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1926 Betty jo rogers 2021

Betty Jo Rogers Williams

September 6, 1926 — February 11, 2021

Betty Jo Rogers Williams died peacefully in her sleep February 11th, 2021 in Pineville Louisiana at the age of 94. She was born September 6th, 1926 in Natchitoches Louisiana to Crit and Addie Rogers. Her brothers C.H., Ray, and Donald all predecease her. Raised in Natchitoches her entire life, she graduated in 1941 from Natchitoches Central High School. Betty married Bud Williams October 11th, 1952 and is survived by her children Nancy Williams in Pineville, La and Mark Williams in Natchitoches, La. She received a degree in social work from Louisiana State University in Alexandria and gave 30 years to the Louisiana State Hospital. A loving and generous woman, she leaves behind six grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. Betty throughout her life always shared a soft spot towards animals, was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was known for her enjoyment of garage sales and thrift stores. Visitation for Betty Jo is from 12-2pm Monday February 22nd at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home with a memorial service following directly after. Her internment will be alongside her husband at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches Louisiana. All flowers or donations in care of may be sent to Blanchard St. Denis at 848 Keyser Avenue, Natchitoches Louisiana. Betty Jo Rogers was born September 6th, 1926 in Natchitoches Louisiana. She was the last surviving member of her immediate family-Crit and Addie Rogers her parents, C.H, Ray, and Donald her brothers, but by no means was she the least. Her father was a Meat cutter with his own market on the corner of 5th and Pavie Street. Her mother taught school until the demands of raising three boys and a daughter led her to become a full-time homemaker. The house she was born in was attached to the meat market, and boasted a single window. When her father won a contract to supply meat to the “Normal College,” now Northwestern State University, he used the earnings to build a spacious French Colonial style house on Texas Avenue. Tired of the lonely window of their current home, Betty’s Mother quickly seized the chance to make up for it with the design of their new one. Thirty windows did the trick. As the only girl in the family, Betty grew up doted on. She had a typical southern upbringing, close ties to all relations both immediate and extended, and was raised in the epicenter of socializing there on Texas Street. Turns out thirty windows can hold quite a few people. Betty always seemed to be nursing a chicken or cat back from the grave, and carried this love for animals throughout her life. She loathed Mondays, because Mondays were wash days and there wasn’t much worse than being forced to launder her brothers’ stinky clothes. Except for maybe Tuesdays, when she had to iron those very same garments. Rainy days, however, were by far the best. She and her siblings would gather on the side porch to listen to the thunder while their Mother fried donuts. She began piano lessons at the age of 12. Quite accomplished as a musician, she played in church every Sunday until she was grown. Her favorite cousin was Adrienne Methvin, and together they were best friends and partners in crime. Masters of mischief, no male cousin was safe from the onslaught of pranks family gatherings provided the stage for. The older she grew the prettier she and Adrienne became, as did the trail of broken hearts they left. Behind the beauty however, Betty had a steel about her. She remembered quite clearly the event that forged her generation. A neighbor came tearing into their driveway the afternoon of December 7th, 1941. “Have you heard? Pearl Harbor was just attacked!” The family rushed to the radio on the sitting porch and listened to various reports of, “Japs Attack” and “War! Oahu bombed by Japanese Planes.” She remembered the shock first, then the rage. “There was no fear,” she said, “All anyone wanted to do was beat the shit out of them.” Her two older brothers quickly enlisted to fight for their country, with C.H. eventually laying down his life for the cause. She graduated High School three years later, and attended one year at the Normal College. She and Adrienne, ever the schemers, hatched a plan to elope with their respective beaus to Winnfield over the weekend. Adrienne pulled out at the last moment upon finding out her man had kissed another. Betty Jo was a woman of gumption however, and married Travis Swindol. The pair lived two years in Longview, Texas until fed up with his drinking, Betty moved home and filed for divorce. Betty Jo was always known for being headstrong and convicted, and this set her on a course of independence. She worked in the office of a lumberyard, and saved up enough of her own money to buy a full cherry wood bedroom suit. It was during this time she met Bud. They were both at the Townhouse Restaurant enjoying a night out. Bud was shooting craps when Betty caught his eye. At the time he was working for Morris Tobacco Company, and Natchitoches was on his sales route. He walked over and asked her to dance, and lucky for all of us…she said yes. They enjoyed some dates together, and one evening they sat down to eat at a restaurant. Right away Bud noticed her tense up and grit her teeth. She politely excused herself with pursed lips and walked over to a man sitting at the bar. He watched her lean in and exchange some words. All of a sudden her arm cocked, her fist flew, and the man hit the floor. She casually made her way back to where she and Bud were sitting and asked if he was ready to order. Being a war veteran and by no means a stranger to fierceness, it was in this moment he knew what a treasure he had found. Only later did he find out that the poor bloke had been spreading rumors about Betty Jo, and decided she should have punched him twice. Bud got along well with her two brothers, but the folks were harder to persuade. Being a divorcee himself with two children, they weren’t particularly thrilled by the relationship. In the spring of 1952, they sent her with Skete and Betty Rogers, some very close cousins, to Alaska in hopes for a fresh start. Having nothing to keep him in Louisiana Bud left for California where he had work and family to support him. Betty found work in an office, and enjoyed life in the wild country. Secret letters passed between Skete and Bud during this time, and Skete encouraged him saying, “If you love this woman, you need to come get her.” Bud bought a new vehicle to make the gravel road lined journey to Alaska and surprised her on her doorstep. After a few weeks of spending time together, Betty’s cousins again helped push the young couple along. While she was at work one day, Skete and Betty loaded all of her belongings into the back of Bud’s car. He picked her from work and claimed they were going for a drive. About an hour out of town she turned to him and asked where they could possibly be going to. “Well, we’re heading to California. I packed all of your stuff, and you’re coming with me.” She blinked a few times, gave a shrug, and said okay. They were married in Reno, Nevada October 11th, 1952 and began their life together in Oakland California. Their daughter Nancy was born June 4th, 1953 and Mark was born three years later in July. Homesick for the south and the family ties ingrained within her, the family moved back to Natchitoches in 1959. Bud got a job as a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep in Alexandria, and they settled there. Weekends were spent back at the family home in Natchitoches. Betty helped find land on the Cane River to purchase, and after the big house was cut into two pieces, orchestrated its move to the new plot where it currently resides. Sharp as a tack and ready to prove it, Betty finally finished her degree in Social Work from Louisiana State University in Alexandria. She took a job working at the Louisiana State Hospital where her firm personality and gentle touch helped care for scores of patients in the psyche and behavior ward. As a true testament to her will and character, the work never left her calloused. Instead, she would come home with bizarre stories and a gratefulness for her own family’s health. She and Bud welcomed their first grandchild, Carl Schmidt, in 1977. Nancy and her husband Gordon had Josh two years later. Those who knew her claimed Betty had a knack for making things happen. With her mind set and a purpose to pursue, events always seemed to happened quickly. Wanting land for their own she made a deal for 40 acres on Rigolette Road in 1979. Instead of building a house on the property she had their home stripped of its bricks, hauled to the new plot, and rebricked. It was in this home that grandchildren were taught to shoot in the back pasture, horses were rode, Thanksgiving meals enjoyed, chicken coops tended, and tons of stray cats rescued. Nancy gave the family some girls finally with the births of Addie and Samantha. Mark followed shortly with his daughter Laramie and a few years later his son Crit. Having given 30 years to the state hospital, she retired in 1995. Bud had retired early for medical reasons, and his health had declined in the years since. He passed away before his time May 1st, 2003. From then on Betty lived a quiet life there on Rigolette. Nancy and her family lived just down the road, and remained a source of company, entertainment, and support to the very end. Betty spent her days taking scraps to the aging pony Peanut and his horse companions in the back yard, never missed an episode of Dr. Phil, and always had a tub of Vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream in the freezer much to the joy of her twelve great-grandchildren. Many of whom she helped raise. She was generous and indulgent towards those she loved, and even towards those she was barely acquainted with. She enjoyed thrift shopping and side-of-the-road treasure hunting, and more than one family member may have muttered the word, “hoarder” under their breath while helping her around the house. She had a sarcastic wit, and could be found sipping beer from a wine glass to relax in the evening. March 2016 brought about a flood the likes of which hadn’t been seen in the region for more than a century. The damage forced her to move just up the hill into the little rent house the property held. Despite having congestive heart failure, Betty remained independent and capable long into her twilight years. She lived and died the dream, passing away peacefully in her recliner at the ripe old age of 94. She saw the world remake itself over a dozen times. Nations rose and fell. War and peace wove in and out. Great Depression, Walks on the moon, natural disasters, Elvis Presley, the internet… she viewed it all from a front row seat. Life rippled and bloomed and her presence did the same. If there is a mystery written in the space between decades her soul found it. Just look to the secret dancing behind her smile. How we all will miss it.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, February 22, 2021

12:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home

848 Keyser Ave, Natchitoches, LA 71457

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Funeral Service

Monday, February 22, 2021

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home

848 Keyser Ave, Natchitoches, LA 71457

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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