Obituaries » Betty Blanchard Organick
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September 16, 1925 - April 17, 2021
Burial Date April 23, 2021
Funeral Home Rose-Neath Shreveport Marshall St.
Betty Organick lived and thrived in Salt Lake City, Utah for thirty-five years but returned to her hometown of Shreveport fifteen years ago at the age of 81. Alzheimer’s had begun to make her world smaller, however she was still able to live independently.
One of the first things she did at her new house was to saw off the end of the driveway to make room for planting wisteria and jasmine. Making improvements in her surroundings still came easily to Betty. Her M.O., pre-YouTube, was to pick up books from specialty bookstores, learn her subject, and then go out and try it herself. Helping her sons raise pigeons, woodworking, winemaking, etc. She loved to create and to do whatever she could to make the world better.
Betty was born to Alva Guy and Mary Davidson Blanchard in Shreveport, Louisiana. Her father was a can-do business owner. Her mother had experience working in an office, and left home during Prohibition for a job with the Bureau of Alcohol & Firearms. Betty attended Creswell & A.C. Steere Elementary schools and graduated from Byrd High School in 1942. She graduated from the University of Texas, majoring in theatre, and went on to the Pasadena Playhouse for her graduate degree in directing. She returned to Shreveport in 1949 and founded a play-acting company named The Courtyard Players. After two seasons she found it necessary to part ways with her Board. They wanted a theatre where amateurs could perform; her vision was for a professional theatre company. She headed for Dallas. With her father’s technical help, she converted a building across the street from the Melrose Hotel on Oaklawn Avenue and opened again as The Courtyard Players for two more seasons. This time she retained control and hired the professionals she wanted. She directed contemporary plays such as ‘The Lady’s Not for Burning.’
One day while visiting her parents in Shreveport she drove past the United Gas Building on Fairfield Ave. She stood out to Elliott Organick, a young engineer on his lunch break, and he made it his business to find a way to meet her. He started making the drive to Dallas on the weekends to work backstage. His intelligence and playful sense of humor and her interest in the new and unusual clicked. They were married. After a few years she left the theatre world, and the couple moved to Houston in 1955 where they began a family.
Her summers as a youth at Camp Fern in East Texas were especially significant. She learned to swim in open water and guide a canoe and she developed self-confidence. She passed her love of the outdoors on to her two sons, reading hundreds of nature stories out loud. She joined the local chapter of the Sierra Club and explored many rivers-from the Cossatot in Arkansas to Village Creek in the Big Thicket to the Rio Grande- bringing her family along. Elliott understood her new passion and respected her judgment and skills. Even though his personal preference was for quieter activities (indoors) he bought a hat for sun protection and started to take on a new role.
Betty & Elliott’s path took them to Utah in 1971. She found a rich cultural and intellectual life there, and limitless terrain. Betty formed deep friendships with neighbors and church members. She was an organizer and early leader of the hiking group at the Professors Emeriti Club at the University of Utah. She was a regular church goer. She found inspiration in the sermons and comfort in the company of like-minded people. She held membership at First United Methodist Church in Shreveport, First Presbyterian in Salt Lake City, and St. Philip Presbyterian in Houston.
She was especially devoted to her younger sister, Barbara.
She leaves behind two sons, Allen (Ellen Soffer) of Shreveport, Louisiana and Joe (Karen Wohlen, MD) of Spokane, Washington; and five grandchildren.
Graveside service on Friday, April 23, 2021, 11:00 a.m. at B’nai Israel Cemetery (Kol Ami), 1021 East Fourth Avenue, Salt Lake City, to be conducted by Rabbi Sam Spector. Funeral services provided by Rose-Neath Funeral Homes.