Elizabeth Schotten Merklinger (August 28,1930 - July 2nd, 2020)


I met Beth, as we all know her, shortly after I moved to the Champlain Towers almost three years ago. She had just returned from a music festival in Romania at the tender age of 87. We spoke German from the beginning and I was impressed at how well she had maintained her mother tongue. We soon fell into a pattern of playing Scrabble once a week and slowly became friends. It was very hard for her to give up travelling and eventually even to go to concerts. Her review of Music and Beyond which you can read on this website, was probably the last review she ever wrote.

I am glad to still have had the chance to get to know her at the very end of her life. As you can see from her daughter’s reflections below, she was a most interesting and fascinating person.

 Maria von Finckenstein


Art Historian, author, lecturer, world traveler, artist, and polyglot, who spoke German, English, Russian, French and Italian, and was a lover of music and books. It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, cousin and dear friend, Elizabeth Schotten Merklinger, on July 2nd in Ottawa. She leaves daughters Catherine Merklinger, (Ludovic Andrivon), Alexandra Aubin, (Kevin), devoted grandchildren Mathias and Cécilia Andrivon, Laura and Thomas Aubin, the Campbell and Stolper families, and the Libisch family in Vienna. A daughter, Daniela Merklinger, had predeceased her.


Born in Vienna, Austria on August 28, 1930 to Berthold Schotten and Pauline Stern, Beth escaped the Nazi occupation with her parents in 1940. Her dear Aunt Toni Stolper in New York had managed to obtain three visas for the family to the U.S. They left by train and boarded the last boat from Rotterdam.


Growing up in Philadelphia, Beth later went on to study in the U.S., Germany, England and India. Her fields of study were Science, Political Science, International Relations, Russian language and history. Her PhD was in Indian Islamic Architecture. She fell in love with both Cambridge University and her future husband, Kenneth J. Merklinger, who became a Canadian diplomat. With the family, they would live in Egypt, India, Washington, Ottawa, and Rome.


Beth always found interesting projects to do wherever she went. She taught Russian and German, lectured at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., curated exhibitions at the National Gallery of Canada, produced a CBC Radio Program for Ideas called “Answers in the East”, interviewing, among others, the Dalai Lama. She later wrote music and travel reviews.


Beth’s spirit, inspirational personality and grace will continue to fill the lives of all who were blessed to have known her.

A celebration of Beth’s life is tentatively planned for August in Ottawa.


Catherine Merklinger

July 2020