Betsy Robb

1995 NAN Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Betsy was born in Durham, North Carolina and educated at The Baldwin School and Sweet Briar College. Her obituary read: “Blessed with a keen, inquisitive intelligence and a lively imagination, she contributed greatly to the landscape around her, serving as a Durham City Councilwoman from 1989 to 1993 and as a trustee on the boards of Durham Regional Hospital and the Carolina Theatre.” She continued her service in Asheville where she served on the Grounds Committee and as the de facto head of the Wednesday morning stitching group.

For a number of years she owned Betsy’s Needleworks in Durham where she operated the shop, did custom designing and taught classes for those interested in learning more about needlepoint and related arts. In the mid 1970s she decided to hone her teaching skills and earn credentials for teaching needlework. She drove to Richmond, Virginia to attend the Assembly for Embroiderers sponsored by the National Textile Resource and Research Center of the Valentine Museum. (This pioneer group is known today as the National Academy of Needlearts.) Betsy completed her Level II Certification in Needlepoint in 1976 and became a counselor in the program and continued to serve as Assistant Director of Teacher Certification, Director of Teacher Certification and, finally, Director of Education. Betsy Robb was the third Director of Education for this group.

Betsy was a respected teacher and mentor.  She was a pioneer in laying silk threads and designed many pieces to teach her techniques of working with silk.

All those who served with Betsy Robb on the NAN Board of Directors grew to love her. Louise Downing McGinty, former Dean of Pitt Technical Institute in Greenville, North Carolina, wrote and administered the first certification programs and became our first Director of Education. Upon learning of Betsy’s death, Louise said: “Betsy had such a deep love for everyone and always went the extra mile for anyone who needed her. She gave so much of herself for NAN, especially doing the legal work and getting everything set up correctly. It’s a good time to think back on and I am glad we are honoring her now.”