Bettina Dudley

obit-dudley-ea-islBAR HARBOR – Bettina Dudley was born Elizabeth Norris Corning on June 17, 1938, in Albany, N.Y., to Erastus Corning II and Elizabeth Platt Corning. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English literature at Cornell University, she married fellow student Theodore (Ted) Robert Dudley and moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, for four years, and then relocated to Boston and ultimately to Maryland in 1966. She had one son, Theodore Robert Jr., in Scotland and another, Erastus Christopher (Topher) in Boston.

While raising her family, she worked part time at the University of Maryland and also pursued graduate studies, earning an M.S. in botany and a Ph.D. in science education. For many summers, she taught at the Children’s School of Science in Woods Hole, the history of which was the topic of her doctoral dissertation. Later, she worked in environmental consulting and also as an assistant to her college friend Janet Reno at the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 1994, she moved permanently to Mount Desert Island where she lived for 22 years, volunteering with Hospice, the Whole Health Center, the College of the Atlantic and other community organizations. These were the happiest years of her life, as she was regularly able to write poetry, teach writing, meditate daily in her Buddhist practice, spend time at her camp on Webbs Pond, go bird-watching (including trips to Borneo and the Peruvian Amazon), and grow ever more tranquil. Bettina died peacefully at her home in September.

She is survived by her older son Robert, his wife, June Han Dudley, their daughter Victoria Han and soon-to-be born son Edward Schoodic (all of Kensington, Calif.), and by her younger son Topher, his wife, Mary Fleming Dudley, and their children Christopher Erastus, Elizabeth Anne, Mary Olivia, and Joshua Nathaniel (all of Montgomery, Ala.). Bettina’s surviving family members also include her brother Erastus Corning III of Charleston, S.C., her niece Amy Corning and her two children Maximilian and Alexander Broening (all of Richmond, Va.), and her nephew Jonathan Corning of Washington D.C.

Bettina was a loving mother and grandmother, a biologist, an author, and a poet. She participated fully in life in this world, life in nature, life of the mind, and life of the spirit. We, her family and friends, were blessed to love and be loved by her, and miss her immensely.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Birdsacre-Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary ( in Ellsworth, in honor of Bettina’s love of birds, passion for conservation, and commitment to local community.

A gathering and celebration of her life will be held at the Northeast Harbor Library at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6.

A family memorial at Webbs Pond is planned for July 2017.

Know when to pay your respects.