February 20, 1924 – August 2, 2019
Elizabeth Runyan Steiner Hoenig - child of the Great Depression, high school valedictorian, fervent opera lover, diehard New York Giants fan, devoted wife, loving mother, proud Grandma, Nanny and Oma - died peacefully in her sleep at her Crane's Mill home in West Caldwell, NJ, on Aug. 2, 2019.
Betty, as she was affectionately known to her many friends and family, was predeceased in 2017 by her beloved husband of 67 years, Egon. As Wesley Lovely, her 3-year old great-grandson so wisely said when his mother told him the news, "Well Mama, that means she's with Opa again, right?" Yes, Wes, that's right.
She was undoubtedly at peace with the world because she had returned less than a week earlier from her annual two-week vacation with her family in Ocean Park, Maine, a special place where she had been vacationing her entire life and a legacy which is now being shared by the fifth generation of her family. Betty grew up in East Orange, N.J., and was the valedictorian of the East Orange High School class of 1942. Her father, an electrical engineer, and mother, whose Parsons family ties reached back to the mid-1660s, raised Betty and her older sister, Peggy, during the depths of the Great Depression. They placed a high value on education, and, after graduation, Betty attended Middlebury College in Vermont during the war years and graduated in 1946. Upon graduation, she began work at the Bell Telephone Company in East Orange and resumed attending Calvary Methodist Church, which was where, in 1947, she met the love of her life and future husband during a meeting of the church's young adults' group.
Betty and Egon were married on Oct. 8, 1949. They moved into an apartment in East Orange, but less than a year later purchased a new home on Wellington Road in Livingston, N.J., where they raised their family and lived for over 60 years.
Although she did not serve in the Armed Forces during World War II, Betty and others like her truly were members of the "Greatest Generation." When the war ended, she, along with thousands of women, quietly, passionately and confidently began raising families, working and contributing to society in countless, unsung ways. Betty was a stay-at-home mom for her two young children, Don and Nancy, and she was the best mother that any child could ever hope for - loving, caring, nurturing, gentle, kind, steady, reliable, and always there - a shining role model. She attended all of her kids' athletic contests or school events, baked cookies and cupcakes for every school bake sale, served on the PTA, chaperoned school field trips, and along with her dear friend, Jewel Schmidt, was a Cub Scout and Brownie Scout leader.
Once grandchildren began arriving, she and Egon continued to be a huge presence in their lives as well. They attended every significant event along the way, even when it meant traveling for hours in a car or on a plane.
When her children were a bit older, she reentered the work force, initially serving as a cashier in the Livingston schools' cafeterias and then taking a position for the Township of Livingston, where she was finally able to display her mathematical brilliance as supervisor of accounts for the town. Upon retirement, she and Egon embarked on a new adventure during which they enjoyed spending more time with their grandchildren in NJ, Texas, and Maine, and traveling the globe together or with friends, living life to the fullest.
Her friends and family loved that Betty had many interests and that she was always in tune with what was going on in their lives. She was an avid reader, a music lover with a wide variety of tastes (she enjoyed watching Springsteen on Broadway with her family last Christmas), an outstanding cook, an impressive beach Boggle player, and a crossword aficionado. Most of all, however, Betty was a passionate opera devotee. For many years, she held season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera, which she attended on weekends with one of her close friends, Betty Gerber, or Egon, taking the bus from Livingston to Port Authority and then an uptown bus to Lincoln Center. She did this well into her 80s and ultimately made opera lovers of her children and their spouses, thus ensuring an opera legacy in her family.
Betty was a longtime member of the Livingston United Methodist Church, where she served on numerous committees and continued her commitment to her deep religious faith and to service. After retirement, Betty wanted to find a way to give back to her community, so she became a regular volunteer at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey for many years, where she received special recognition in 2013 for her service.
Since moving to Crane's Mill in 2010, Betty transitioned smoothly into a new lifestyle, making countless new friends, attending the many enrichment programs and joining the Crane's Mill chorus. Her cheerful smile, outgoing demeanor and keen intellect will be missed by all.
Betty is survived by her two children and their spouses: Donald and Lynn Hoenig of Belfast, Maine, and Nancy and Fred Van Tine of Sugar Land, Texas; nieces, Helen and Pat Brandt; five grandchildren: Scott (Jennifer) Hoenig; Leigh (Lewis) Alberti; Sarah (Greg) Lovely; Kelly (Justin) Nelson; and Justin (Jen) Van Tine; and 12 great-grandchildren. Betty was predeceased by her husband, Egon; her parents, Clarence and Helen Steiner; her sister, Margaret Brandt, and her great-granddaughter, Rae Elizabeth Hoenig. Four of her great- grandchildren are her namesakes, a true testament to her impact on us all.
Visitation will take place at Quinn Hopping Funeral Home, 145 E. Mount Pleasant Ave., Livingston, N.J., on Friday, Aug. 16, from 3 to 7 p.m. Family and friends will celebrate Betty's life at the Livingston United Methodist Church at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17. A reception will be held at Crane's Mill on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 17, at 2:30 p. m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Livingston Methodist Church or to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.
- Visitation Friday, August 16, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, August 17, 2019
- Interment Saturday, August 17, 2019
have a memory or condolence to add?ADD A MEMORY