Betsy Willis

Obituary of Betsy Willis

Betsy Lawson Willis, age 93, of Poplar Grove Road S., Boone, passed away July 17, 2021 at her home. Ms. Willis was born in South Boston, Virginia on July 28, 1927. Her parents were Vivian Moseley Lawson and Abram Venable Lawson. Her father died by drowning when she was 6 years old. She graduated from Randolph Macon Women's College (now Randolph College) in 1948 and took a bicycle tour of Europe to see the devastation of WWII. She married Charles O. Willis in December of that year. Together they tried farming and lived in Virginia, Florida, Maryland and Washington, DC. Betsy taught school in Boydon, Virginia, and was briefly the principal there. She worked for the Minimum Wage Board in Washington, DC before her only child was born. After that she was a volunteer host for international students, and drove for Meals on Wheels, was Junior and Senior Warden at St. Clement of Alexandria Episcopal Church, where she was active in adult Christian Education. She owned and managed an apartment building in Alexandria during the 70's, learning a lot of construction skills. She was interested in genealogy and wrote two books about her family during that time. In her retirement she moved to Fayetteville, NC and then to Boone, where she taught writing for many years to women in correctional institutions in Tennessee and North Carolina. She co-founded a mentorship program from women called Numina, and helped lead retreats for them, as well as mentoring individuals within the program. She loved teaching Sunday school at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Boone, as well as taking her grandchildren on adventures. She loved to write, and wrote many books about her life, as well as editing books for the St. Luke's Community. She is survived by her daughter, Mary Burton Willis, son in law, John Goodrich, Jr., 3 grandchildren: Adam Goodrich, Peter Coffey and Clara Coffey (Zachary Brindle), and 2 great grandchildren: Finley and Thea Brindle. Memorial services will be conducted Saturday morning, July 24, 2021 at 11 o'clock at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, officiated by Pastor Cindy Banks. Memorial gifts may be made to Amorem (formerly Caldwell Hospice) or to St. Luke's Episcopal Church Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Willis family.
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