Mrs. Betty DeWitt

Elizabeth "Betty" McPherson DeWitt, 83, died Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, at her home in Newnan.

Mrs. DeWitt was born Oct. 8, 1930, in Birmingham, Ala., the daughter of Charles Earl and Pearl McPherson. Her family lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., for a year before moving to Jacksonville, Fla.

Mrs. DeWitt was recognized as a child prodigy on the piano. She graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville at age 16. After graduation, she was employed at Furchgott's Department Store in Jacksonville, where she was selected to be the right hand to the Comptroller. She attended Huntington College in Montgomery, Ala.

Betty McPherson was introduced to Eirvin M. "Toby" DeWitt by his mother upon his return from service in Panama. They were married Jan. 20, 1951.

She became an Army wife who spent most of her early marriage alone while her husband attended Officer Candidate School in New Jersey. She gave birth to their first daughter, Sharon "Sherri" Elizabeth, at St. Albans Naval Hospital in St. Albans, N.Y., Feb. 17, 1953. Immediately thereafter, Toby DeWitt was assigned to the Atmospheric Nuclear Test in Nevada. The DeWitt's second daughter, Karen Sue, was born Aug. 12, 1956, while they were stationed in Okinawa. Karen was later killed in an automobile accident Jan. 3, 2005.

Together, the DeWitt family enjoyed living in Paris, France, for three-and-a-half years while Toby was stationed at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). The family traveled widely in Europe and enjoyed experiencing various cultures and cuisine. Betty often volunteered with school field trips for both girls. She gained a great appreciation of French wine.

Later they loved living in Wiesbaden, Germany. She did not drive or drink coffee when she married. Betty learned to drive with the help of a neighbor and a car full of small children. When she first drank coffee, it had to be laced with cream and sugar. When she attended ladies luncheons, she said the cream and sugar were always at the other end of the table, so she learned to drink and enjoy her coffee black.

Following in her mother's footsteps, Betty was an exceptional seamstress. She made most of her daughters' clothing even after they attended college. She also was an expert at cross stitch and needlepoint, sharing her knowledge and expertise in Newnan, where the DeWitts settled upon Toby's retirement from the Army in 1967. She and her husband ran a telephone answering service for 25 years and operated a stitchery shop in Newnan.

Betty enjoyed being able to put down roots after life in the Army, where they had moved 21 times in 15 years. In Newnan, Betty formed and led a Girl Scout troop for several years. Some of her girls from her troop have kept in touch. She joined and participated in both garden and bridge clubs. She also loved curling up with a good book.

She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Toby; her daughter, Sherri Brown (Dave); her brother, Charles Earl McPherson Jr. (Shirley); three grandsons, Stuart, Matthew and Andrew; a granddaughter, Katie; several nephews and a number of cousins — all of whom have remained close over the years.

Betty was an exceptional woman, wife and mother, and everyone who knew her loved her. She felt she lived an extraordinary life with wonderful blessings in it. She dearly loved her family.

Betty was always happy, and the world was a much better place for having her in it.

She chose to be cremated, and there will be no service. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

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