Bettye Givens

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  • "Bettye was a wonderful friend and will be missed on our..."
    - Pierce Horton
  • "What a lady! She was such fun and so missed."
    - Linda D. Walker
  • "I will miss Bettye terribly. She was a friend, mentor and..."
    - Mary Byrd
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Bettye Givens Memorial services for Bettye Givens, 84, will be held April 14, 2012, in Plainview. Mrs. Givens died Friday, March 2, 2012, in Dallas. Mrs. Givens was born Bettye Lou Hammer to Paul and Opal (Damron) Hammer in Plainview on Dec. 10, 1927. She married A.J. Givens on Sept. 25, 1944, in Lubbock. She lived on their farm 12 miles west of Plainview for 68 years. She graduated from Olton High School in 1944 and earned a bachelor's degree at Wayland Baptist College in Plainview. She later earned a master of fine arts degree from Vermont College. She was an accomplished artist, author and playwright. She held numerous art shows in Plainview and Lubbock, and many of her plays have been performed in Plainview and the surrounding area. She has published short stories, articles, essays and poems in books, magazines and newspapers all over the world. Additionally, she authored five novels and two books of poetry. She was the winner of literary awards from Italy, Switzerland and the Philippines, and she was knighted Dame of Grace by the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta in 1976. She gave papers at Cambridge and Oxford in England, in Manila, the Philippines and in Auckland, New Zealand. She served as dean of the fine arts department of Paris American Academy. She was a member of the Dramatist Guild, winner of a fellowship at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos and a finalist from the PEN Texas Fiction award. She founded the summer writing workshop at the Paris American Academy in France and directed it every summer from 1984 to 2010. As president of the World Congress of Poetry, she hosted poets and writers from 35 foreign countries in Plainview for a week in 2002. She was preceded in death by her parents, Paul and Opal Damron Hammer, and her husband, A.J. Givens. Survivors include her daughter, Stacy Cognasi of Dodge City, Kan.; a son and daughter-in-law, Anthony and Nadine Givens of Dallas; grandchildren, Shelly Buehne of Dodge City, Kan., Will Haggard of Dallas, Marshall Huggins and his wife, Martha, of Portsmouth R.I., Katharine Edwards and her husband, Sal, of San Antonio and Austin Givens of Dallas; great-grandchildren, Kyelee Buehne, Sydnee Buehne and Baylee Buehne, all of Dodge City, Lily Haggard of Dallas, and Liam Donovan, Wyatt Huggins and Ramsey Huggins, all of Portsmouth, R.I.; a brother and sister-in-law, Don and Pat Hammer of Decatur, Texas; and a sister and brother-in-law, Jean and Bob Johnson. Memorials may be made to The Leaves, 1230 West Spring Valley Road, Richardson, TX 75080-7703, or at

Published in Plainview Daily Herald from Mar. 7 to Mar. 8, 2012