Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Betty Whiting Flemming Needlework Expert

Betty Whiting Flemming, 82, a needlework expert and museum volunteer, died March 1 at her home in Leesburg, where she had lived for 38 years. She had pancreatic cancer.

For about a decade beginning in 1982, Mrs. Flemming was a staff aide for the National Museum of American History's textiles division.

Mrs. Flemming helped organize and lead the Loudoun Sampler Guild, a group devoted to decorative pieces of needlework. She also started and organized the annual Loudoun Children's Needlework Seminar.

From 1992 to 1999, she was a curator at the Loudoun Museum, where she was responsible for "Threads of History," a sampler exhibit and symposium. She spent two years researching and planning a Loudoun Museum event, "The Quaker Girl: Her Life and Her Needlework," in 2008.

Mrs. Flemming lectured in the United States and England on American schoolgirl embroidery and taught various needlework classes. She published articles and documents on needlework and conservation and was responsible for the conservation of 38 historic works of embroidery in the collection at St. Joseph's Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., including raising the necessary funds for the project.

She founded the Loudoun Herb Guild and was a member of the Leesburg Garden Club.

Betty Louise Rush was born in San Antonio. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and later received a certificate in embroidery and design from the Royal School of Needlework in London.

Her first husband, Richard D. Whiting, died in 1949 while participating in an Air Force training exercise. A daughter from her first marriage, Helen H. Whiting, died in 1999.

Survivors include her husband of 56 years, Frederick F. Flemming of Leesburg; a daughter from her first marriage, Elizabeth D. Whiting of Leesburg; two children from her second marriage, Margaret T. Flemming of Dripping Springs, Tex., and F. Christian Flemming of Hamilton; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

-- Alexander F. Remington

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