Obituary, Elizabeth “Betsy” Ward Scholze

Elizabeth (Betsy) Ward Scholze of Sherman, CT passed away peacefully at Danbury Hospital with family and friends by her side on August 10, 2022. Born April 23, 1934, in Sherman, CT to parents Marianne Evans Ward and Stetson Ward, Betsy lived most of her life in Sherman where she raised her family and served the town in many capacities. She believed in civic participation and supporting all the arts—it was what motivated her for her entire life. Betsy was a member of the Sherman Historic District Commission from its inception in 1975, served on the Building Committee for Mallory Town Hall, and served as President of the Mauweehoo Club for 3 terms.
Betsy’s longest and most remarkable contribution, however, was to The Sherman Players which was started by her grandparents in the early 1920s. A lifelong involvement, she would make wonderful lasting friendships there and meet her second husband and great love, Fred Scholze. She and Fred had many happy times working as a team, he as director and she as set designer on many productions over 2 decades. Her children shared her love of the Playhouse, participated in plays, worked backstage and did publicity. Betsy became the first woman president of the Sherman Players in 1973, and served on 3 separate occasions. During those years, in addition to overseeing theater productions, she ran various musical concerts at the Playhouse and helped launch the Sherman Chamber Ensemble—keeping their books and organizing their concerts. She also organized the very popular and well-attended Theater Bus Trips to New York City to see Broadway shows which brought so much joy and excitement to so many participants. Betsy joined the Players Board of Directors in 1965 and remained on the Board until her death. She ran the box office for years; she became Treasurer in 1983 and served in that role for over 30 years. The Sherman Players honored Betsy with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021. Betsy also enjoyed acting in several productions over the years—her favorite roles were Abby Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace and Miss Skillon in See How They Run. Betsy’s first passion, however, was set painting and she painted well over 100 sets throughout the years.
Betsy began her study of art at age 13 with acclaimed local artist Waldemar Neufeld, who she remembered as a wonderful teacher who taught her drawing, perspective and various media—watercolors became her favorite, and many of them were displayed in art shows and in her home. Betsy studied Art/Art History and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois in 1955 where she met and married her first husband, Art Professor Stuart Hodge.
Besides her love of theater and painting, Betsy loved and excelled at the game of golf which was introduced to her by Fred Scholze in the 1960s. A natural athlete and years of dedicated play would ultimately earn her 21 club championship titles—4 at Lake Waramaug Country Club in New Preston, CT and 17 at Quaker Hill Country Club (QHCC) in Pawling, NY. QHCC honored her recently by naming the Women’s Club Championship Tournament after her and giving her an honorary membership. Over several decades, QHCC was where Betsy had spent so much of her time, developed so many cherished friendships, served as Women’s Golf Chair, played on the women’s inter-club team, participated in scrambles and various club events, served on the new-member committee, and most recently played in the senior men’s group. She was overwhelmed with gratitude by this honor.
When Betsy’s second marriage ended in her mid-50s, Betsy began a 30-year career in office administration at Danbury Hospital, retiring at age 82. She became especially good at dealing with insurance companies and helping patients the best she could. She made wonderful friendships in her time at Primary Care, and was famous for writing amusing alternate-rhyme poems for co-workers on special occasions.
Most recently, Betsy contributed to a book about early influencers, artists and writers in Sherman during the first half of the 20th century called, Reflections, available at the Sherman Historical Society soon. Betsy offered interesting stories about her grandmother Alice Evans, her mother Marianne, and herself.
Betsy was predeceased by her first-born son Joel Evans Hodge and her 2 former husbands Stuart Hodge and Fred Scholze. She is survived by her loving family—daughter Phoebe Hodge Farmer and her husband Dave Farmer, son Rex Hodge and his wife Debra, son William (Fritz) Scholze, her grandchildren Jackson and Alex Scholze, her sister Tippy Makepeace and her husband Denny, and their daughters Megan and Susan. She will be remembered by her family for her love of life, strength of character, generosity and kindness. A memorial will be held at the Sherman Playhouse on Saturday, September 10 at 2:00pm. In lieu of flowers, donations in Betsy’s memory can be made to The Sherman Players, P.O. Box 471, Sherman, CT 06784.

Author: Harlem Valley News