Obituary of Bettie Ruth Thompson Pitcock
Bettie Ruth Thompson Pitcock was born on July 5, 1928 in Williamson, West Virginia, to Bruce and Lemma Thompson. Bettie was the youngest child and was loved dearly by her siblings and parents and extended family. Growing up at a time when there was no television, newspapers provided news and the radio provided news and limited entertainment. Bettie did not recall much of an impact from the great depression, the coal fields of southern West Virginia did not provide much prosperity, but people did their best to scratch out a living. Her father owned a Piggly Wiggly grocery store that provided a good family living and a thousand interesting stories. They did not have a car but had memories of riding in the back of her Daddy’s truck to visit Grandparents “down in the country,” primarily in extremely remote Wayne County, her father’s place of birth. Later on, when women began to drive, her aunts would drive to her mother’s place of birth, Ashe County, North Carolina. North Carolina was heaven to all, beautiful mountains, the New River and farms and food to die for. Best of all, no coal dust, trains or trucks.
Things changed in Bettie’s life dramatically when WWII broke out, bringing excitement, jobs and prosperity to Williamson and the region. Bettie always remembered baseball bringing minor league teams to Williamson and meeting Stan Musial. Bettie had wonderful childhood memories and graduated from Williamson High School and eventually matriculated to Marshall University. Shortly after her time at Marshall, Bettie met and almost immediately married Bill Pitcock of Matewan. Bill and Bettie and first son Johnny, soon welcomed son Tommy and the family was set. Life was perfect in their eyes and for the most part never changed.
A significant change to the region happened with the coming of strip mining to the coal industry. Jobs were lost and the landscape was destroyed causing what was to become many years of catastrophic floods to the area. Later in the 1950’s following major floods, Bill and Bettie sold the family business, Pitcock’s Paint and Hardware in Matewan and moved the family to Athens, WV, to fulfill their dream of finishing college. They were in their mid 30’s when they entered Concord College, a small teacher’s college, and together taking all the same classes, with an elementary school son and one in Junior High, obtained their Elementary Education degrees after four glorious years for the family. After graduation they moved to Nokomis, FL, following her parents who had moved to the area to retire about the same time she had moved to Athens. Bettie began her teaching career at Venice Elementary School and Bill began at Nokomis Elementary in the fall of 1963. The area, the weather, the family connections and her new home, friends and career, were the beginning of 62 years of a beautiful life in Florida.
Bill and Bettie lived a lovely, full life joined by family and best friends Earl and Elaine Blackburn and always centered at her church The Venice Nokomis United Methodist Church. Following her retirement Bettie volunteered at the church Bargain Center on Miami Avenue in Venice. The Bargain Center was the center of life for more than 30 years, where she repaired watches, made and repaired all the jewelry and made dozens of friends including her very special friend Maureen Skidmore. Following Bill’s death in the early 2000’s, Bettie traveled the world with the Merry Methodists always rooming and scheming with Maureen.
Bettie’s life story has to include the time and relationships that followed the death of her beloved sister Darlene at a very young age. Darlene left four children, Jim, Linda, Mike and Mark Mamone, mostly in their teens and without a mother. Aunt Bettie filled that void with love and devotion until her death nearly 55 years after her sister’s. All of the Mamone children were able to visit and say goodbye to Aunt Bettie shortly before, even days before her death. Love filled their hearts, and it was a blessing for us all. Niece Linda Mamone Bordas, who essentially became Bettie’s sister and she, Linda’s mother, took Aunt Bettie on numerous trips around the world including seeing penguins at the bottom of the world in New Zealand. Their relationship was as close as humanly possible and a joy for all the family to share.
Bettie was preceded in death by her parents, husband Bill, sister Darlene and brother Bruce Jr. and her beloved Grandson, Joshua Wilds Pitcock of Lawrenceville, Georgia. She is survived by her loving sons John (Peggy) and Tom (Ann) her granddaughters Erin Woods (Justin) and Sarah Lohnes (Zeb) and three great grandsons Barrett and Lawson Woods, Henry Lohnes and a great granddaughter, Lauren Rich (parents Jason and Keri Rich). Finally, Bettie is survived by many friends and special cousins Sawyer and Ginny Ramsey.
Bettie leaves life with no regrets and nothing left to give. She gave her all. There is no sadness, she lived entirely on her own terms and timetable, and only left love in the hearts of those lucky enough to call her friend, Aunt, Cousin or Mom. She will certainly bring a spark of life to Heaven, and she will be received with open arms by so many at long last. God Bless you sweet Bettie.
A celebration of life will be held on January 19, 2024 at 11:00am, at First Brethren Church, 150 N. Shade Ave., Sarasota, FL 34237. A reception will follow at the church. Memorial contributions in Bettie’s honor may be made to the Salvation Army or a charity of your choice. Farley Funeral Home in Venice is handling the arrangements. To send a memory or condolence please visit www.farleyfuneralhome.com.
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