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Mary Elizabeth Lang (Betty) THORNE


1925 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Mary Elizabeth Lang (Betty) THORNE Obituary
THORNE, Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Lang

Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Lang Thorne died peacefully in her home on May 13, 2014 at the age of 89 years. The daughter of Mary Clotfelter and John Lewis Lang, she was born in Athens, Georgia on Valentine's Day, 1925.

The eldest of five children, Betty was a born nurturer and caretaker. She had very fond memories and spoke often of her Georgia childhood with her parents, close siblings, three aunts and very special cousins. Even as a young child she had a strong work ethic, baking and selling cakes at her grandfather's farm stand at the age of 12 and then selling shoes at a neighborhood department store while attending Athens High School. She worked her way through college as a librarian at the University of Georgia, graduating in 1944, with a major in Nutritional Science. Betty completed an internship in Dietetics at Duke University on full academic scholarship, where she met and fell in love with her husband, Dr. George Clifford Thorne. They were married at Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Athens and moved initially to Cincinnati where Clifford completed his pediatric training. They then settled in Austin where he started a practice in Pediatrics and Betty became a devoted mother and home-maker.

Betty was a dedicated volunteer in the Junior League of Austin, serving as Provisional Chair, and at Casis Elementary School where she was a library volunteer for many years. She had a love of reading and a desire to share her appreciation of literature that began in childhood and continued during her years as a librarian at UGA, as a Casis volunteer, and throughout her life.

She became a member of The Church of the Good Shepherd in 1953, the year the main church was built, and remained a devout member during her entire life in Austin. She saw many family members baptized, christened, and married in the church.

Betty's love and passion in life was her family. Her selfless generosity and positive attitude created the foundation and heart of a close-knit family. She found her greatest joy in time shared with her family. Betty and Clifford were ardently proud of their four children, all of whom are dedicated physicians and loving siblings, parents, and aunts and uncles. Most of all, Betty loved visits and calls from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, in whom she took utter delight and gave each her undivided attention and unconditional love. Each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild felt special and more confident after spending time with Grandmother, and knew that they had their own special place in Grandmother's heart. Her grandchildren treasure memories of her lilting Southern accent, endearingly superstitious sayings and unparalleled fudge pie.

The epitome of a lady, Betty was a loyal friend, especially to her beloved "Sewing Club." This group of close friends supported each other through all of their major life changes and events. Her circle of friends and their families enriched all of our lives.

As was true of so many of her generation, Betty's life was indelibly changed by World War II. In the days and months following September 11, 2001, she hung the American flag on her door and started searching for information about two of her dear college friends who did not return from the European theatre. This quest transformed into a several years journey during which Betty forged many new friendships while researching what happened to her classmates. One of her proudest accomplishments was the assistance she provided in the identification of class members from the first graduating class of Fort Benning for the Memorial Garden Book of Remembrance at the University of Georgia.

She is preceded in death by her loving husband of 50 years, Dr. George Clifford Thorne (1996), by her parents, Mary Clotfelter Lang and John Lewis Lang, and by two brothers, Robert Lewis Lang and David Bruce Lang.

She is survived by her brother Thomas Freeman (Thelma) Lang, sister Anne Lang (Derek) Britton, and sisters in law Joan Lang and Shirley Thorne. She is also survived by her daughter Dr. Jean Murphree and husband Dr. Dennis Murphree of San Antonio, son Dr. George Clifford Thorne, Jr. of Austin, daughter Dr. Julie Thorne Parke and husband Dr. David Parke of San Francisco, and daughter Dr. Nancy Thorne Foster of Austin; by her grandchildren Dr. Dennis (Marine) Murphree, Thomas (Rachael) Murphree, and Michael Murphree; Dr. Will (Dr. Marion) Parke, Laura Parke and Lindsey Parke; and Dr. Catherine Foster, Kimberly (Shawn) Bates and Wayne Foster; and by 6 great-grandchildren Keagan, Kaden, Caleb, Camren, Lauren and Court. She is survived by a host of loving nieces, nephews and very dear friends.

Betty will be forever remembered for her generous heart, the joy she took in her family and friends and as a beautiful woman in every way. She enriched the lives of all who knew her. She found beauty in all things and touched the hearts of her family, friends, and everyone she met. Betty's life was a living testimony to grace.

The family wishes to thank the physicians and staff of Heart Hospital of Austin and wish to give special thanks to her physicians, Dr. Robert Pederson and Dr. Scott Ream.

Those desiring may make contributions to honor Betty Thorne to the Church of the Good Shepherd or the children's .

A private family graveside service will be held on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at Austin Memorial Park Cemetery.

Obituary and guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from May 16 to May 19, 2014
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