Obituary of Beth Ann Firestein
Beth Ann Firestein passed away on January 21, 2024 after a nearly three-year battle with pancreatic cancer; she was surrounded by loved ones in the final weeks, days, hours and minutes of her life. Beth was 66 years old.
Born in Houston, Texas on November 20, 1957 to Rabbi Louis Firestein and Margaret Firestein, both now of blessed memory, Beth was the oldest of four children. In the course of her life, she lived in Texas – Houston, Austin and Dallas; Carbondale, Illinois; and in Loveland and Berthoud, Colorado. She loved her native Texas, as well as her adopted home states of Colorado; and Hawaii, where she owned a second home for years and spent much time.
A graduate of Southern Methodist University and The University of Texas at Austin, Beth earned her Ph.D. in psychology in 1987. She spent ten years as a university administrator specializing in counseling students; during this period and throughout her career, she published widely, especially on topics relating to psychology and LGBTQ issues, both areas being dear to her heart. Throughout her life, Beth was a tireless advocate for women's rights and LGBTQ issues.
In 1996, Beth launched a private psychotherapy practice in Loveland, Colorado, quickly attaining a substantial client base. She retired from her private practice in this field only after her cancer diagnosis in April 2021. Over the course of her career, she helped many people and touched a myriad of lives in positive ways.
Toward the end of her career, Beth launched a "Wise Women Group," which became a safe and valued space for the sharing of experiences and life challenges among a diverse and welcoming group of older women. In 2022, Beth published "Women Sharing Wisdom: A Facilitator's Guide to Starting a Wise Women Group," her last major publication. It is a collection of nearly 160 discussion topics that pertain to women and the challenges they face as they age. Beth saw this as one of her greatest legacies, something she hoped would endure and be promoted in perpetuity; her intention for the book was to encourage other women to start their own groups.
In 2018, Beth married Gene Arts of Berthoud, Colorado; she and Gene first met on September 1, 2011. In their more than twelve years as a couple, including over five as a married couple, they reveled in each other, hiked, camped, spent time in Hawaii, traveled extensively and lived life to the fullest. Even the mundane was a pleasure.
Beth had a number of passions and hobbies. As a child, she was an accomplished springboard diver; Beth's mother, Margaret, was her coach. Beth also loved, and prolifically created, photography, art and poetry. From her earliest childhood, Beth loved horses and learned to ride in Austin in the 1960s. From 1996 to 2023, Beth owned her beloved Arabian, P. J. Ferrari; working with P. J. for nearly three decades – P. J. was healthy and energetic, like Beth herself – Beth gave expression to her avid love of horses and all things equestrian and became an accomplished horsewoman and jumper.
Beth loved and cared for animals throughout her life: Trixie, Tippy, Beau, Elvis, Meshugenah, Puna, Kashi, Kibble and Breeze, in addition to P. J., were some of the dogs, cats, guinea pigs and horses she loved dearly over the course of her life.
A proud progressive, Beth believed in tolerance and treating people (and animals) with kindness. Her spirituality was informed by, but not wholly contained within, the tenets of reform Judaism. Beth was proud of her Jewish heritage and identity.
Beth is survived by her cherished husband Gene Arts and son Ben Arts (Andrea) grandchildren Mia and Avery of Lafayette, CO, as well as her beloved brother David Firestein, sister-in-law Jessica Firestein, and niece Eliana Firestein. Many other family members and friends miss Beth sorely, as well.
A wake was held for Beth at her and Gene's home in Berthoud and a celebration of life will take place in the near future. In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Nature Conservancy, Planned Parenthood or the Food Bank of Larimer County (CO); alternatively, please support other progressive charitable and nonprofit causes, particularly in areas associated with healing and tolerance.
With help from my friends, we have made plans for Beth’s Celebration of Life. It will be held on February 25th, Sunday, from 3 to 6 at Brookside Gardens in Berthoud (619 E County Rd 8, Berthoud).
We will have some people speak for about 45 minutes starting at 4:30, otherwise it is open for mingling, reminiscing, and sharing.
Light hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served. Dress is casual.
We hope you can join us in sharing Beth’s life.
RSVP is helpful but not necessary. Here is the link to RSVP and the obituary. If you RSVP, only include the number of guests, if any. You don’t need to count yourself. https://www.eventcreate.com/e/bethcelebrate
This is an open invitation, so please forward this if you think someone was missed on Facebook or CaringBridge.
Thanks everyone for all your love and support. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.
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