Cover photo for Elizabeth "Betsy" A. Rickter Roe's Obituary
Elizabeth "Betsy" A. Rickter Roe Profile Photo

Elizabeth "Betsy" A. Rickter Roe

December 22, 1979 — October 2, 2022


Elizabeth "Betsy" A. Rickter Roe

Elizabeth A. "Betsy" Rickter Roe, age 42, of Downingtown, PA, passed away on October 2, 2022.  Born in Baltimore, MD, Betsy was the daughter of Bruce and Margaret Rickter (nee Sellmayer).  

Betsy was a devoted mother, an accomplished researcher, a natural athlete, a loving wife, sister, daughter, friend. Her life, though cut short, was full of accomplishment and impact.

Betsy was a proud graduate of the Institute of Notre Dame of Baltimore. She continued on to earn a Bachelor's of Physics at Drew University, followed by a Master’s Degree in Physics at Lehigh University. At Lehigh, she handled teaching duties and did significant research related to optical tweezers. Betsy left Lehigh after receiving her Master’s to continue in research at the University of Pennsylvania where she worked in a laboratory in Radiation Oncology, focusing on photodynamic therapy and completing another Master’s in Biotechnology. She is a published scientific author. During her time at Penn, Betsy also taught undergraduatephysics at Penn State’s Brandywine campus.

Throughout her life, Betsy was an athlete. Early sports included soccer, basketball, and other endeavors, but Betsy had a true passion for softball. An accomplished fast pitch player, Betsy pitched all the way through college, starting for the Drew Rangers. After college Betsy played with an Upper Darby team and found a true connection in her teammates in the Downingtown DARC women’s league who would become close friends for the rest of her life. She continued her engagement with sports into her final period of illness, including coaching Emory’s soccer team and helping Bennett learn to throw and swing. Family like her father, grandfather, and aunt cultivated an early appreciation for professional sports and she enjoyed following the Ravens and Orioles, sometimes the Phillies.

Betsy’s initial serious illness caused her to break from her academic research career, but her initial recovery also opened a new avenue in life as a mother. Motherhood was a role she embraced enthusiastically, her innate capacity to nurture and love coming to the forefront. She surrounded her children with their mother’s love and applied her many talents to providing them opportunities and enrichments. She filled their lives with tokens of her immense care for them. Betsy’s devotion to family was also seen in the close relationships she maintained with her sister, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws. She was an amazing wife, friend, and partner in life to her husband. Her family in turn loved and supported her, including Donna and Gail, whose kidney donations made her family life possible.

She made strong friends in many communities, from her high school to those connected to the Cape May Marianist Retreat Center, Saint Matthew's and Springton Manor schools, children’s sports leagues, her parish of St. Elizabeth’s, neighbors, softball teams, and her professional relationships. Betsy gave much of herself to these communities and she and her family have in turn been recipients of tremendous support from them in times of crisis.

Betsy is loved and will be missed immensely by all those blessed to have had her in their lives. She leaves a legacy of strength and love that will be carried forward by her children, family, friends, and communities.

In addition to her parents, Betsy is survived by her beloved husband, Stephen Roe and her loving children Bennett, Emory and Beatrice.  Also survived by her dear sister, Sarah Sentman (Greg).  Daughter-in-law of Christopher and Joan Roe.  Betsy is also survived by her aunts Gail Bennett (Bruce), Paula Rickter and Donna Rickter and many nieces and nephews.   Sister-in-law of Kevin Roe (Joy), Kyleen Finnegan (Sean), Emily Nguyen (Khoa), Bridget Hansel (Bray) and Brian Roe.  

Relatives and friends are invited to visit the family Sunday, October 9, 2022 from 2:00-5:00 PM at The Donohue Funeral Home, 1627 West Chester Pike (cor. Hilltop Road), West Chester, PA (610) 431-9000 and Monday, October 10, 2022 8:45 AM-10:00 AM at St. Elizabeth Church, 120 St. Elizabeth Drive, Chester Springs, PA.   Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, please consider gifts to the Cape May Marianist Retreat House ( or directly supporting lymphoma research at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania (



Past Services


Sunday, October 9, 2022

2:00 - 5:00pm (Eastern time)

Donohue Funeral Home - West Chester

1627 W. Chester Pike, West Chester, PA 19382

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Monday, October 10, 2022

8:45 - 10:00am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Monday, October 10, 2022

10:00 - 11:00am (Eastern time)

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