SHELBY-Betty Rose Abernathy Heath, 85, of Shelby, died Nov. 17, 2012, at Hospice.
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Born in Salisbury, on Oct. 6, 1927, to John F. Abernathy and Gladys Wise Abernathy, she spent most of her life in Shelby. She was a straight-A student and valedictorian of her 1944 Shelby High School class. She attended Women's College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC at Greensboro) for two years. She then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the school year 1946-47 during the era when very few women attended Carolina. In 1947, she married Charles Heath and was married for 30 years. She was a part-time bookkeeper and secretary for Heath and Associates and later worked for the City of Shelby in the Community Development department during the late 1970's and 1980's.
One of her passions was history. She enjoyed genealogy and especially loved historic preservation. She was very active in historic preservation and well known throughout N.C. for her work. As a result, in 2000, she was presented the Lifetime Preservation Achievement Award by the Historic Shelby Foundation. At her 80th birthday in 2007, she was given a key to the city by the mayor in recognition of her community contributions. She also loved the time she spent with her parents, children and grandchildren at her property in the mountains near Mount Mitchell.
Betty Rose had an independent spirit and was a wonderful, caring daughter to her parents, as well as a devoted and loving wife and mother. She was a faithful Christian and spent many years teaching Sunday school and sharing her love of Christ. Her legacy lives on through her children, grandchildren, and great granddaughter.
She is predeceased by her parents and by her brother, John Howard Abernathy.
She is survived by her sister Doris Abernathy Putnam of Charleston, S.C.; her daughter, Janice Heath Chuk of Alameda, Calif.; son, Brian Heath and wife Kimball Martin Heath of Charlotte; and son, Scott Heath and wife Angela Nalley Heath of Shelby.
She is also survived by grandchildren, Neal Heath and wife Lauren Oliver Heath of Nashville, Tenn.; Dan Heath and wife Jessica Woody Heath of Charlotte; Connor Heath of Charlotte; Hadley Heath of Washington, D.C.; Amanda Lake Heath of Shelby; and great granddaughter, Hannah Reagan Heath of Charlotte.
Visitation: The family will receive friends from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday at Westview Baptist Church
Funeral Service: 2 p.m. Friday at Westview Baptist Church
Burial: Cleveland Memorial Park, immediately following the service
Funeral Home: Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the family
Memorials: Gifts may be made to Preservation North Carolina, P.O. Box 2, Shelby, N.C. 28151 or to the Historic Shelby Foundation, P.O. Box 2321, Shelby, N.C. 28151
A guest registry is available at www.cecilmburtonfuneralhome.com
CECIL M. BURTON FUNERAL HOME and CREMATORY
106 CHERRYVILLE RD. SHELBY, NC 28150-4208
Published in Shelby Star from Nov. 21 to Nov. 22, 2012