Betty Anne Williams Autry, born December 21, 1928 passed away on October 18, 2020. She told everyone that she was trying to make it to 100 and gave it a valiant try, she would have been 92 in December.
She is preceded in death by her husband LH Autry Jr., an infant daughter Dianne, her father Luther Wise Williams and her mother Maude Lucile Sims, her brother Max Williams and sister June Osborne. She is survived by her daughter Rosanne Autry Florence (Michael) of Lonoke, her son David Autry (Colleen) of New York, her granddaughter Megan Gray (Stafford) of Lonoke and her great grandchildren Caroline and Charlotte, and a very special grand pup Bodhi. She also leaves a sister-in-law, a daughter by choice, nephews, cousins and dear friends.
Betty was born in Marvell, Arkansas to her parents a Baptist preacher and his wife, one of the kindest ladies ever known. As a child and youth she moved often because her father preached in many small town Arkansas churches. She attended Ouachita Baptist University and left college to begin a career teaching English in high school. It was at Osceola High School where she met her soul mate, LH Autry who was teaching art and history. Betty went on to get a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology and spent many years as a speech therapist in the North Little Rock, AR and Norman, OK school systems. She is remembered by her children leaving for school, in all kinds of weather, in what we would now call “church clothes or dress clothes” and high heels, carrying her briefcase and speech bag, looking like a model out of a magazine.
Betty was not only an educator and homemaker. She excelled in anything that she tried. She could sew a cross stitch masterpiece that looked like artwork, as beautiful on the back as it was on the front. She could knit a dress or make a suit that rivaled store bought clothes. She sewed many of her daughter’s clothes and put many a patch on blue jeans for her son with love. He had one magnificent pair that was patched so much it was like “the coat of many colors”.
She was an artist and could paint beautifully. She took after her mother and was a great cook and loved to cook for church meals at Lonoke Baptist Church.
She and LH were amazing dancers and had their own unique versions of the jitter bug. They would often move all the furniture back and dance for their kids and their friends. Her house was always open when her family was growing up and she made everyone welcome.
She loved to sing and enjoyed singing with her church choirs in Norman and Lonoke. Betty was an avid reader, especially these past ten years and loved to tell others the stories that she was reading. She and her son, David had many a talk sharing what books they were reading. She sometimes read four or more books a week. She was the kind of person who looked up any word that she did not know and learned it. She received a calendar every year for Christmas with a new vocabulary word each day and she relished mastering them all. She never tired of educating herself. She was adept at the computer and surfed the internet regularly. In her later years she used an I Phone and communicated with family and friends by email, texts, Facebook and Face Time with ease. She was constantly in touch with current events and an avid follower of politics. We sometimes had to tell her to quit watching the news these past few years because she would get too worked up. She was a defender of the people and taught her children to respect differences in others and to stand up for justice. She was a lifelong Democrat and stayed true to her concerns for ALL people her whole life.
She was a wonderful wife and partner to her husband LH and spent 10 years lovingly caring for him at home after he developed Alzheimer’s. A true labor of love.
Betty never met a stranger and she could strike up a conversation and develop a rapport instantly. She continued to do that up until her last days.
We wish to thank the wonderful staff of The House of 3 who became true family to her in the last year. She dearly loved her caregivers & they her. We also want to thank Kindred Hospice for the care and support that they have given the family and House of 3 in the past weeks.
A Memorial service and Life Celebration will be held at a later date when family from out of state and friends can once again gather together safely. In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial donation to The Lonoke Scholarship Foundation, 221 West Holly, Lonoke, AR 72086, an organization that Betty has supported and helped build for many years because she knew the importance of our youth and helping further their education.