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Elizabeth Murray Hamlin, 95, retired teacher, long active as community volunteer March 3, 1916 -- Sept. 10, 2011

Elizabeth "Betty" Murray Hamlin, a retired teacher and longtime community volunteer, died Sept. 10 after a brief illness. She was 95.

She attended School 66, receiving the Jesse Ketchum Medal for excellence in scholarship, and from Bennett High School in 1933 as class valedictorian. She received offers of admission from several prestigious out-of-town colleges, but her father had died, and the Great Depression was under way, so she attend Buffalo State Teachers College and lived at home.

She graduated in 1937 with a bachelor's degree in education and got her first job teaching grades two through four in the Medina Central School District. She continued to work as a teacher at the start of World War II and volunteered as a nurse's aide, caring for infants at St. Francis Hospital. After the U.S. entered the war, she worked in a manufacturing plant.

Mrs. Hamlin was a homemaker as her four children grew up and, after that, in 1967, she enrolled in the University at Buffalo, where in 1970 she earned her master's degree in education, with a major in remedial reading. For the next 20 years, she worked in the Williamsville School District at Country Parkway School as a respected reading specialist and teacher supervisor.

After her retirement, she and her family spent summers at their cottage on the Georgian Bay near Parry Sound, Ont. She was an active member of First Presbyterian Church, volunteered in mentoring young women at the YWCA, served on a research committee at the Theodore Roosevelt Foundation and taught people to read at the Literacy Volunteers of Buffalo and Erie County.

"My mother often said that her greatest joys were raising her children to be caring adults of integrity, and educating young people," said one of her daughters, Elizabeth H. "Betsy" Walter. "She had great strength, wisdom and an unyielding devotion to these goals, and she touched so many lives in positive ways."

Her husband of 65 years, Clay W. Jr., died in 2006.

In addition to Elizabeth, she is survived by two sons, Clay W. III and John W., and another daughter, and Amy R.

A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. Thursday in First Presbyterian Church, One Symphony Circle.

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