Betty Lee Massey Johnson passed away August 2, 2017
Betty Lee Massey Johnson passed away on August 2, 2017 at Circle of Life Hospice in Springdale, Arkansas after a difficult but valiant battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 81 years old.
Betty was born in Jackson County, Arkansas on August 19, 1935 to Mildred Largent Massey and Roy Lee Massey.
Betty graduated from Tuckerman High School in 1953. She worked at
Newport Hospital as an aide for several years before she became
a full time wife and mother. She married Willard Raymond Johnson of Old Glaise Arkansas on April 29, 1955. They made their home near the banks of the White River in Old Glaise and there they raised 3 daughters. Betty loved gardening, and later in life became a Master Gardener. She helped tend the fruit orchards planted by her husband and father in law. In an era of frozen dinners and boxed cake mixes, she preserved fruits and vegetables from the garden by freezing and canning. A common summer sound in the home was the weighted gauge rattling on the pressure cooker vent as hundreds of quarts of tomatoes, green beans and pickles were canned. Betty loved reading, sewing and spending weekends on Greers Ferry Lake with her family. Dauphine Island, Alabama was a favorite spot for family vacations, where everyone enjoyed camping, fishing and swimming. During her later years she walked, biked and worked jigsaw puzzles everyday. Betty passed on all these passions to her daughters.
Betty decided to go to college when she was 40 years old. She commuted an hour and half to ASU in Jonesboro, AR daily for 2 years where she attended the College of Nursing while maintaining her full time role as a wife and mother. She received her associate degree in nursing in1978. She worked as a CCRN certified critical care nurse for Harris Hospital in Newport until her retirement.
Betty shared her husband’s strong devotion to the church. Both were active members of Old Glaise Missionary Baptist Church and Newport First Baptist Church. She loved teaching Sunday School and singing in the choir. In spite of the many memory challenges posed by Alzheimer’s, her identifications as a nurse and a Christian stayed with her until the end.
Her husband, Willard Johnson, parents, Mildred and Roy Massey, sister, Corrine Massey Conner Soris of Hot Springs and her mother and father in law, Henry and Ruby Johnson of Old Glaise, preceded her in death.
She is survived by her daughters, Janie Johnson Agee and her husband Dr. Kim Agee, Pam Johnson Rainwater, Kay Johnson Lewis and her husband Jay Lewis, and four grandchildren, Jason Murphy, Alisa Scates, Casie Tims Gott and her husband Stephen Gott, and Alison Tims. All live in Fayetteville, AR.
A family service will be held at St Paul’s Episcopal church in Fayetteville, and a memorial service will be held this fall at Old Glaise Baptist Church, details to be announced.
The family wishes to thank Circle of Life Hospice for the loving care and family support. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Circle of Life Hospice, Springdale, Arkansas.