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Elizabeth W. B. “Betsey” Fountain

Elizabeth W. B. “Betsey” Fountain

LAKE RIDGE—Elizabeth Whitmarsh Bean “Betsey” Fountain passed away on March 29, 2023.

She was born April 16, 1932, in Washington, D.C., to Dorothy May Wile Bean and Louis H. Bean of Arlington, VA. A talented musician, she graduated from Washington-Lee High School in Arlington in 1950 and attended the University of Rochester (NY) where she met her future husband at a freshman mixer.

She pursued her musical interests with piano classes at The Eastman School of Music while studying for an academic degree at the University, graduating early with a B.A. in English (1954). She and Ensign Robert Roy Fountain Jr. of High Point, N.C., were married in a beautiful ceremony in the garden of her parents’ Arlington home on June 4, 1955, the day after his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy.

They then commenced a peripatetic Navy life from coast to coast for 30 years, including 21 years of almost continuous sea duty. While in Virginia Beach, with her four children in school and her husband at sea, she earned a B.S. in music (piano performance) from Old Dominion University.

Betsey was a warm and generous hostess, a talented musician and a loving wife, mother and grandmother. She was an occasional piano teacher, volunteer hostess at the State Department, church organist and choir member and skilled piano accompanist. A highlight was an impromptu performance as a vocal soloist at the Royal Festival Hall in London during a concert by her sister-in-law, celebrated harpist Marisa Robles.

She was a longtime member of the Arlington Metropolitan Chorus, touring with the group in Russia, Italy, Spain, Australia (the Sydney Opera House) and New Zealand. For years, she sang with the Berkshire Choral Festival in western Massachusetts, Canterbury, Salzburg and Dublin. She was a performing member of the Friday Morning Music Club, a longtime chairman of the International People-to-People Program of the national Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity, an early board member of the Virginia Opera Company and a president of the Naval Officers Wives Club in Washington.

Following her husband’s retirement from the Navy and private industry, the Fountains retired to their waterfront farm “Stillwater” in Westmoreland County, where Betsey continued her musical endeavors as sometime organist and choir member at St James Episcopal Church.

She also served as a vice president and longtime board member of the Rappahannock Concert Association and member and president of the Northern Neck Music Study Group.

She is remembered by all as the gracious hostess of visiting concert artists, friends from around the world, local and Navy friends and classmates, and family to whom her door was always open. Many will remember her Christmas Musicales at which 40 or more friends and family would gather for dinner and a live program of classical music, followed by carols around her piano.

Betsey is survived by her husband of nearly 68 years, RADM Robert R. Fountain USN (Ret), now of Lake Ridge near Occoquan; their children, Robert B. Fountain (Sandy) of Fairfax, Dorothy B. Fountain (Robert Erickson) of Alexandria, Sally F. F. Broomfield (John) of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Edwin L. Fountain of Arlington; and six grandchildren, Kathleen W. F. Flanagan (Jack, CPT USMC), CPT Robert J. (Jamie) Fountain, USMC, Nicholas A. Broomfield, K. Brinley (Arin) Broomfield, Charles C. W. Broomfield and Eleanor M. Fountain.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. May 13 at the Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home in Alexandria. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity or the Rappahannock Concert Association.

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staff
From the Rappahannock Record news team
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