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Elizabeth Cantey Rettig

Posted By Hall-Wynne On October 12, 2009 @ 12:00 am In Obituaries | No Comments

Elizabeth Cantey Rettig, 63, died October 12, 2009 at home in Chapel Hill surrounded by her immediate family. Born on April 7, 1946, she was the daughter of the late Morgan Sabb Cantey and Elizabeth Ann Acree Cantey. For 47 years Beth was a beloved foster child of Hugh Ellsworth Steele and Carolyn Skinner Steele.

Beth was a graduate of West Point High School in West Point, Georgia, the University of Georgia and California State University. She raised her family in San Marino, California where she owned Stepping Stones to Learning, an educational center, serving the needs of 500 families. After moving to Chapel Hill with her husband in 1997 she began working in 2001 as a real estate broker with Fonville Morisey and in her third year was rated the 19th highest performing realtor in the Triangle area.

All of her accomplishments were completely overshadowed by the kind of person she was. She was described by family and friends as a very special, amazing woman with a great zest for life and sense of humor, with an incredible and irreplaceable spirit whose life radiated an abundance of God’s gifts. She was relationally brilliant, extremely articulate and able to deal with difficult issues in a way that drew the best out of both friends and clients. She constantly deflected the conversation away from herself and focused completely and with total engagement on the concerns of others. Most of all she loved her Lord and wanted her life to reflect Christ’s love for others. She greatly encouraged others in their faith.

Beth fought a valiant battle for almost two years against the Ovarian cancer that ravaged her body traveling to Florida, California, Germany and Canada in her struggle against this unrelenting disease. On this painful journey she demonstrated great courage and discipline and never complained but trusted her life to God who had numbered her days.

Beth was orphaned at age sixteen when her natural parents were killed in a plane crash. Thus when she visited South Africa in August of 2007 and saw the great needs of children whose parents had died of AIDS, a vision for starting a school for these orphans blossomed in her heart and is now in the process of becoming a reality. In January, 2010 the first two classes for a total of twenty kindergartners and first graders will open at Mukhanyo Christian Academy north of Pretoria in South Africa.

Beth is survived by her husband, Ed Rettig of Chapel Hill; daughter Kelli Lewis and her husband, Derek Lewis of Richmond, Virginia; son Austin Rettig of Santa Monica, California; Grandchildren Morgan, Sarah and Jacob Lewis; sisters Ann Payne, Claudia Martin and Angel Steele and brothers Morgan Cantey and Jeff Steele.

Memorial Services will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 3741 Garrett Rd., Durham. Interment will occur later Saturday afternoon. Rev. David Bowen will officiate.

The family will receive guests on Thursday, October 22nd from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, 1113 West Main St., Durham.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Friends of Mukhanyo for Mukhanyo Christian Academy and sent to Jennifer Stenner, c/o Fonville Morisey, 1520 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.

On-line memorials: www.hallwynne.com. Select obituaries.

Hall-Wynne Funeral Service is assisting the Rettig family.

Condolences for the family of “Elizabeth Cantey Rettig”

Condolence from phyllis lloyd on October 16th, 2009 12:00 am

Dear Ed and Kelli and Austin,
we met Beth about 4 years ago now, i guess, and though we spent little time together, since she lived in Chapel Hill and we were here in Charlotte, i was always thrilled when i could see her at church or at Jeff and Ruth’s and spend five minutes with her in what was always useful, stimulating, God centered conversation. it makes me sad to think of moving to Chapel Hill next year and not being able to enjoy her friendship, but she had a wonderful impact on my life and for that i am grateful. we have prayerfully followed her journey with cancer and learned some good lessons from her. we are sad for you and pray God will continue to comfort you. love and prayers, Ken and Phyllis Lloyd

Condolence from Frances Pal Reeves on October 16th, 2009 12:00 am

Ed, Kelli, and Austin,
I am so grieved at the loss to you and so many others of Beth, such a wonderful person. She was always a very special person. I knew her mostly as a young girl, with so much potential – which she did fulfill. Charles and I also enjoyed visiting you many years ago when you lived in California. She was then at the height of her tutoring career.
I missed so much by being out of touch with her and your family in later years. I truly regret that. She, and you, have a special place in my heart and love.
I know what it is to lose a beloved spouse and parents. Charles died of cancer, also, nearly three years ago.
My love to you all,
Pal Aunt

Condolence from Barbara V. Jacobs on October 16th, 2009 12:00 am

My prayers are with the family in the loss of Beth. Barbara Vining Jacobs

Condolence from Lyda Hill Meadors on October 16th, 2009 12:00 am

I was so sad to hear about Beth. We were both in High Schol when she went to live with the Steele’s who lived on my street. Beth was two years ahead of me in school, and I always remember how sweet and friendly she was to everyone. I remember her little red Fiat passing my house—I idolized her! My condolences go out to all the family. She will truly be missed by all. She was a wonderful person! Love, Lyda Hill Meadors

Condolence from Judi Ward Murphy on October 16th, 2009 12:00 am

My sympathies to the family. I, also, went to WPHS with Beth. She is remembered fondly.

Judi Ward Murphy

Condolence from John Hagedorn on October 16th, 2009 12:00 am

Beth from a very young age was uncommonly kind and considerate. Her many friends, of whom my sister, Anne, was a close one relied upon her to be a warming and calming influence in times of stress. No one we friends have known could have handled the stress of her long illness with greater courage and equanamity. Even close to the end, she was thoughtful of the needs of her family and friends. As Sally Speckles observed today, Beth’s loss will leave a huge hole in her large circle of close friends, which include Sally, Anne, Jane Langley and Cherry Austin. We can all take comfort from the courage that Beth’s husband Ed expressed when he said that this is first day of the rest of their lives for him, Kelli and Spencer, that they must go on, and however fleeting and emphemeral are our precious days upon the earth, we were fortunate to have known Beth and to have faith that we are all connected beyond this life.

Condolence from Nancy Lawson Peterson on October 17th, 2009 12:00 am

My memories of Beth go back to our ADPi days at UGA. We pleded together and lived close–she in the Green Room next door to me in the Yellow Room, as they were called then. Beth was truly a remarkable young girl–full of self-confidence and wit–even after losing her parents so tragically. I had great respect for her wisdom and leadership. I send my love and tender condolences to her family.

Sincerely, Nancy Lawson Peterson

Condolence from victoria Baer Christian on October 17th, 2009 12:00 am

To Beth’s husband and children and family members,I will always remember Beth’s positive attitude and fabulous personality from UGA and the ADPi house. I still look at a picture from the Ga-Fla football weekend when we went to the game and stayed at Ponte Vedra together. Take time with your healing and stay close to each other. My Sincere Condolences, Victoria Baer Christian

Condolence from The Lindsey Girls on October 18th, 2009 12:00 am

As former West Pointers, my sisters and I certainly remember Beth and Morgan and her parents and the Steeles. We all grew up together, and we are sorry to hear of this news. When our family first moved to West Point in 1954, we visited the Methodist Church there and not knowing custom inadvertently sat in the Cantey’s normal pew. When the Cantey family arrived and saw that their place was occupied, Mr. Cantey introduced himself to my father, welcomed us and selected another place. Even as a child, I knew that the Cantey family was very special, and so of course was Beth.

Condolence from Caroline Caruthers Fee on October 21st, 2009 12:00 am

Dear Ann,
I don’t know whether you remember me. I sat next to you in English class at RMWC in ’61 or ’62. I was sorry to read about your sister, and my thoughts are with you and your family. It sounds like she had a rewarding life filled with generosity. It is sad that it ended too soon. Maybe I will see you at our 50th Reunion.
Caroline Caruthers Fee

Condolence from Hubert Benson on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

My condolences to you and your family.

Condolence from Debbie Allen on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

Morgan and all, please know that you are in our prayers.

Condolence from James and Karen Wood on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

Morgan and all the family,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I remember how beautiful Beth was.After I read her obituary her inward beauty was even greater. We send you and yours all our love. Thanks for being my friend


Condolence from Cathryne Jones Slaughter on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

Rest in peace, Beth. Morgan, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


Condolence from Gwen Edwards Reese on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

Morgan, I’m so sorry for the loss of your sister. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Condolence from Rob Allen on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

Morgan, Claudia, Angel and Jeff,

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you as you grieve the loss of your sister, Beth. Although I didn’t know Beth, my sister Camille, had a profound respect and love for her. I hope that peace will be with you all during this difficult time of loss.

Take care,


Condolence from Michael Turner on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

Dear Morgan,

I don’t have the words to tell you how sorry we are about Beth’s passing. Rest assured she is in a better place,pain free,reunited with your Mom and Dad,walking the golden streets of heaven and playing piano in God’s choir.

Mathew 5:4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.

In our recent loss of Jane’s mom this hymn is helping us accept her passing.

“No more night,
No more pain,
No more tears,never crying again
Praises to the great I AM
We will live in the light of the risen lamb”

Beth, I always admired you. When we were growing up together, you were always so sweet to Morgan and I even as we bugged you constantly. I wanted you to be my big sister also. Your beautiful smile, kind spirit and wonderful piano playing will always be my memory of you. Later in life, Morgan kept me posted on your life’s journey. Putting others before yourself and serving your loving God. Your were an angel on earth.

Mathew 25:21
Well done good and faithful servant

Condolence from Patty Evans Gray on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

I am so sorry to hear about Beth’s death. I remember how sweet she always to you and all of your friends. Please know that I am thinking of you and will keep you in my prayers. I will always love you as my childhood friend.

Condolence from Jane Turner on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

I am so sorry for your loss. I really regret that I never had the chance to play piano with Beth. I hear she was a force to be reckoned with! God bless you all as your go through this sad yet joyous time.

Condolence from Joe Keith on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

As a life-long friend with Morgan,I fondly remember Beth. She was a beautiful lady, outwardly and in her heart… the type of soul that made you feel welcome and wanted.And reading of her life since she left West Point, it appears she has enriched the lives of hundreds.

To the family… my most sincere sympathy. May God bless you all and help ease the pain of your loss.

Condolence from Bill Webb on October 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

Morgan, may God’s strength be with you in your time of great loss.

Condolence from Allen Henderson on October 23rd, 2009 12:00 am

Dear Morgan & Family,

Our sincere condolences in Beth’s passing.

Mary & Allen Henderson

Condolence from Cheryl Feniak on November 25th, 2009 12:00 am

Dear Ed, I cannot find the words to express my deepest sympathy to you and your family. Though our friends ship was short, Beth was the most inspiring, caring person I have ever met. May your loss be made easier with all the wonderful memories you had together! Beth will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life..God bless!

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