Mary N. BETTS
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Mary N. BETTS
  • February 19, 1927 - April 13, 2017
  • Little Rock, Arkansas

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Mary Nash Betts entered eternity on April 13, 2017, after an extended illness. Mary was born in Madison, Indiana on February 19, 1927 to William Taylor Ross and Rosa McCandlish Saunders. The youngest of three children, she attended Western College of Oxford, Ohio, for two years and then transferred to Vanderbilt University, completing a nursing degree in 1949 and becoming an RN. At Vanderbilt, she met Charles Betts, a medical student at the time. They were married in 1950 and shared a happy married life for 61 years, until his death in 2011.





Mary and Charles lived briefly in Baltimore, Maryland and Rochester, Minnesota before moving to Little Rock in 1958. During most of her life, she pursued domestic concerns, raising three children and supporting her husband’s business and professional activities by helping with his practice and managing real estate. Although Mary had not previously been politically active, she participated in the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open the Schools, following the Central High crisis.





Mary was an avid bridge player and loved playing tennis. As a Masters swimmer, Mary was a national medalist. A lifelong Episcopalian, she was active in three parishes during her life in Arkansas-Trinity Cathedral, St Paul’s-Batesville, and finally St Mark’s-Little Rock. Her participation in the Athena Club of Batesville, a women’s literary society, was also a great joy for her. Her family will especially miss her quick wit and her cheerfulness.





Mary is preceded in death by her husband Charles, brother John, and sister Nancy. She is survived by three children: daughter Leah Pesce, and sons Ross and Craig Betts and their spouses Vince, Lynn, and Claire. At the time of her passing, she had ten grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.





In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St Marks Episcopal Church or the Alzheimer's Association. A service of Christian burial will be held at St Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1000 N Mississippi St., Little Rock, at noon on Friday May 12, with a reception to follow after the service.