Cover photo for Betsy Burton Willis's Obituary
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1937 Betsy 2021

Betsy Burton Willis

June 14, 1937 — July 24, 2021

Betsy Burton Willis, 84 of Columbia, passed away on Saturday, July 24, 2021. The family will receive friends at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. A service will follow at the church and will commence at 11:30 followed by a private graveside interment. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to King’s Daughter’s School, Columbia, Tennessee. Arrangements are being handled by Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Condolences may be extended online at Betsy grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee. She attended Stuart Hall in Stranton, Virginia and graduated from West High School in Knoxville. In her late 50’s she graduated Cum Laude from Mundelein College at Loyola University in Chicago. She was employed for many years as the secretary of First Baptist Church in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee. She was firm in her faith and an active member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Columbia. She was a member of the King’s Daughters of the King, Chi Omega Fraternity, the Junior League of Knoxville, the Girl’s Cotillion of Knoxville, and The King’s Daughters and Sons, Annie White Circle. She also worked for a number of years at C.G. Jung Center of Evanston, Illinois. Her deviled eggs and baked apples will be sorely missed. She is survived by her children, Catherine (Thomas) Towles of Atlanta, Georgia, Cynthia (Michael) Taylor of Triune, Tennessee, Constance (Jay) Cooper of Eads, Tennessee and Michael (Marian) Willis of Columbia, Tennessee; her nephew, Ray (Jennifer) Burton, III of Greensboro, North Carolina; eight grandchildren, Constance (Ryan) Hodges; Virginia (Charles) Ballie Strong, Eleanor Towles, Manly and Catherine Taylor, Hannah Cooper and Elliott and Margaret Willis, as well as her four great-grandchildren, Edward and James Hodges and Lilly and Charlotte Ballie Strong. Betsy is preceded in death by her parents Ray B. Burton and Catherine Routon Burton of Knoxville, Tennessee; her brother, Ray B. Burton, Jr., and a nephew, David VD Burton. Many may not know but Betsy was adopted. Later in life she reunited with her birth family and enjoyed the pleasures of even more extended family for many years. She is further preceded in death by her biological mother, Leoma Curtis of McMinnville and her siblings Jewel (Fred) Kesey of McMinnville, Linda (Allen) Templeton of McMinnville and Raymond Clendenon of McMinnville. She is survived by her sisters, Vivian (Kenneth) Cutler of Rockwell, Texas and Charlene (David) Rhea of McMinnville.


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