Betty A. Murray died peacefully after a brief illness on November 22, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware at the age of 93.
Betty is survived by sons James (Margot), W. Gary (Sue) and Dean (Kim) and daughters Nancy Carney and Donna (Ken). She was the treasured matriarch of a family of thirteen grandchildren and twenty-one great-grandchildren, and was the beloved “Aunt Betty” to many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband Bill, brother Walter Mitchell and sisters Mildred, Mariah, Charlotte and Elva Joyce.
Betty was born in August, 1927 in Salisbury, Maryland to Ruth and Walter Adkins. She graduated from Pittsville High School as the president of its senior class of 1944. Following high school, she worked on WWII’s Home Front making soldiers’ uniforms. The end of the war brought what was perhaps the most successful blind date in history, as Betty met her future husband Bill while he was still in uniform after returning from service in Europe. They were soon wed in 1946 and began to share 72 years of marriage until his passing in 2018 – also at the age of 93. In 1957, the couple moved from Pennsylvania to Naamans Gardens into a home that they largely built together. They lived there for more than 60 years, raising their five children. Betty was extremely proud that she and Bill were able to send all five of their children to the University of Delaware, from which each graduated without student debt.
After her husband’s retirement, Betty and Bill traveled America from Alaska to Florida in their Airstream trailer, making friends wherever they went. Her grandchildren fondly recall the special attention that came from being chosen for their turn to accompany them on one of their trips. She and Bill were avid square dancers as members of the Pi-R-Squares and Roving Squares dance clubs, where the couple made lifelong friends. For more than 63 years, Betty was an active and dedicated member of Chester Bethel United Methodist Church, where she was a regular cheerful presence in the church’s Thrift Shop.
Betty set an example of what it means to be a loyal and caring friend; she made friends easily and kept them forever. Her impressive memory was legendary; she was the keeper of the family’s oral history and never forgot a grandchild’s or great-grandchild’s birthday. More impressive was her capacity for expanding her circle of love to include each new spouse and addition to family. She was never happier than when eagerly cradling each newborn. Most of all she was an icon of unbounded and unconditional love; she leaves a legacy of kindness, self-sacrifice, thoughtfulness and support.
In light of the current pandemic restrictions, the family has decided not to hold a Memorial Service. Interment will be private at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, where she will rejoin the love of her life.
Those wishing to honor Betty may do so by sending a donation to Chester Bethel United Methodist Church, 2619 Foulk Road, Wilmington Delaware 19810.
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