Feb. 23, 1920 – May 2, 2013

Elizabeth C. “Liz” Tower, a local philanthropist and artist whose work hangs in numerous museums and distinguished private collections, died Thursday in her East Aurora home. She was 93.

Born Elizabeth Clarke in Mount Vernon, she was the daughter of the late Emma Vought Clarke and Gilmore David Clarke, who was dean of Cornell University’s College of Architecture.

She was raised in Pelham and educated at Cornell, where she received her degree in English and where she took several drawing courses.

She met her husband, Peter Tower, at Cornell and married him in August 1942 in Great Barrington, Mass. The couple moved to Youngstown the same year and lived there for more than 30 years.

They moved to Buffalo in 1972 and then to East Aurora in 1988.

In December 1990, Mrs. Tower and her husband co-founded and served as trustees of the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, a family foundation.

Mrs. Tower, over her lifetime, was “a voracious reader, avid gardener and environmentalist,” according to family members.

“Most of all,” they said, “ ‘Liz’ was an artist.”

Up until she lost her ability to see, Mrs. Tower painted, crafted collages and even jewelry out of objects she found, including bones and safety pins.

“Everything – from the extraordinary to the ordinary – informed her art,” family members said.

She participated in many art shows across the region.

Besides her husband of 70 years, who, until his retirement, was president of C.J. Tower and Sons, Mrs. Tower is survived by two daughters, Mollie Tower Byrnes and Cynthia Tower Doyle.

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. June 1 in Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave.