Mrs. Clarice LaVelle Betts, 82, passed away passed away Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, at NHC Healthcare, in Hendersonville, Tenn., after many years of fighting the effects of Multiple Sclerosis.
LaVelle was born Aug. 2, 1935, in Guymon, Okla., during the time of the great dust bowl. At the age of 2, the family moved to the Neosho, Mo. area. She was the youngest of six girls, with a younger brother that followed after the move.
LaVelle's early years were defined by her achievements in school and early work years. As a young girl, she traveled to spend time with her older sisters in larger cities like Detroit, where she was able to see and do many things that were quite different from growing up in a small town in southwest Missouri.
She loved to entertain and her house was the place that friends would gather for special events. Together, with her husband, Gene, she had many adventures, having met three presidents during her life, Truman, Reagan and Carter.
Moving the family multiple times and setting up new households, they lived in Columbus, Ga.; Hamburg, Germany; Los Angeles, Calif.; Albany, Ga.; St. Louis, Mo.; back to Albany, and then to Tulsa, Okla., before retiring to Loma Linda near Joplin, Mo. Her later years would be most well-known by the disease she had, Multiple Sclerosis. Not because of what it did to her, but because of the bravery and lack of self-pity that she displayed in its face and by the love she shared with her husband of 63 years, Gene Betts. She never stopped fighting for her ability to do everything she wanted to do, despite the continuing effects of the disease. The support of her husband was boundless and unceasing and made it possible for her to continue a full life for years far in excess of what any in the medical profession would have considered likely or even possible.
The great tragedy in her life was the unexpected death of her firstborn son, Steve. She said that her heart was broken from that day forward and while she eats, talks and laughs with friends, "I am always crying inside. I will never again, on this Earth, see my son." It is with great joy that she can now celebrate a reunion with Steve in Heaven, which began at 11:15 a.m. on the 23rd of January. She will surely be planning a get-together for the group that is there now and for the rest of us when we ultimately arrive.
LaVelle is survived by her husband, Gene; one son, Doug Betts and wife, Susan, of Laguna Niguel, Calif.; three grandchildren, Kevin Betts, Caroline Betts and Matthew Custodero; one brother, Gene Delano and wife, Laurie, of Joplin; and three sisters, Alvera Becker, of Decatur, Ill., Kathryn Fedie, of Neosho, and Dorothy Houser, of Detroit, Mich. In addition to her son and parents, she is preceded in death by two sisters, Guila Wells and Frankie Lankford.
Graveside services will be Saturday, Jan. 27, at 10:30 a.m. at the Neosho IOOF Cemetery, Pastor Craig Tally will officiate. The family will receive friends at a time of visitation prior to the graveside service from 9 until 10:30 a.m. at the Clark Funeral Home, Neosho.
Contributions in memory of LaVelle may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, in care of Clark Funeral Home, PO Box 66; Neosho, MO 64850.
Online condolences may be posted at www.clarkfuneralhomes.com.
Services are under the direction of Clark Funeral Home, Neosho.
Published on January 26, 2018