Betty LaVerne Moore, 1929-2014

Betty LaVerne Moore, 84, died quietly in her home on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. 
 
She was born on Nov. 23, 1929, in North Little Rock, the first child of Aaron Andrew and Myrtis Virginia (nee Hamilton) Moore. From the earliest age, she showed unusual brightness and scholastic ability. She skipped three grades in elementary school, eventually graduating as valedictorian of the Fuller High School Class of 1944 at age 15. She enrolled in what is now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she earned a two-year teaching degree in 1946 and immediately began teaching first grade in the public school system.
 
In early June of 1948, Betty attended a continuing education course for teachers in Arkadelphia. The members of her class were seated in alphabetical order, by last name. She was seated beside Withers M. Moore. The two began dating and were married less than three months later, on Aug. 18, at Asbury Methodist Church, where the groom’s father served as pastor.
 
Betty and Withers taught school briefly in Warren before Withers enrolled in seminary at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. Their first child, Catherine Elizabeth, was born during that period. Following graduation in 1952, the young family moved to Sherrill-Tomberlin, where they served until 1953 when Withers was admitted to Navy Chaplain School. Their second child, Russell Renneau, was born shortly thereafter, and the family began their 27-year career in the Chaplain Corps. Their third child, Nancy Robin, was born when Withers served at the Naval Air Station El Centro, Calif.
 
Through their Navy years, Betty served as homemaker, mother and a devoted “chaplain’s wife.” She expertly and lovingly managed the family home during Withers’ many absences which ranged from a few days or weeks, to six months, or an entire year at a time. She met every challenge with courage and grace.
 
Betty was always an avid reader, for many years finishing a stack of several library books each week. When her children were young, she became an incredibly talented seamstress and enjoyed making beautiful dresses for her daughters and granddaughters.
 
Her laughter was infectious; her gracious presence and precocious wit warmed and inspired family and friends alike.
 
Withers and Betty lived what they would both always consider to be a great and wonderful adventure. They established their home in such places as Cherry Point, N.C.; Atsugi, Japan; San Francisco, Calif.; New Haven, Conn.; Norfolk, Va.; Arlington, Va.; Millington, Tenn.; London, England; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Washington, D.C. They traveled extensively through Europe, Asia and the South Pacific.
 
Upon Withers’ retirement from the Navy on July 1, 1980, he and Betty returned home to Arkansas, where they served First United Methodist Church Des Arc from 1982 to 1988, and then retired to Lonoke.
 
Betty and Withers were given 23 years together in full retirement, culminating their 62 blessed years of very happy and fruitful marriage. During that time especially, they were able to pursue their interests and enjoy quality time and offer devoted care to their parents, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
 
After Withers’ death in March 2011, Betty convalesced in her home at Lonoke, attended closely by children. Since early 2013, she has been greatly served by Michele Rettig, whose expert and loving care will always be remembered and deeply appreciated by Betty’s family.
 
She is survived by two daughters, Caryn Reynolds of El Dorado and the Rev. Robin Moore of Blytheville; one son, the Rev. Russell Moore and daughter-in-law Joan of Crossett; eight grandchildren, Hugh Decimus Reynolds IV; David Withers Reynolds; Catherine Kie Hill, Betty Elaine Morrow; Kevin Andrew Brunson; Kohli Reynolds Kick; Laura Anne Moore; Kimberly Lillian Moore; and 10 great-grandchildren.
 
A graveside service was held at Pine Crest Cemetery on Friday, Sept. 12. Memorials may be given to First United Methodist Church Des Arc or St. Luke United Methodist Church Little Rock.