Beth Strong was born on December 3, 1915 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Hiram and Mary Frances Strong. The family moved to New York when Beth was in sixth grade and she finished her years of school there. Beth attended New York State College for Teachers where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Biology in 1937. From 1939 to 1943, Beth worked in the Trust Department of First National Bank of Glens Falls.
In 1943 Beth joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed in El Centro and El Toro, California. During this time, she successfully completed Aerographer’s Mate training in Lakehurst, New Jersey. (Aerographer’s Mates observe, collect, record and analyze meteorological and oceanographic data.)
In 1948, Beth was hired as a Laboratory Technician II at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, working closely with Dr. Walter H. Munk, Professor of Geophysics. At Scripps, Beth also worked with notable early Oceanography pioneers such as June Patullo (the first woman to earn a doctorate in Oceanography) and Roger Revelle (the first president of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research and advisor to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission). In 1955, Beth co-authored the article “The Seasonal Oscillation in Sea Level” in the Journal of Marine Research in 1955 with June Patullo, Dr. Munk and Dr. Revelle.
In 1960, Beth joined the staff of the Department of Oceanography (now the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences) at Oregon State University. She retired from OSU with the distinction of Assistant Professor Emeritus of Oceanography in 1977.
Beth was active in a number of clubs, organizations, and professional societies including the American Association of University Women, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the Marine Technology Society, the Oregon Academy of Science, the Sierra Club Pacific Northwest Chapter, the Audubon Society, and the Faculty Women’s Club. Beth traveled some over the years, including trips to South Africa, Tahiti, and Finland. She also liked to crochet, read, and play bridge.
In 1999, Beth moved from her home on 23rd Street in Corvallis to Stoneybrook Lodge, an assisted living facility in Corvallis. She was one of Stoneybrook’s first residents. Beth died on May 12, 2009, leaving a trust bequest to Benton Community Foundation for the Beth Strong Fund.
The Beth Strong Fund benefits many local charities: Wardens and Vestry of the Church of the Good Samaritan (Episcopal) in Corvallis, Oregon; OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center; Old Mill School for Children and Families; the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis; Community Outreach, Inc.; St. Mary’s Stone Soup project; Interfaith Caregivers; and the Grace Center for Adult Day Care.