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In Memory of Betty Nexsen DeVries '40

Betty Nexsen DeVries' 40 (left) in 2015 for her 75th reunion.

A dedicated member of the Packer community passed away on Saturday, October 19, 2019.

Betty Nexsen DeVries '40 was part of a Packer family. Her grandmother, Margaret Halliday Nexsen, graduated as part of the Class of 1878. In fact, some of the wrought iron railings outside Packer’s entrance were installed at the end of the 19th century, thanks to a gift from her grandmother.

After Betty graduated, she attended The Juilliard School and sang with the New York City Center Opera Company. She enjoyed a career as a professional concert and church soloist. She later spent much of her time volunteering with the organizations that meant so much to her, including the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the Manhasset Congregational Church Women’s Club, the Manhasset Community Club, American Legion Auxiliary, Kiwanis, and Colonial Dames of America.

For Packer, she served as a member of the Alumni Advisory Counsel and as a Class Agent helping to raise funds for Packer and its students. She also contributed to Packer consistently for well over 30 years. In 2005, we welcomed her back to Packer to recognize her ongoing service to Packer with the Alumni Award of Honor for her career, philanthropic spirit, and her dedication to Packer.

Dona Laughlin, our former Director of Alumni, remembers her fondly, calling her a tiny burst of energy. We are grateful that she used her energy to support the alma mater that meant so much to her life. This year would have marked her 80th Reunion. Less than a year ago, she wrote Packer a note that read, “I have wonderful happy memories of my Packer days, teachers, and friends.” So many of us in the Packer community also have happy memories of Betty. Please feel free to share your memories with us at


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