She faced her final illness as she faced life — with grit, grace, and courage.
Betty was born August 31, 1928, in Whitehead, Ala., to Ollie Englesby and Viney Viola (Lindsey) Bills. Her family moved to the Mississippi Delta in 1940, settling in Ruleville in 1949. She married James Albert “Buddy” Jenkins and they had one son, James Wayne “Butch.” While Butch was Betty’s only son, she had many “adopted” children during her lifetime. She loved them all unconditionally and supported them in pursuing their education and dreams, often offering a sympathetic ear and a place to land when things didn’t work out as planned.
Over the years, Betty owned two cafés in Ruleville. She began work as an employee at Charm Toy Manufacturing and eventually became plant manager until its closure. She worked for the Parole Board and Classification at the Mississippi Department of Corrections and retired in 1995 after 32 years. Betty was a charter member of the Mississippi Association of Professionals in Corrections. Over the years she attended Draughns Business College in Greenwood, Mississippi Delta Community College and Delta State University. But, to anyone who knew her, she held her master’s degree in the School of Life.
She is survived by her son, Butch Jenkins (Elise Dreaden) of Ruleville; sisters Evelyn Smith of Florence, Ala., Flo (Mahlon) Brindley of Bristol, Ind., and Dollie Dick of Madison; one brother, William (Verda) Bills of Ruleville; and sisters-in-law Glenda Bills Hummel of Goshen, Ind., and the late Bertie Kerksey Bills. She also leaves a host of nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews.
She is predeceased by her parents and brothers, Marlon and Deloy Bills and sister, Virginia White. She also leaves behind her precious Gei Gei, her Pomeranian.
Arrangements are by Williams and Lord Funeral Home of Ruleville. Online condolences may be given at www.williamsandlord.com.
Visitation will be Tuesday, October 1, 2013, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Williams and Lord. A visitation will also be held at Ruleville Baptist Church from 1 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, followed by a celebration of her life at 2 p.m.
Memorials may be made to Ruleville Baptist Church, North Sunflower Medical Foundation, or The Beacon Wellness Center, all in Ruleville.
Pallbearers include Ricky Williams, Joe McCoy, Sam Goff, Pete Burnett, Tommy Garner, Lawson Holladay, Doug Russell, Jimmy Haney, Joe Tranum, and Ronald Terrell.
Honorary pallbearers include her nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.