Memorial Service for Betty Jo
we approach the time for the memorial service, I thought you might like
to read this beautiful tribute that her son Rob wrote:
Jo was born in Bolivar, Missouri on January 22, 1925 to Elmer Holt and
Laura Elizabeth Banks. She was originally one of five sisters
(Mildred, Gladys, Beulah, Bea and Alice), and one brother (Tally).
Beulah and Tally died in the 1918 flu epidemic. Betty Jo had one
younger sister, Esther (known as Peggy Sue). All siblings preceded
her in death.
Elmer was an itinerant Southern Baptist preacher. Laura raised
the children on a farm. Laura died of a cerebral hemorrhage when
Betty Jo was 14, and she went to live with a family from her father's
church until she graduated high school, at which time she moved to
Kansas City and worked as a secretary.
Betty Jo met Robert Kendall Brown when he returned to Kansas City at
the end of World War II, after serving in the Navy as a radioman on the
U.S.S. Enterprise. They were introduced by Bob's cousin, Wanda
Brown, whom was a close friend of Betty's. They had an intense and
speedy courtship, and married on July 5, 1946.
The early years of their marriage were spent in remote, rural locations
in the Midwest, where Bob worked for the national weather service of
federal government. They later moved to Denver, where they lived,
as Betty described, on the second story of a one story house.
While in Denver, Betty was pleased to be near her sisters, Bea,
and for a short time, Mildred and Alice, as well as their
children. Her oldest niece, Wanda Hall, lived with them for a
In 1955, Bob and Betty moved to Los Angeles for the
weather. Betty worked as a legal secretary. She experienced
multiple miscarriages due to endomitriosis, and while in the process of
adopting a baby boy from Chicago, She became pregnant with her only
child, Robert Kendall Brown, Jr., born on April 12, 1960 after fourteen
years of marriage.
Shortly after Rob's birth, the family moved to La Mirada, where Betty
enjoyed being a homemaker. It was in La Mirada where Betty met
Marcelyn Porter, the mother of Rob's lifelong friends Clegg and
Jay. In 1967, the family moved to Fullerton, followed in 1968 by
the Porters. Betty and Marcelyn's friendship endured for over 50
When Rob entered high school in 1974, Betty began working as the
secretary for the Assistant City Manager of La Habra, and helped run the
California Employment and Training Act program. She worked for
City of La Habra for ten years, and was proud of her work training
people on government assistance with job skills allowing them to become
After a long battle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, her
beloved husband of 38 years died on November 29, 1984. Betty had
cared for Bob throughout his illness, mostly on her own as Rob was away
at college and then law school on the east coast. Bob was the love
of her life, and she never considered dating or remarrying after his
Upon her retirement, Betty enjoyed bridge, travel and being involved
with her church. In 1992, upon the birth of her only grandchild,
Katherine Alexandra Brown, Betty enjoyed being an involved grandma,
spending as much time with "Lexi" as possible.
Betty loved her family and friends. Over the course of her adult
life, she enjoyed hosting parties, particularly holiday parties where
her family could gather together and enjoy each other.
Betty will be missed for her "tell it like is" candidness, her sharp
sense of humor and her love of God and life.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Emmanuel Episcopal Church or to www.teenleadershipfoundation.com.