Elizabeth Liscomb



OBIT-LiscombBAR HARBOR — Elizabeth “Betty” Liscomb, a businesswoman and homemaker with a sunny disposition and killer smile, died of ovarian cancer at age 60, Feb. 27, 2016, at her home in Bar Harbor.

Betty was born in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 27, 1956, the daughter of John and Barbara Pobuk. The family soon moved to Gardiner, Mass., where Betty spent the rest of her childhood, graduating from the local high school and attending an area community college for two years. Her academic life ended when she married hometown boy and fellow Polish American Mark Kowlzaw, an engineer who specialized in the paper industry.

Their early life together was spent traveling from one small mill town to the next throughout the country. The last stop before her husband rose through the management ranks to earn a corporate position in Chicago was in Yarmouth.

Having spent most of her life in small towns, Betty, who enjoyed flower gardening and being an active member of a community, found that life in that big windy city did not suit her at all. She dug her heels in at their home in Yarmouth, where Mark would join her when possible.

Betty kept herself well occupied with renovating their shorefront home, tending her gardens, and as a director of Beauty Control, a home marketing cosmetic business. Many of her clients recall the self-confidence she instilled in them, by helping them look their best and feel good about themselves.

“I have never met another woman quite like Betty,” recalls an old friend, Dee Turcotte. “She was an inspiration, a joy to be around, that burst of sunshine to help get you through your darkest days. She was there for me when I needed that feeling of belonging, and a reason to believe in myself.”

While the friendship with Mark survived the long distance between them, the marriage did not and they divorced in 2003.

By this time Betty was already falling in love with a Mount Desert Island native named Peter Liscomb, an electrician who was living in nearby Durham. Peter had been widowed the year before when his 36-year-old wife Hilary died after a long struggle with brain cancer.

Perhaps it was a mutual loneliness that first attracted the two to one another, or perhaps it was because they were both such attractive people — she petite and blonde, he tall and dark — but in the course of a two-year courtship they found they were well suited in all ways that mattered.

They married in July 2005 in Northeast Harbor, settling for a while in Peter’s home in Durham.

After years of living primarily alone, Betty liked having someone who came home every night after work and who enjoyed sharing his day with her.

“No matter what kind of a day she had, whenever I walked through the door she would greet me with her beautiful smile,” Peter says. “If she had some bad news or a complaint to air she waited until we’d had a good dinner and some good conversation before mentioning it. I’ve been a husband twice and that just meant the world to me.”

Four years ago, when Peter’s mother was no longer able to manage on her own and moved into Birch Bay Village, the couple bought the Liscomb family homestead in Bar Harbor and moved to MDI.

Betty immediately set about renovating the home, having trees cut to let in the light and walls removed to open the spaces. Then she filled those spaces with carefully selected furniture, rugs and art creating a cozy, New England cottage ambience.

Betty also joined the Bar Harbor Congregational Church making friends there and throughout the community as well as maintaining old friendships formed in the many small towns her life had touched. She was also a talented Sunday painter and when she had time she enjoyed painting scenes of the places she loved. Politics was an abiding interest as well and she was an active member of the Republican Party.

Soon after their home here was completed, Betty was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Throughout this past year she fought valiantly to conquer the devastating disease and stay in the life and with the man she loved.

When Peter married Betty, he made her promise she would outlive him. He says it was the only promise she broke in their 10 years together.

In addition to her husband and their devoted yellow Lab Maggie, Betty is survived by her parents; two brothers Jack and Tim Pobuk, and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Betty’s life will be held, 11 a.m., Friday, March 11, 2016, at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church UCC, 29 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor, with the Rev. Rob Benson officiating. Friends who wish my donate in Betty’s memory to the MDI Hospital auxiliary, care of Brenda Sprague, 8 Wyman Lane Bar Harbor, ME 04609.

Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert.

Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.

 

Know when to pay your respects.