Bettye Jane (Potter) Waldrip of Norman, Oklahoma passed away at the age of 92, on September 6, 2020.
She was preceded in death by her husband Howard Waldrip of Norman, Oklahoma; three brothers: Jack Potter of Marshall, TX; Bobby Joe Potter of Marshall,TX; Wendell Potter of Tyler, Texas; her parents, W.D. “Alex” Potter and Addie (Carr) Potter of Tyler, Texas.
She is survived by her brother Bill Potter of Menard, Texas; her sister-in-law Bobbie Ferguson of Grapevine, Texas; her children: Julie Ewing of Norman, Oklahoma; Steve Waldrip and wife, Christine Price of Aptos, California. She is also survived by six grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren: Rudi Price-Waldrip and husband, Shane Yonston (daughter: Sage); Jenny Price (daughter: Ruby) and husband, Tom Naimoli; April Ewing McBride and husband, Donnie McBride (children: Christy, William, Joshua, Julianna, and John David); Darcey Ewing Segers and husband, Clay Segers (children: Mycah Jane and Shelby); Jonathan Ewing and wife, Lesli Green Ewing (children: Luke, Graham, and Blair); Kevin Ewing; and seven nieces and nephews.
Bettye Potter was born on June 2, 1928 in Marshall, Texas. Her family moved to Tyler in 1934. After graduating from John Tyler High School in 1945, she enrolled in Abilene Christian University. She was chosen “sophomore favorite” and met Howard Waldrip, who had just arrived after serving in the Army Air Corps. They were married on April 3, 1947 and soon moved to Tyler where Howard pursued his career as an interior decorator for 51 years. Together they were charter members of the newly formed Glenwood Church of Christ, which had its first service in 1951.
Bettye was a stay-at-home mom until her two children began pre-school. In 1954 she began work as a secretary for the Glenwood Church of Christ, a position she held for 44 years until 1998. After retirement she wrote the comprehensive history of the Glenwood church, entitled “Forward in Faith for Fifty Years.” Tommy King, one of many ministers she worked with, remarked, “Bettye had given the church a voice from the greetings she extended to callers and to the publications she produced and sent all over the world. I cannot count the times that I have been told by people from far and wide, ‘you have the best church bulletin I read.’ That commitment to excellence reflects Bettye’s desire to give her best in her ministry. But her skills are not her greatest attribute; they are eclipsed by her love for God and for the church. Rarely have I met someone with the depth of love and sincere dedication to the Kingdom that Bettye possesses. She has been such an inspiration to me in teaching me that the church, in its strengths and in its weaknesses, is the Bride of Christ.”
Bettye lived life abundantly, growing herself in many areas:
Because she was such a good listener and easy to talk to, many sought out her presence for the lovely support she offered.
The following is a poem she kept on her heart and shared with others at relevant times:
I walked a mile with Pleasure,
And not a word said She,
But oh, the things I learned
When Sorrow walked with me.
-Robert Browning Hamilton
Bettye had a quiet presence about her. She had endured a lot through her life and exercised a fair bit of strength to get through hard times. In her own quiet way, she was also a “go getter.” Her relationship to her faith was personal, knowing she had Jesus to turn to.
These are some personal reflections she wrote in 2001:
Baptism, marriage, the birth of children and grandchildren – these are all significant, wonderful moments in my life. But these are not the events I wish to write about. For a long time, I have thought about simple or terrible moments that my mind marks as milestones never to be forgotten.
I remember a time around age nine when I became aware of my innate ability (God-given, I now know) to control my life. It was more than a childish “I’ll do it myself,” but a sense that I had power over thought and actions no matter the circumstances.
There were simple moments of joy. When we built our new house in 1962, with all the excitement of newness and finally having two bathrooms, one ordinary day stands out. On a bright summer day as I hung clothes out on my new round (of all things) clothesline, it seemed to be the pinnacle of contentment.
One night, perhaps at the news of some loss or crises (I don’t remember), I felt particularly thankful for a husband’s love and companionship. Our children were both away at college, and I made hot tea and cinnamon toast - such a simple treat - and took them to our little den for an evening of ordinary, but blessed contentment.
Then one Christmas holiday returning from taking our children and their spouses to Longview to eat, I looked down at a pretty ring which Howard had given me, and the whole picture seemed to be “this is as good as it gets.”
But there are darker moments which are deeply impressed on my memory. The sound of my father’s car returning home in the late hours of the night and knowing that he must wake everyone to explain one more time the reason he had to drink.
There were the dreaded events of divorce in the family and other sad events that cannot be understood or corrected, only accepted and forgiven. There was Howard’s diagnosis of cancer. After surgery – we think we got it all, but-. And a year later, with more symptoms – we hope it is lymphoma.
Even these terrible things woven in the fabric of my life have made the good things stand out—total sobriety of an alcoholic father who decided on his own to quit; thirteen and twelve years of remission of Howard’s cancers. Relationships healed. Could it have been prayer? Could it be that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord? Of course!!
Memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be made to:
Eastern European Missions
PO Box 55245
Hurst, TX 76054
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