Betty Bradley Cleghorn



Belfast – Betty Bradley (Abrams) Cleghorn, 100, died October 24, 2022 (4 days short of her 101st birthday) under the compassionate care of nurses and CNAs at Harbor Hill Center and Kindred Hospice. She was born to Horace M. Abrams and Elizabeth Smith Bradley in Albany, NY on October 28, 1921.


Her life was dedicated to nature, gardening, art, fiber arts, architecture, antiques, and most especially to people. She attended Parsons School of Design in New York City but left to marry John T. Cleghorn just before he was sent to the South Pacific for 4 years during WWII. During his absence, she supported herself and mother-in-law as a professional seamstress. She never stopped studying art, specializing in Chinese Brush painting; and was a founding member of the Connecticut Chinese Brush Painters Guild.


Betty’s art extended to the garden. She was a well-known culinary herb garden designer and professionally designed several chef’s gardens for inns and restaurants. Her favorite garden designs included the herb garden at Elizabeth Park (Hartford,CT), the herb garden at Lyme Art Academy (Lyme, CT), the Putnam Park colonial herb garden (Redding, CT), and the Ann Pinto memorial herb garden at St. Joseph’s College (West Hartford, CT). To enhance her self-taught gardening skills, she took the Master Gardener and Advanced Master Gardener courses in CT. and after completion worked as a volunteer in one of the CT Extension Offices. Her knowledge and love of lavender was so extensive that she was a frequent speaker and workshop leader at conferences on lavenders. She was nominated and elected to the Herb Society of the America, a highlight of her career. Finally, she traveled in order to study successful herb and perennial gardens in Scotland, England, Ireland, and France.


Throughout her life, Betty worked to help her family as a seamstress, library technician, and professional garden designer.  She also worked to help others as a driver for the American Red Cross; a member of the American Field Service Selection Committee; Board of the Mark Twain Library; Board of the Middlesex Hospital Dialysis Patient Emergency Fund and the Tumor Records Department; and several garden clubs, charities, and libraries.


She was predeceased by her gentle and kind husband of 50 years and her younger brother Donald Abrams.  She is survived by her daughters – Laurie Cleghorn-Stone and Susan C. Jones.

Her grandchildren included Mark Pisch, Jennifer Costigan, Todd Jones, Anthony Helfer, Philip Helfer, Christopher Helfer, and Cassandra Lishman. She counted herself lucky to have Ted, David, Beatrice, Lacie, Jonah, Adrienne, Evelyn, Christian, Zachary, Abigail, and Jacob as her great grandchildren.



At her request, the family will have a private celebration of her life. Donations in her memory may be made to any charity that makes life better for others. Memories and condolences may be shared on her tribute wall.