Elizabeth "Betsy" Carter D’Angelo was born in Columbus, Texas in 1942. Her father, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, served in the U.S. Air Force. The eldest of four children, she grew up in towns and on bases in Texas, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Washington, Newfoundland and Germany. From 1957 to 1961, she spent her high school years in Germany, going to schools in Wiesbaden and then Kaiserslautern. She went to Southwest Texas State College, now Texas State University-San Marcos. She studied literature and business and planned on a career as a secretary, one of the career paths available to women at the time. D'Angelo briefly worked as a secretary at a bank and then joined the Central Intelligence Agency. She worked as a secretary, first in the typing pool in Washington, D.C., and then in the personnel department in the Clandestine Services Department in the Eastern European Division. Returning to Germany in 1966, she worked at the IG Farben Building in Frankfurt and then at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn. There, she met Nick D'Angelo, her future husband, who had volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam War and had been assigned military guard duty for the CIA. Eventually, she and her husband settled in Bayonne, where they raised their three children. She later went back to work, first at the YWCA in Bayonne and then at Jersey City State College.