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Elizabeth Norworth


1928 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Elizabeth Norworth Obituary
Elizabeth Norworth

Memphis, TN

Elizabeth "Betty" Norworth, 88, was born April 6, 1928 in Merigold, MS to the late Virgil Langston Harrington and Nora Tuttle Harrington. She died January 10, 2017 in Garland, TX, where she lived with her sister-in-law, Juanita Archer Harrington and niece, Elizabeth H. Reneau, who were her caregivers, after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. She was predeceased by her husband of forty-seven years, Ned. N. Norworth, her sisters Louise H. Brooks and Anna Laura H. Adams, her brother Robert T. Harrington and infant Thomas Harrington. She is survived by her brother Virgil Luther Harrington and wife Ann of Newport Beach, CA and 10 nieces and nephews. She was a lifelong member of Merigold Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be sent to The , The Humane Society, , Delta State or . Services will be held at Memphis Funeral Home on Poplar Ave. on Wednesday, January 18 at 2 p.m. the service will be preceded by a visitation from 12-2 p.m. Due to a large number of requests, her burial is delayed until Monday, January 23 in West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery. There will be no graveside service.

Betty graduated from Merigold High School and attended Delta State College. In 1947, she joined her sister, Anna Laura, in working for the FBI. Initially hired as a Stenographer, she quickly became a Stenography Supervisor. During this time, she worked on many cases, including the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 1960, Betty began serving as Secretary to the Special Agent in Charge and served 24 different ones over the next 47 years, one of which, Clarence M. Kelly, became FBI Director. One of those 24 agents, John Hancock, said that Betty has so mastered her job and learned everything about the FBI that she, in fact, trained all of the Special Agents in Charge prior to him, 17 at that time. Upon retirement, she had served a record of 60 1/4 years for the FBI. She never took a sick day. She received the Memphis Women of Stamina Award in 2008. She was on the FBI Bowling Team and sponsored FBI Golf Scrambles.

Betty's favorite hobby was golf, and, like everything else, she was very good at it. She hit a hole-in-one in her 60's and was the first in her golfing family to do so. She was often teased by her golf group that she only worked to sponsor her golf habit. The FBI is happy the women's professional golf tour was not around earlier.

Everyone was drawn toward Betty's smile and her love. She was a mother figure, mentor and hero to so many through the years. Everyone that knew her is a better version of themselves having known her. She was always the kindest person in the room and emitted a southern grace and charm rarely seen today. She showed that the path to inner peace and inspiration is selflessness and unconditional love.

She always smiled.
Published in The Commercial Appeal on Jan. 17, 2017
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