Elizabeth Kirchner

Memorial Service

3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Foxdale Village
500 E. Marylyn Ave.
State College, Pennsylvania, United States

Obituary of Elizabeth P. Kirchner

Elizabeth Catherine Parsons ("Betty") Kirchner passed away peacefully on February 12th, 2024, at the age of 95. Betty was born in 1928 to Wilber and Marguerite Parsons and raised in Kenmore, New York. In 1950, she graduated from Cornell University and married fellow Cornell student Henry Kirchner.

The young couple began Ph.D studies at Penn State in 1951, settling into a log cabin above Pine Grove Mills. Betty became an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Penn State in 1965, and subsequently opened a clinical psychology practice that she maintained in State College for nearly half a century, retiring at the age of 88.

A prolific semi-professional artist in multiple media, Betty was a long-time member of the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania and a co-founder of the Farmland Preservation Artists. She was also an avid canoeist and hiker, with a particular fondness for the streams and forests of central Pennsylvania, and the lakes and mountains of the Adirondacks. With an abiding love of the natural world, she was a long-term supporter of the Nature Conservancy, the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, and the Finger Lakes Land Trust, whose Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve was named for her parents.

She traveled well and widely, both solo and with her husband and family. She also hosted visitors from around the world at her State College home, building connections across continents and generations. She was known for her creativity, her wide-ranging curiosity, her generosity of spirit and her concern for friends and strangers alike.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Henry and by their first son, who died at birth. She is survived by son Peter and daughter-in-law Christie of Putnam Valley, New York, son Robert and son-in-law Roger of Halifax, Nova Scotia, son James of Zurich, Switzerland, grandson Drew of Moraga, California, and a vast and diverse network of dear friends spanning the globe.

An informal memorial gathering will be held from 3 to 6 PM on Tuesday, February 20th, 2024 in the top floor meeting room, across from the library, at Foxdale Village, 500 E. Marylyn Ave., State College.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kirchner Family Award for Sustainability Innovation in the Eberly College of Science (SCSFY) at Penn State University.   Please send donations to:

329 Innovation Blvd, Suite 311
State College, PA 16803

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