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Elizabeth Presser Obituary

August 10, 2011 12:58 pm Category: News, Obituaries Comments Off A+ / A-

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Private internment for Elizabeth “Libby” Gilbert Thompson Ortiz Presser, who passed away on July 11, 2011 at her home after a 10 year-long battle with cancer, will be at the Prosper Cemetery. The family invites those who knew her to join them in a Celebration of Libby’s life at 12:30 pm on August 21, at the home of Roger and Terry Thompson, VT Route 12, Hartland. Please bring your favorite photo of Libby to contribute to a collage for the family.
Libby spent her life championing the underdog. She was an advisor to state government on women’s issues. She championed a multi-cultural approach to social work and developed and published educational material for young people regarding their sexual health.
From an early age Libby was on a quest for knowledge and adventure. She traveled from the Vermont dairy farm where she was born and raised to New York for her education. She was awarded a full scholarship to Barnard College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1963. Along the way she was awarded the Elizabeth Janeway prize for one of her pieces of fiction. She later went on to earn a doctorate degree in Social Work from Columbia University.
Upon receiving her BA Libby embarked on an NSF social anthropology project studying the people in a subsistence-fishing village in Bahia, Brazil. She followed this up with a one year Fulbright Teaching Fellowship at the University of Lucknow in India.
Returning to the states she embarked on a career of helping society justly serve others. She started with the New York City Family Services, where she held positions of increasing responsibility. She helped place children and ensured them an environment in which to thrive. She then became Director of Social Work at St. Mary’s Hospital in Hoboken, NJ (now part of Hoboken University Medical Center).
While working on her doctorate Libby decided that her passion for social justice could best be served by teaching at the University level. She taught Social Work first at San Diego State University, where she was appointed Assistant Dean and later at California State University, Long Beach. It was here that she helped design and initiate a Masters degree in Social Work program and was the long time head of the Social Policy and Research specialties of the department.
Libby was born on November 13, 1941 to Sarah (Fletcher) Thompson and Albert Francis Thompson and was raised on the family dairy farm in Woodstock. Libby was an active member of 4H and won several prizes for her mint jelly. In high school she excelled in English and creative writing and acted in class one-act plays and the senior play. She attended the Woodstock schools and graduated from Woodstock Union High School.
She was a talented water colorist and enjoyed travelling around the world with her husband of 22 years, Philip Presser, with whom she shared her intelligence, sense of humor and imagination. They would join the large Thompson clan for Vermont Thanksgiving celebrations every other year in Woodstock.
Libby is survived by her husband Phil Presser; daughter Cecilia Ortiz; stepdaughters Ellen Reinig and Nancy Presser; grandson Kai Daniel and step grandchildren Bethany Reinig, Heather Reinig, Esther Reing, Jonah Bell and Joy Bell.
She also leaves sisters Sarah Adams and Paula Thompson and brother Hall Thompson and many nephews and nieces.
She was predeceased by her parents; her brother John Thompson; and her first husband, Edward Ortiz.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to Barnard College in memory of Elizabeth Thompson Ortiz, Class of 1963, Vagelos Alumni Center, 3009 Broadway, NY, NY 10027. Donations may also be made online at alum.barnard.edu. Follow the giving instructions and enter Elizabeth Thompson Ortiz 1963 as the honoree.
To view this obituary online as well as leave condolences, visit our website @ www.thevermontstandard.com

Elizabeth Presser Obituary Reviewed by on . CARLSBAD, Calif. — Private internment for Elizabeth “Libby” Gilbert Thompson Ortiz Presser, who passed away on July 11, 2011 at her home after a 10 year-long ba CARLSBAD, Calif. — Private internment for Elizabeth “Libby” Gilbert Thompson Ortiz Presser, who passed away on July 11, 2011 at her home after a 10 year-long ba Rating:
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