21 March 2010

In Memoriam: Beth Maltbie Uyehara

We are sad to announce that Beth Uyehara passed away on March 6, 2010. Her blog carried the following note:
Elizabeth ("Beth") Maltbie Uyehara passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 6, 2010. Her niece and friends were with her for most of her brief hospital stay. They kept her company and shared her last moments, witnessing her passing in a very serene way.

Her husband, Paul, was able to see her before she passed away and is devastated without her. Family members are staying close to him to help him cope and learn to live without her physical being.

Her memory and spirit will be with us forever.

Elizabeth or Beth was such a loving, warm, vibrant, humorous and strong person. We will miss her, but will always feel her presence.

Beth spent thirteen years at the Los Angeles Times, working as a feature writer and section editor for the advertising supplements department. She was introduced to genealogy while editing the genealogy columns of nationally syndicated columnist, Myra Vanderpool Gormley, and began researching her own roots in 1995. In 2003, Beth won first place in the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors contest, and her winning article was subsequently published in Ancestry magazine (read it online here). She was featured in the second season of Ancestors on PBS, and her article leads off the PBS companion book, In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity and Connection in Rediscovering Our Family History.

Beth was a dedicated, active supporter of the Southern California Genealogical Society.  The results of her dedication to the Society, creative ability, and commitment to excellence are apparent in many programs and projects that bear her unmistakable mark.

Hoping to return the Searcher to its glory days, the Society recruited Beth to lead the effort. Armed with her journalism expertise, acquired as an editor with the Los Angeles Times, penchant for detail, creative eye, and enthusiastic spirit, she succeeded in developing this publication into one that would win awards for its quality, content, and appearance. Although Beth will be the first to say she didn’t do it alone, those of us who worked with her will argue strongly that it was her vision, her determination, and her ability to get others to meet her stringent requirements that facilitated the improvement of the Searcher.

To help generate articles for The Searcher and to build interest in family history writing, she initiated the GENEii Family History Writing Contest which has been sponsored by SCGS for the past 10 years.  She and Jean Snow were instrumental in the formation of the SCGS Writers Group, and she produced the Family History Writers Conference that was held in 2007.

She compiled the best of the GENEii submissions and in 2006 edited and spearheaded the publication of Celebrating Family History - An Anthology.  She also wrote The Zen of Genealogy:  The Lighter Side of Genealogy.

Perhaps her most enduring contribution will be 1890 Project.  Beth and Louise Calaway spearheaded the project to replace the Los Angeles County 1890 Census, which was lost to fire and mishandling in the 1920's and 1930's.  This project has already spawned the publication of several indexes and will be an ongoing tribute to Beth.

As a personal note, I will miss Beth's wry, self-deprecating sense of humor.  If you didn't know Beth, take a few minutes to get to know her through her blog posts. There, you can view the artwork that she created in the past few years (see photo below, provided by Jean Snow). Once you get to know her, you're likely to miss her too. 

A memorial in Beth’s name has been established by SCGS.  The basic online donation is $10.  Your contribution can be made in any amount by adjusting the number of $10 donations you would like to make.

1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth ProctorMay 3, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    Thank you for this lovely tribute to our wonderful Aunt Beth.

    Betsy Proctor (one of Beth's nieces)