Elizabeth Patapoff realized how much chance and circumstance played in making her who she was. The youngest of seven, she was an infant when the flu epidemic of 1918 claimed her mother. A family of four in a Union Street neighborhood in Salem swooped down and adopted Elizabeth. Elizabeth, also known as Betty, had lots of opportunities with her new family. Her adoptive father was a school principle, and she grew up with books everywhere. Her father also fostered her love of history and stargazing. He made sure she went to Willamette University, and firmly supported her desire to study broadcasting at Columbia University in New York City.
She went on to become a pioneer of what was then called educational TV in Oregon, and worked as a writer and producer in public broadcasting in Oregon for 35 years, starting in radio in 1949, then moving into TV. Few women worked alongside her. Elizabeth eventually transferred to KOAP (now KOPB) in Portland in the early 1960s, and moved with her husband, Abe, and children near Mount Tabor, where she lived for the next 35 years. At KOAP she was in charge of TV production, producing a variety of general programs, including historical documentaries.
Elizabeth so loved worked for public television that after retirement she did volunteer production work with the Oregon Historical Society. She died in her sleep Dec. 29, 2006, at 89.