On Sunday, June 25, 1950, in Elgin, Texas, Theodore “Jack” Roosevelt & Lue Velma (Brown) Owens gave birth to their fifth child, a beautiful baby girl, and named her Betty Jean Owens.
Billie as she was affectionately called by family and loved ones grew up and attended Elgin public schools. Being raised in a God-fearing home Billie confessed her love for Christ and was baptized at an early age and remained a devoted member of Weeping Willow Baptist Church of McDade, Tx where she served the Lord faithfully until her health permitted her. Sis. Betty served many roles at The Willow namely Sunday School Superintendent, Secretary of the Mission Department, and held her post on the Usher Board.
On July 4, 1968, Betty married William Edward Smith and to this union, three children were born: George, Christina, and Velma Smith. She later married Wilkie Lee Tanksley on March 31, 1980, and to this union, one child was born: Brent Tanksley.
Betty was a housekeeper and later became a caregiver. She was passionate about caring for the sick and elderly and devoted her time with Girling and Blue Bonnet Home Health Care Agencies. She loved to decorate, entertain and was a great homemaker. Her children, nieces, and nephews remember many trips where her and husband W.L. Tanksley would load them up to go sing at church musicals, out to eat, or spontaneous camping trips to the coast. She was known for her baking, famous watermelon baskets and would be found helping in the kitchen.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents: Roosevelt and Lue Velma Owens. Husband: Wilkie Lee Tanksley, Grandson: Kanyon Lee Simien, and Sisters: Ruthie Williams and Lula Mae Griffin.
Left to cherish her memories are sons: George (Tracie) Smith, and Brent (Rosetta) Tanksley of Elgin, TX. Daughters: Christina Smith and Velma Simien of Elgin, TX. 7 Grandsons: Kerry, La’Runn, Hezekiah, Joseph, Brennen, De’Marcus, and Brent Jr. Stepson: Richie Tanksley of Austin, Tx. Bonus Daughter: Helen Williams. Son-In Law: Donald Gaiter. Siblings: Freddie (Muriel)Owens, Doris (Johnny) Cathey, Norman (Renee) Owens, Clarence (Dora) Owens, and Shirley Lewis. Two Aunts: Veola Palmer and Thelma (Rev. R.D) Williams, and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
She will lie in state at Elgin Funeral Home, Friday, October 8th from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM. A Home-Going Services will be celebrated at Weeping Willow Missionary Baptist Church of McDade, Saturday, October 9th at 11:00 AM with the Reverends, Justin Green and T. L. Garner presiding. Interment will follow at Littig Cemetery.
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