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Asheville - Elizabeth 'Betsy' Jeschke Montgomery (88) died on October 11, 2013. She was born May 3, 1925 in South Bend, Indiana to beloved parents Woodard and Doris Jeschke of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
With her sister, Barbara, Betsy attended public schools in Milwaukee and college at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. While at DePauw she joined the synchronized swimming team and was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. There she met the love of her life, Wayne Montgomery. Betsy and Wayne were married in Milwaukee on October 19, 1946.
She and Wayne moved to Detroit where Wayne entered Medical School at Wayne University. Son Swope was born in 1948 and Woody in 1950. The next move was to Memphis where Wayne entered Campbell Clinic for residency school, and Ann was born in 1952. Betsy returned to Milwaukee in 1953, while Wayne served in the Navy Medical Corp in Japan. Jane was born in June that year.
Betsy and Wayne moved to Asheville in 1955. Mary was born in 1956. Betsy was active with the Junior League and volunteered to paint murals in the local schools. She later painted sets for puppet shows at the Asheville Community Theatre, and she continued her love of painting and art throughout her life.
With Swope and Woody playing sports every afternoon, Betsy was concerned that there were few athletic activities for girls. In 1963 she began coaching AAU swimming for girls and boys and would continue for the next 15 years, developing several nationally ranked swimmers including daughter Mary who swam in both the Pan Am games and 1972 Olympics in Munich Germany. In 1969 she started the swim team at UNC Asheville and coached for five years. In 2002 Betsy was elected to the Western North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
Betsy and Wayne believed in the benefits of physical activity. She and Wayne swam every morning and Betsy played tennis three days a week. In those very busy days, Betsy's priority was to her family, taking care of the home, the swim team and her art. The kitchen was where neighborhood kids and friends flocked, and Betsy made sure everyone from every walk of life was always welcome.
Wayne retired from orthopedics in 1993 and he and Betsy enjoyed an active phase of travel, weddings, hosting family and grandchildren at their home at 55 Sunset Parkway. Betsy loved their trips to Longboat Key, Florida, but always she loved her family and friends- and we in turn love her still, and celebrate the person she was and the life she led.
Surviving are her husband of 67 years, Wayne S. Montgomery; sons, W. Swope Montgomery (Jamestown, NC), Woodard Page Montgomery (Fairfax, VA); daughters, Ann Elizabeth Sims (Asheville, NC), Jane M. Whetsell (Bethesda, MD) and Mary Montgomery (Asheville, NC). There are 14 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
Please join the family of Betsy Montgomery for a visitation on Friday, Dec. 6, 5:30-7pm, at Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian, Long Shoals Road, and a Celebration of Life service on Saturday, Dec. 7, 10:30am at Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian, Long Shoals Rd.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Black Mountain Home for Children, 80 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711.
The memorial register is available at grocefuneralhome.com.
Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
1401 Patton Avenue Asheville, NC 28806
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, 2013