Bettie Stephens • December 31, 2022
Bettie J. Ivey Stephens, born to Alva D. and Fannie M. Ivey, June 12, 1933 in Panama City, Florida, passed on December 31, 2022.
Preceded in death by husband of sixty-three years Robert Lee Stephens; parents Alva D. and Fannie M. Ivey; brothers Alvesta L. Ivey, Kenith E. Ivey, Dewey M. Ivey, Robert Lee Ivey; and sister JoAnn Ivey Suess. Survived by sister Marion Francess Lauderdale; children Robert Timothy (Marla), Linda Lois, Tillman Reed (Karen), Michael Kevin (Janet); and many grandchildren, great and great-great grandchildren.
Bettie discovered her love and talent for music, dance, and writing at a young age. She wrote, directed, and sang in many skits in elementary school, and sang with her friend Marie Arnold doing war bond broadcasts on local radio. She worked as a librarian at her school and graduated as an honor student from 8th grade. She also wrote, acted, and sang, doing skits in the summers at 4-H Club camp. During her four years at Tate High School, she sang soprano in Glee Club, second soprano in girls’ chorus, and alto in her church choir. She was feature editor on her school newspaper and editor of her yearbook. She was a majorette in her band and served as drum majorette in her senior year. She also taught baton twirling at Tate Elementary School and marched with her band in the first Fiesta of Five Flags and Childrens’ Parade at Christmas. She was also a member of the Tate Beta Honor Club. She attended college at East Carolina and Pensacola Junior College.
Bettie worked in her churches throughout her life, beginning as a teacher in Vacation Bible School at age fifteen, and teaching every age group of children and ladies. She was VBS Director many years. She served as Youth Director and Outreach Director, Choir Director and directed many church events. She was especially proud to sing “Handel’s Messiah” at the First Baptist Church of Swansboro, NC., and was given three solos.
Bettie loved working with children and was also active in PTA school events. She was a Den Mother of Cub Scouts for nine years and worked as playground supervisor at Geddes Elementary School in San Diego, CA.
In California, she sang with a group called “The Monettes,” which entertained all over the city during the season. She belonged to a community theater group composed of actors, dancers, singers, musicians, magicians, and clowns of all ages who came together and presented a musical play once a year. She also wrote the play for the presentation one year and helped to direct it.
Bettie was very proud and elated to have her book titled “Rhyme and Reason,” a collection of poetry which carried one of her oil paintings on its cover, published by Amazon in 2015. She was a very loving and supportive person to her large family and many friends throughout her life and will certainly be missed.
Funeral services will be held at Lakeview Baptist Church in Pensacola, on Saturday, January 14, 2023, with visitation from 10-11, service from 11-12, & interment to follow at Pensacola Memorial Gardens.
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You will be greatly missed, everyone that had the opportunity to meet you was truly blessed. My condolences to family and friends.