Elizabeth (Bettye) Fisher Wilson passed away peacefully surrounded by her children on April 27, 2019.
She is survived by her younger sister and best friend Myra Smith; her children Robert Wilson (Anne), Katherine McDonald (Jeff) and Amy Wilson; her grandchildren Douglas Wilson (Jordan), Nurrie Wilson, Michael Byars (Sarah) and Katherine Byars and great-grandson Silas Wilson. She is also survived by a host of devoted family members in Starkville including her husband’s family William (Billy) and Beverly Wilson, Sara Wilson and Gail and Harry Ballard. She will also be remembered fondly and missed by numerous nieces and nephews, cousins and many, many long-time friends.
Bettye was born in Memphis, TN on June 17, 1933 and grew up in Sherard and Clarksdale, MS where she graduated high school. She went on to attend and earn a Bachelor’s degree in music in 1953 from what was then Southwestern at Memphis, now Rhodes College. Bettye married the love of her life, James Robert Wilson (Jimmy) in 1954 and they were happily married for 63 years until his death in 2017. They settled in Starkville, MS where they began raising their family. Though Jimmy’s work took them to other locations in MS and LA to live periodically, they returned to Starkville when he retired in 1994 and re-connected with extended family and friends for their remaining years. Upon her return, Bettye became an active member of the Newcomers’ Club and enjoyed her Ladies’ Lunch Bunch and Book Clubs.
Bettye loved music, played the piano regularly at church and elsewhere and taught piano lessons over the years to many students, including her own children (miraculously). Highlights of her musical studies while in college included a stint playing the piano in the lobby of The Peabody Hotel in Memphis and a summer spent in the San Francisco Bay area with renowned teachers. She also taught music for several years at Maben High School.
Bettye is a descendant of the Hogan family which was instrumental in establishing the First Methodist Church in Starkville and she was proudly active in the church in many capacities over the years, including teaching at the kindergarten program there.
Bettye and Jimmy also enjoyed Mississippi State sports and attended numerous football and baseball games as well as other events at the University, always sporting the maroon and white. They enjoyed many family vacations across the Gulf of Mexico, from Florida to Texas and were lucky to experience trips together to several locations across the US and to the Caribbean.
Until her final days, Bettye continued to flash her infectious smile and warm the hearts of everyone she touched. Though we will miss her terribly, we have so many cherished memories of our time with her as a sister, mother, sister-in-law and friend and are comforted that she is once more with her beloved Jimmy.
Upon her death, Bettye is reunited with her husband Jimmy, her parents Leslie and Katherine Fisher and her loving stepmother Gerry Fisher.
Visitation is scheduled for Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, with the funeral service immediately following at 11:00 a.m. Rev. Giles Lindley will conduct the service. Burial will be in Oddfellows Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to: First United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 2585, Starkville, MS 39760.
You can leave the family a condolence at: www.welchfuneralhomes.com.