Betty Tyson Mallory, 89, passed away Thursday, May 2, 2013.
Betty was the daughter of the late Raymon and Lena Thomas Tyson, and was born at 415 West Tenth St. and reared in Greenville. She was known as "Lefty" while a star basketball player at Greenville HS graduating in 1941. She was a lifeguard and beauty queen at the Greenville pool as a teen.
Betty was a war bride marrying Robert Stark "Bob" Ligon, (USMC) at Jarvis Memorial UMC in 1944. They moved to Arkansas after World War II. From there they went to West Texas spending 14 years in Pecos and Odessa. She was a swim teacher many of the summers in West Texas, a Cub Scout den mother and Brownie leader, a Sunday School teacher and a member of the church choir all of her adult life. She made all six of her children take piano lessons, learn how to sing hymns and become competitive swimmers. In 1967, the family moved to Phoenix, Ariz., where they resided for 14 years.
In 1984 she moved back to North Carolina as the housemother at a professional tennis camp for girls in Hendersonville. She met her second husband, Jim Mallory, and returned to Greenville in 1985. She became active in St. James UMC and Brook Valley CC at that time.
Betty was the mother of six loved children, Stark, and wife, Marianne, of Little Rock, Ark., is a former Arkansas judge and is now the head of the state bar disciplinary commission. His two children are Sarah Beach and husband, Kevin, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and Stark of Portland, Ore. Ross and wife, Ellen, is a Baptist missionary in Nigeria. Their children are Miriam Christy and husband, Steve, of Peru and Daniel and wife, Molly, of Springfield, Mo. Drew is a resident of Greenville. Gray and husband, Gerhard, of Cary is a retired professor and self employed with a son, Grant and wife, Sun, also of Cary. Brooke resides in Fort Worth, Texas. Grant and wife, Mary Liz, is a financial analyst at Graybar Electric in New Orleans, and has a daughter, Avery. Betty had ten grandchildren; and twelve-great grandchildren.
Betty was a world traveler having spent months backpacking in Europe with daughter Gray and her 60th birthday on a cruise to Alaska, which she visited many times. She was a tour guide to the National Parks out West and had climbed Mt. Whitney and floated the Grand Canyon five times. For 20 years she drove cross-country every summer to visit her mother in Greenville. At age 47 she spent 25 days in an NC Outward Bound course teaching the much younger students how to pluck a chicken for dinner and how to survive in the wilderness. She walked faster than any of her children until she turned 80.
She was also proud of her physical education degree from Arizona State University in 1973. She began college at age 45 and graduated at 50. For two years after that, she taught P.E. at an elementary school in Phoenix. She was a skilled hiker, camper, and tennis player (winning the NC Senior Olympics double titles at age 80) and golfer at Brook Valley Country Club until a few months ago. She also enjoyed bridge and driving anywhere with her friends and family. On the last day of her life, she ate her favorite lunch at the cafeteria and had her favorite chocolate Frosty followed by a drive with daughter Gray by her childhood home and her home of 30 years at 1905 Forest Hill Drive. She expressed her love for her friends and family and said that she had had a wonderful life.
The family expresses sincere gratitude to Dr. Ken Steinweg of ECU and the fine folks at Cypress Glen, who made Betty feel so special in the five weeks she lived there. She was able to spend the last week of her life volunteering at her favorite church activity, Spring Fling, at St. James UMC, where she was an usher at the 8 a.m. service last Sunday. Please remember her in your thoughts and pray that she has chocolate every day in heaven. She did not want a public service.
Online condolences at www.wilkersonfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Daily Reflector on May 5, 2013