Bettie Jo Yancey McDaniel was born March 3, 1926, in Gilmer, Texas to James Franklin and Sarah Emma Yancey. The family moved to Freeport, TX, then Louisiana briefly when she was in grade school and back to Freeport, TX, where she graduated high school. As a young woman she worked at the dime store there, also at Girouard's Grocery.
At the end of World War II she attended nursing school in Houston as part of the nurse cadet program, but had to leave after the first year to take care of her grandmother.
As a child in Freeport, she had begun attending church with a cousin's family. Through church she would later meet and marry William Edward ("Mac") McDaniel, a recent ACC graduate who was preaching in the area. While working with churches in the Brazoria County area she gave birth to their first child, Jim. Later they moved to Aldine, TX, then just north of Houston where she bore their second child, Jolinda.
Only five years into their marriage and three months after Jolinda's birth, William Edward died suddenly one Sunday night of a cerebral hemorrhage at age 33. Bettie Jo never remarried, never found someone to take Mac's place. To better provide for her two small children, Bettie moved to her husband's home town, Sinton TX where her in-laws lived. There she stayed, raising her children and attending the Borden Street Church of Christ. She worked as a teacher's aide until 1991, when she moved briefly to San Antonio, where her son Jim and his wife Pam lived. A year later, she moved to Missoula MT to live with her daughter Jolinda’s family.
Life in Missoula was pleasant in many ways, but the winters were hard and she spent many winter months in Texas with Jim and Pam. In 2014 she moved permanently back to San Antonio and warmer weather. She was a resident at Brookdale Shavano Park Assisted Living, still seeing family and attending church with Pam & Jim regularly, until November 2019 when she suffered a massive stroke. She passed from this life at age 94 on March 21, 2020, in the hope of resurrection and life eternal.
Following her stroke, Bettie had a difficult time communicating with her speech often slurred beyond understanding. A conversation in January this year, however, is typical of her outlook her whole life. It was a day when she was having a lot of pain in her back but her words were clearer than usual.
She said, "Let's talk about other things."
The person in the room responded, "Okay. Let's talk about happy things."
"I like happy things."
"Well, God is in Heaven and He's taking care of the world," the other person offered.
"Who better to take care of the world?" Bettie replied.
A solid, simple faith. A bright and optimistic outlook. A love for Jesus and gratitude for blessings and friends. You can't sum up a whole life in less than a whole life. All the tears and toils, all the lonely times, all the joy she took from and gave to her family, all the laughter that often left her breathless. She loved birds and books and puzzles, and especially babies and little children. You just can't know enough from lists like this, from this writing or any writing. You had to be there. And for at least part of it, you were. That's why you're reading this. If she knew you, she loved you. She was really good at loving people.
Bettie Jo was preceded in death by her husband William Edward McDaniel, and her brother James Ray Yancey. She is survived by her son Jim McDaniel and his wife Pam, and also her daughter Jolinda Benjamin and her husband Richard; by three nieces: Sharon, Diane and Pam; by her grandchildren:
Hilary Benjamin, Caleb and Brandy McDaniel, Jacob and Shannon Benjamin St. Aubin, Bonnie Jo & Dusty Crumpton, Travis McDaniel, Peggy and Robbie Haight, Conner and Melissa McDaniel, and Yancey Benjamin and also by her six great-grandchildren: Ellery and Carter McDaniel, Abigail, Sarah Jo and Nathaniel Crumpton and Addie Grace Haight.
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