Remembering Betty Cabral

Longtime Westporter and active volunteer Betty Cabral died yesterday. She was 84.

Born to Italian immigrants John Palmer (Palmieri) and Rosa Pagliaro Palmer, she loved her childhood surrounded by colorful characters on Richmondville Avenue. Her family worked at the nearby mill, and built homes near each other where they raised chickens, grew vegetables, had fruit trees, made wine, and celebrated life.

She was an enthusiastic Staples High School cheerleader, and an excellent student. After graduating in 1955, she met her soul mate Joe Cabral at Central Connecticut State College, where both earned advanced teaching degrees.

They married and raised their children, Susan Cabral Hiltz (Harry) and Kevin Cabral (Laura).

Betty and Joe founded The Hair Place in 1968. It was a successful mom-and-pop business for decades, and they forged lifelong friendships there.

Betty Cabral

After Joe died when she was in her early 40s, Betty ran the salon business, and built a life for herself and her children in the community and Assumption Church. She was a member of the Catholic Daughters, and an active liturgical participant.

In her neighborhood everyone was welcome to Halloween celebrations, teen hangout sessions and summer pool parties.

She was a gourmet Italian cook, a professional-level seamstress and a baker. Considered a close family member to many friends and relatives, she snapped pictures at weddings, baby showers, birthdays and holiday celebrations.

Betty helped many people make sense of the world. She always had a kind word, steady demeanor, touch of the hand, and a nudge in the right direction.

She is survived by her 2 children; grandchildren Hayden, Logan, Lianna, Hailey, Payton, Amy, Kate, Chevy, Nathan, Emily, James and Thomas; brother Carlo (Marcey); nephew Michael Palmer and his family; several godchildren; cousins; scores of friends, and her devoted dog Mitzy.

A funeral will be held Tuesday (April 12, 10 a.m.) at Assumption Church for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will be in Willowbrook Cemetery 395 Main Street Westport, CT. There are no calling hours.

Condolences for the family may be left online here. In lieu of flowers, contribution in memory of Betty may be made to Assumption Church, 98 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

5 responses to “Remembering Betty Cabral

  1. Don Freeman

    Wow. The minute I saw the name and age, I knew who it was, my BJHS classmate Betty Palmer. Apparently her character was well established by the time she reached 13 (which was the last year I knew her): the description of her in later life fits exactly with the Betty Palmer I knew. A really solid citizen — warm, outgoing, funny. I didn’t realize Betty had spent her whole life in Westport, but I’m not surprised.

  2. Tracy Benton

    I took my Mom to The Hair Place while she was undergoing chemotherapy. Betty was incredibly warm and kind from the moment we entered. Mom loved chatting with her and was truly brightened by the interaction. I’m not surprised to read she touched so many lives. Sending prayers of comfort to her family as they cope with such a huge loss.

  3. K.F. Spearen

    She was a Wonderful Woman … Rest Easy Betty

  4. The Sacchi family

    She was truly an angel on earth. We will hold her in our hearts forever.

  5. Joyce Steinhoff

    My husband and I only knew Betty from Assumption Church. She was warm and friendly from the moment we met her. She will always be a lovely memory.