameron Park home or at her beach cottage in Emerald Isle.
Betty graduated from Berlin High School in Connecticut in 1949. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1953. She married Fred Eichenberger in 1954, and together they had five children. The family lived in Cincinnati, Ohio until moving to Raleigh in 1963 where Fred taught at the NCSU School of Design. In 1973 she earned her Masters of Arts Teaching from UNC Chapel Hill.
For a short time after graduating, Betty taught at Peace College and sold real estate. In 1973 she started teaching at St. Mary's College, which at that time was a two-year high school combined with a two-year college. She taught at St. Mary's for 19 years and retired as Chair of the Fine Arts Department and Professor Emeritus.
Betty was active in the fine arts of Raleigh and served two terms as a legislative appointee to the North Carolina Museum of Art. She also served several terms on the boards of Art Space and the Art Exchange. More recently she was instrumental in founding, and then serving on the board of, the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh (CAM). Her four terms allowed her to witness and take part in many changes and plans for the future of CAM. At the time of her death Betty was eagerly preparing for an exhibit of her paintings at the Roundabout Gallery in Raleigh. An event is being planned at the gallery in early December to celebrate her life and work.
Betty married J. Allen Adams in 1977 and added three step children to her family of five boys. She and Allen were devoted patrons of the theater, symphony, opera and ballet. In 2004, together, they were honored with the Paladin Art Achievement Award, given by the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. They loved traveling and their cottage at Emerald Isle. Betty was a gracious and indefatigable hostess who threw impromptu family brunches with the same aplomb as a black-tie dinner. Her generosity, reasonableness and kind nature immediately put people at ease.
She is survived by her loving husband, J. Allen Adams; brother, Bruce (Marideanne) Blomgren; children, Kurt (Donna Anderson) Eichenberger, Tom (Christine Murphy) Eichenberger, David (Jennifer) Eichenberger, and John (Amy Roessel) Eichenberger; step-children, Ann (Bill) Borden, Jeff (Dorota) Adams, and Spencer (Dennise) Adams; and her grandchildren, David Eichenberger, Stefan Gruber, Caroline (Luke) Hallam, Eva Gruber, James Borden, Kevin Eichenberger, Ethan Eichenberger, Erin Eichenberger, Morgan Adams, Will Eichenberger, Carmen Eichenberger, and Lauren Eichenberger; nephew, Evan; grandniece, Ava. Betty was preceded in death by her sister, Sarah Blomgren, her former husband, Fred Eichenberger, and her son, Peter Eichenberger.
A celebration of Betty's life will be held Sunday, September 1 at 2:00pm at the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, 409 W. Martin Street, Raleigh, NC 27603.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that all donations in her memory be made to the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh or Saint Mary's School, 900 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27603.
Condolences may be sent to the family at: www.brownewynne.com