Elizabeth Raymer: An intellect and lust for life that never wore out

Elizabeth Raymer, who died on Nov. 1, 2017

Elizabeth Raymer — April 7, 1930-Nov. 1, 2017

Liz Ernle Money Raymer died suddenly in Oakland, California, of an allergic reaction. She was 87 years old.

Elizabeth, known as Liz, was born on April 7, 1930 in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen on the last day of President Kennedy’s life. A liberal Democrat and political activist, Liz said that after she heard the news of the assassination, she wanted to snatch back her allegiance to this country. Luckily, she lived 54 more years under a few Democratic presidents who were polar opposites to our current “president.”

Liz earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from UCLA during the 1960s. She worked as an administrator for Head Start when the program was new. She also served Los Angeles County as a probation officer for teenagers and worked as a licensed marriage, family, and child counselor from the 1970s through the early 2000s. In her last position before retirement, Liz counseled people with HIV and AIDS in the days before medications could save their lives.

For 23 years, Liz was an alto singer in the Berkeley Community Chorus. In their Chorus Notes, BCCO wrote: “How can we possibly summarize all that Liz Raymer was to BCCO? During her many years with the chorus she participated in just about every way possible, and played no small role in making us the strong organization we are today. She joined the chorus in 1994 … [and] joined the BCCO board in 2000, [serving] on just about every board committee.”

Liz was also an enthusiastic, active member and volunteer at Ashby Village, a Berkeley nonprofit for elders whose mission is to “connect members with each other and with the resources [they] need to stay active, independent and fulfilled.” Pat Carvalho, Volunteer Coordinator at Ashby Village, wrote: “Liz volunteered in many Ashby Village programs and at times would be at the office several times a week. As busy as she was, she always took the time to stop, sit and ask how things were going with me and [with] any office volunteer working that day. She was always ‘present’ and incredibly caring to everyone…she made you feel special.”  During the last years of her life, Liz participated in an Ashby Village low-vision group; she also led an “Over Eighties” group.

Liz coped bravely with losing her vision due to macular degeneration. She tested experimental goggles and toiled hard at mobility training, despite pain. When Finley, her guide dog, became available, he and Liz trained together for many months.

Liz was married to architectural designer Maxwell Rex Raymer (1922– 2010) for 18 years. She met her wife, Ronnie Boynton, in April 1990. They married in 2008. They were never apart again until Nov. 1, 2017, when Liz died.

Liz’s parents were Kathleen Gwendolyn Southard Carter Money and Charles Ernle Money. She was pre-deceased by her sister, Eileen, and her brothers, Lindsay and Michael. Liz is survived by her beloved wife Dr. Ragna (Ronnie) Christiansen Boynton; by her daughters Alexa, Julia, and Robyn; her brother David Carter, and her sister Rosemary Hook. She is also survived by 17 children by marriage; 25 grandchildren and great-grandchildren; six nieces and four nephews; and by Finley, her golden retriever guide dog.