Elizabeth "Betty" Billipp Lathrop

September 2, 1924 ~ March 3, 2024 (age 99) 99 Years Old

Elizabeth "Betty" Billipp Lathrop Obituary

Elizabeth Billipp Lathrop, known to her friends as Betty, died peacefully on March 3 at RiverMead in Peterborough, NH. Surrounded by loving family in her last days, Betty embarked on her voyage to the next world with signature optimism, courage, and grace. No one who knew her will soon forget Betty's kindness, her generosity of spirit, or her beautiful smile. Nor will we forget the fiercely competitive nature she showed on the tennis court and Scrabble board! Betty is undoubtedly sitting at Heaven’s Scrabble table even now, dropping a game-winning seven letter word on some unsuspecting angel.

Betty was born September 2, 1924 in Mt. Holly, NJ, daughter of Gilbert Reed and Elizabeth Davis Whitesell. She attended Mamaroneck High School in Mamaroneck, NY and Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA.

In 1944, at the age of 19, Betty married Lieutenant (j.g.) Gordon K. Billipp, U.S. Navy in Boston, MA, where his ship was being commissioned. After the war, Mr. Billipp joined Armstrong Cork Company in Lancaster, PA, and moved all around the country with his wife and four sons over the following 24 years.

In December of 1969 the Billipps moved to Peterborough and bought the Wilton Pressed Metals Company. They later moved to Jaffrey, where they lived for 33 years before entering RiverMead.

After a loving marriage of 65 years, Gordon “Bill” Billipp died in 2009 following a long illness. Two years later Betty married an old friend, Francis O. Lathrop of New Hampton, NH, creating a family of seven children and their spouses, 20 grandchildren, and 33 great-grandchildren. Later Mrs. Lathrop said, “We all got along like a house afire, right from the start.”

Betty was a member of the sales staff at the Peterson’s Real Estate firm for 14 years, and authored a book of light verse, Please Pass the Salt, which has recently been reissued in paperback. She served on several boards, including the Monadnock Community Early Learning Center, which was especially important to her, and for which she raised significant funds over the years.

Betty was honored for community service by the Monadnock Rotary Club, which made her a Paul Harris Fellow. She enjoyed tennis, golf, writing, cooking, duplicate bridge, and Scrabble. At RiverMead she discovered billiards and water volleyball.

Betty Billipp Lathrop is survived by sons J. Andrew Billipp of Houston, TX, James F. Billipp of Lexington, MA, and Peter D. Billipp of Eliot, ME, as well as their dear wives, Susan, Diana, and Karen. Betty was predeceased by twin brother Jonathan R. Whitesell of Wilmington, NC, older sister Mary Whitesell Buys of South Kingston, RI, and younger brother James G. Whitesell of Colville, WA. The Billipps’ eldest son, Major Norman K. Billipp, USMC was killed in action in Vietnam on May 6, 1969.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to RiverMead’s Residents Assistance Fund, or Monadnock Community Early Learning Center (

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