Lois Etherington Betteridge
November 6, 1928 – February 21, 2020
Died in Hospice Wellington, Guelph at the age of 91, adored by her family, innumerable friends, colleagues in the arts and metalworking communities, and all who chanced to be touched by her generosity of spirit.
Born to Dorothy and Alfred Etherington in Drummondville, Québec, Lois grew up in Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario. After a year at the Ontario College of Art, Lois graduated, BFA, from the University of Kansas in 1951, and established her own studios in Oakville and then Toronto until she began graduate studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, receiving her MFA in 1956 and moving to MacDonald Institute in Guelph. There she taught craft and design, rallied in her red MGA, and married Keith Betteridge, her husband of more than 59 years.
Lois practised and taught her craft fervently and without pause for 67 years. Her output of beautiful works, secular and liturgical, always meticulously made and often whimsical, was prodigious. It earned her national and international recognition and awards including the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in Crafts and election to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1978, the Order of Canada in 1997 and a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of North American Goldsmiths in 2010. Her work is to be found in private and public collections throughout the world, including those of two Canadian Prime Ministers, the Canadian Museum of History, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Royal Scottish Museum.
Contemporary Canadian metalwork and public awareness of the field have been greatly influenced by Lois’ generous teaching, encouragement of all who wished to learn, and fostering of collective exhibitions. She mentored a succession of individual students in her studio, presented workshops in colleges across the country and, from 1984 to 2002, taught summer courses at the Haliburton School of Fine Arts. In 2000, an exhibition of her work, along with that of seven other Canadian silversmiths whom she had influenced, was held as a tribute to Lois at the MacDonald Stewart Gallery (now the Art Gallery of Guelph) and led the gallery to found a unique collection of contemporary Canadian silver. The exhibition also resulted in the informal establishment of “The Metal Collective”: peers, students and students-of-students of Lois, who continue to exhibit together and are carrying the discipline into the future.
Beyond the silver was Lois the loving and laughing wife, mother, grandmother, house-remodeller, swimmer, wine-taster, party lover, Jack Russell devotee, aquafit enthusiast, scooterist extraordinaire and “neighbourhood matriarch”. Irreplaceable.
Lois leaves her husband Keith, son Eric (Jennifer; Miles and Lois), daughter Lise (Steve McGuffin; the late Christopher Moes; Oliver and Maxine) and cherished niece Kim Etherington-Reid who are grateful to Dr. Caspers, the LHIN palliative care team, the hospice caregivers and to friends and neighbours for their support in recent months.
Lois bequeathed her body to medical research and education. There will be no visitation but a celebration of Lois’ life will be held in The Arboretum, University of Guelph, on Saturday May 2 at 2:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to Hospice Wellington or Craft Ontario honouring Lois (direct or through www.wallcustance.com) would be appreciated.