MAY 27, 1930 – AUGUST 21, 2022
Clara K. Allen, 81, of Laneville, Texas passed away August 25, 2022 in her home in Laneville surrounded by her family. Services are currently pending at this time.
Elizabeth (Bettye) Patton Alexander, most beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, elementary school teacher, children’s Sunday School teacher, church musician and choir member, passed away on August 21, 2022 in Nacogdoches at the age of 92. She was preceded in death by: brothers Thomas Patton, Joseph Patton, Robert Patton, and William Patton; and sisters Flossie Patton Hunt, Martha Patton Howlett, and Edith Patton Kelso. She is survived by: her beloved husband of 71 years, Forrest Doyle Alexander; sister Doris Patton Coburn of Jackson, TN; children James Alexander of Spring, TX, Stephen Alexander and wife Lanita of Crosby, TX, and Linda Alexander Bedford and husband Stephen of Humble, TX; grandchildren Abby Bedford Ford, Matthew Alexander, Brian Bedford, Daniel Alexander, Rebekah Alexander, and Joseph Alexander; and eight great-grandchildren.
Born in 1930 and raised in Jackson, Tennessee as the eighth of nine siblings, Bettye was the daughter of long-time Madison County, TN sheriff, Thomas Patton. After high school graduation in Jackson, she completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree with elementary teaching certification at Union University,
Jackson, TN. While a student there, she was a member of the Upsilon chapter of the Chi Omega
Sorority. She also met her future partner in life at Union, an enterprising young mathematics major named Doyle Alexander. After graduation in 1950, Doyle took a position at Fisher Body Corp in Lansing, Ml but soon discovered the folly of being employed 700 miles distance from one’s sweetheart. So, upon his return to Tennessee after one year away, Doyle and Bettye were married on June 10, 1951. The new couple quickly settled in Maury City, TN as Doyle began his new career as a high school mathematics teacher, first at Maury City High School (1951-53) and later at Bemis High School (1953-¬54). They relocated to the Army base at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD in 1954 during the Korean conflict. It was at the base hospital in Aberdeen that Bettye gave birth to the first of three children, Jim. After the brief stint in the Army, the family first moved to Nashville, TN, where Doyle completed a Master’s Degree at Peabody College in 1955, and then on to his first collegiate teaching position at Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College (as it was then known) in Nacogdoches, Texas in 1956. Bettye’s second child, Steve, was born that year as well, with Linda making her appearance in 1958.
Returning to Nashville while Doyle earned his Ph.D. at Peabody College (1959-61), Bettye began her own teaching career as a public school first grade teacher in Davidson County, TN. When the family finally moved back to Nacogdoches in 1961 for Doyle to resume his collegiate teaching career, she effectively balanced the two difficult roles of mother and student to complete a Master of Arts degree in education at SFA, with certification to teach in Texas public schools. Her career as a public school teacher in Nacogdoches spanned twenty-five consecutive years, including seven years at Fredonia Elementary School and eighteen years at Nettie Marshall Elementary School. Bettye’s patient temperament and kind demeanor were clearly well-suited for the challenging role of first grade teacher (as if she didn’t already have a big enough job just trying to ride herd over her own three very active children), and she was a model of public school teaching excellence as a result. She worked in the teaching profession long enough to see her first graders eventually graduate from high school (and many also achieve college degrees), which she would often remark was the greatest reward of her work. She also taught private piano lessons to aspiring young musicians for many years.
Bettye was an active and faithful member of First Baptist Church of Nacogdoches. She worked in the Pre-School department, taught in the Primary department, was co-director of the Senior Adult Sunday School department, worked with children’s choirs, occasionally played piano and organ during worship services, and was a pillar in the alto section of the Adult choir.
As she was known to her loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren, “Meemaw” was a constant source of love, patience, forgiveness and stability in the lives of her family and her community. She exuded a certain kind of “lightness” that always seemed to lower the stress level of otherwise volatile situations. And, the steadfast, sacrificial support she gave her children was demonstrated over and over in their lives, giving them the resources, encouragement and balanced perspectives needed to succeed in a cold, indifferent world. Simply put, she made life better for everyone who had the good fortune to cross her path, and we miss her more than words can ever express.
A visitation will be held, Friday, August 26, 2022, 5-7 pm, at Cason Monk-Metcalf, 5400 North St. in Nacogdoches. Funeral Service will be held at 10:00 AM, Saturday, August 27, 2022, at Cason Monk-Metcalf Sunset Chapel officiated by Pastor Emeritus Dr. Allen Reed. Interment to follow at Sunset Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: (1) First Baptist Church Building Fund, 411 North Street, Nacogdoches, Texas 75964 or (2) Hospice of East Texas, 4111 University Blvd., Tyler, Texas 75701
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.casonmonk-metcalf.com for the Alexander family.