Betty Jean Keneson Thornton

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Betty Jean Keneson Thornton, 75, of Fannett died at her home surrounded by her family July 21, 2012. Born March 16, 1937, and a lifelong resident of Fannett, Betty Jean was the daughter of Connie Choate Keneson Castleberry and Bill Keneson. Married fifty-seven years, she was a lifelong farmer's wife who with her husband Bobby still managed an active rice farm and ranch. As known to all, she was the constant, unwavering support to both the farm and ranch, as well as her family. She is a descendant of Sevenne Broussard who settled near Taylor's Bayou in the 1800's. Throughout her life she took loving care of the historic Broussard Cemetery where many of her ancestors are buried. Betty Jean was devoted to her family, her Catholic faith and the extended Fannett community. She served for many years as Precinct Judge of Election Precinct No 30 and conducted early voting in the 1980s and 1990s for the Jefferson County Clerk. Her generous heart was always shining brightly throughout the area, as she was always the first person to organize food preparation and give assistance to the sick and families suffering losses of loved ones. Through her devotion to St. Mary's Catholic Church of Fannett, she formed lasting relationships with many parish priests. At the church she served on the Altar Society, organized volunteer cleaning crews for the church and served on the financial committee and taught Catholic Catechism classes. She was proud of her family heritage and gave all of herself to her family and friends. So much of what Betty Jean did for people has never been recorded, but will always be remembered in the hearts of all whom she touched with her kindness. She is survived by her husband, Bobby Thornton of Fannett; daughter, Candy Thornton Melancon and her husband, Gary of Fannett; brother, Brad Keneson and his wife, Valerie of Vidor; and grandchildren, Travis Melancon of Fannett and Ginger Melancon Crowder and her husband, Brandon of San Antonio. The family would like to thank those special caregivers who spent countless hours caring for Betty Jean during the last few months, Dr. Katherine Pisters with M.D. Anderson, Harbor Hospice, and the countless number of family members and friends who came to visit with Betty Jean. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at St. Mary Catholic Church, 9894 Gilbert Road, Fannett followed by burial at Thornton Cemetery in Fannett under the direction of Broussard's, 1605 N Major Drive, Beaumont. A Rosary will be recited 6:00 p.m. Monday, July 23, 2012 followed by a gathering of family and friends at Broussard's. Memorial contributions may be made in Betty Jean's name to St. Mary Catholic Church, Religious Education Department, 9894 Gilbert Road, Beaumont, Texas 77705. Complete and updated information may be viewed at

Published in The Beaumont Enterprise on July 23, 2012
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