Betty S. Hanlon

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Betty S. Hanlon, 96, died Monday afternoon, November 22, 2010, in Providence Place, Chambersburg, PA, her home since 2002.

A retired school teacher, Betty began teaching in the public schools of Rockingham County, VA, after two years of college at Bridgewater College and Madison College. As her husband Pete was transferred to various sites with the U.S. Forest Service, she continued her college work at Temple University while she taught in suburban Philadelphia schools. She eventually graduated from Western Carolina University. After teaching at Asheville Country Day School, she finished her teaching career at Fairview Elementary School in North Carolina.

Betty was an active member of Fairview's Sugar Hollow community. She and Pete were avid gardeners. She was responsible for herbs and flowers, which grew in abundance in their terraced mountainside plot. She was an excellent cook, and their fruits and vegetables never went to waste: They generously shared their produce with Sugar Hollow neighbors. And Betty's flowers often graced neighbors' weddings and Sunday services at the Fairview Christian Fellowship, of which Pete and Betty were charter members. Betty also canned and fresh-froze many of their garden products. She had a hard time meeting the extended family's demand for her world-class bread-'n-butter pickles. Their Sugar Hollow garden was featured in the June 1990 issue of National Gardening in Jim Wilson's article "Mountain Grown."

In her retirement, Betty served as a volunteer aide in the Asheville hospitals. She was particularly caring for colostomy patients: Her life was prolonged for decades by her own irreversible colonectomy. She was also an active volunteer in Fairview's Meals-On-Wheels Program.

Betty was born in Titusville, PA on October21, 1914, the fourth of six siblings to Frank and Barbara Sherback. Her parents migrated to Pennsylvania from eastern Europe; her father labored in in Pennsylvania's coal mines. Following her mother's death in the 1918 flu epidemic, Betty and her three sisters were taken into the farm home of Jensen and Nellie Smith of Grand Valley, just outside of Titusville. Besides rearing her own five daughters, Nellie served as a foster parent for over 100 wards, receiving from the state or county one dollar monthly for each child in residence at a given time. Nellie saw to it that Betty and her sisters received high school educations. She arranged for Betty to attend high school in Sheffield, and then found Betty residence with a medical doctor in Warren, PA, where Betty was in her second year of nursing school when she met Pete, who was working in a nearby CCC camp. They were married on Thanksgiving Day 1934. Pete's CCC and Forest Service assignments brought them to Pocahontas County, WV, on the Monongahela National Forest and eventually to the North Carolina National Forests.

Betty has two sons- Jim of Chambersburg, PA and Tom of Baton Rouge, LA. She has five grandchildren-grandsons T.R. of Baton Rouge; Peter of Wadsworth, OH; and Patrick of Irvington, NY; and granddaughters Alexandra Kolb of Meadowbrook, Huntington Valley, PA, and Erica Hanlon of Chambersburg. She has seven great-grandchildren.

The Hetrick Bitner Central Pennsylvania Cremation Society is handling final arrangements. A memorial service for Betty and Pete will be held for friends and family next spring on Cheat Mountain in West Virginia.

In her final days, Betty frequently voiced her profound gratitude for care-givers from Providence Place and Lutheran Hospice. Memorial contributions are welcome to Lutheran Hospice at 2700 Luther Drive Chambersburg PA 17202. Memorial condolences can be made at

Published in Public Opinion from Nov. 27 to Nov. 28, 2010
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