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Betty Williams Eslick, women’s rights activist

Feb. 29, 1924 – March 8, 2016

Betty Williams Eslick, a champion of women’s rights and a longtime community activist for liberal causes, died Tuesday in Erie County Medical Center after suffering a fall in her Buffalo home. She was 92.

Born in Evanston, Ill., she moved with her family to Buffalo when she was 5 years old. She graduated from Buffalo Seminary and Skidmore College.

While an art major at Skidmore, she was a life model for sculptor David Smith. After college, Ms. Williams became a runway model, a career she continued intermittently over the years. She was known for her shocking-pink lipstick and her statement necklaces.

In 1946, she married David H. Eslick of Buffalo. They remained married until his death in 2003.

The couple was drawn to their first house on Highland Avenue, which was the childhood home of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. They owned the home and lived there for more than 50 years.

Mrs. Eslick, a lifelong resident of the Delaware District, was known for her friendliness and vibrant personality.

A longtime community activist, she also volunteered for many organizations, including Women & Children’s Hospital, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Planned Parenthood and several local political campaigns.

She was a founding member of the Coalition for Action, Unity and Social Equality (CAUSE), inspired by the work of Saul Alinsky of Chicago.

She also headed the volunteer staff for the campaign of William B. Hoyt for the Buffalo Common Council Delaware District, and later was an active volunteer for his Assembly campaign. In addition, she was a campaign volunteer for Edward Regan for Erie County executive.

Mrs. Eslick was the professional manager of the 1973 and 1975 re-election campaigns of Susan Lubick for Erie County legislator. She then served as executive assistant to Lubick in the Legislature.

In addition, she also was a volunteer and served on the board of Planned Parenthood.

A respected docent at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for more than 25 years, she also was a volunteer in the gallery’s shop for 12 years. She also served as a docent at the Darwin D. Martin House for several years.

She was an avid reader, gourmet cook, gardener, seamstress and lover of the arts.

Survivors include three daughters, Casey, Nancy and Susan Eslick; and a sister, Carol Williams Sharp.

There will be no services. Mrs. Eslick donated her body to the University at Buffalo’s Anatomical Gift Program.