Bette Owen Holloway (born Betty Bernice Owen) of Raleigh, NC, died of liver cancer on July 26th, 2018 at 9:25 am at her home. She was 93. She was clear-minded until the very end, and was mobile until the last few days.
She was preceded in death by her father, Clarence, her mother, Dagmar (Agnes), all her siblings: Norman, Lois, Elizabeth (Biddy), Leslie (Ikey), Margaret, and Bobby, and her husband, Ted. She is survived by her five children: David, Chris, Beth, Kathryn, and Richard, as well as
15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
She was born in Tucumcari, New Mexico, on January 26th, 1925, the sixth of seven children in the Owen family. She lived there until age 5, when The Great Depression began, at which point the family moved to Amarillo, Texas. The family lived in an abandoned candy factory for a time before getting a house in town. She moved back to Tucumcari and went to high school at Tucumcari High School. After graduating, she moved to Albuquerque, NM, and worked at the air force base. She met Edwin (Ted) Holloway there; he was an Air Force pilot and working as an instructor pilot after flying more than 50 missions in the South Pacific in World War II. They were married on April 18th, 1945, and ultimately moved back to Ted’s hometown of Montclair, New Jersey. Ted started a business as a general contractor and eventually built the family home at 12 McLean Road in Clifton, NJ. They had five children and a vibrant family home with a pond and a lawn that often served as the neighborhood athletic field. After the children were older, she worked as a dental assistant in Montclair. She and Ted eventually separated in 1975, when Bette moved with Kathryn and Richard to Flagstaff, Arizona. Bette lived in Flagstaff from 1975 to 2010 and worked at WL Gore and Associates in public relations (after brief stints in a donut shop and a Mexican restaurant to pay the bills). While at Gore, she organized all sales events and was acting ambassador for the company, managing the visits of surgeons from countries across the globe with personally sponsored trips to The Grand Canyon and other famous landmarks in the Flagstaff area. Bette became so knowledgeable about the Canyon that she could name every layer of rock from the rim to the river (over 5000 feet). She retired from Gore in 1999, at age 74.
She was passionate about geology and astronomy, and also worked as a docent at Lowell Observatory for many years. She became a Master Gardener which fit with her great love of flowers, plants and vegetables. She was also a student and lover of the Hopi culture-- over many decades she was invited to attend Kachina dances, weddings, christenings and funerals for her dear Native American friends.
After undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery in 2009, Bette decided to move East to be closer to the rest of the family, and settled in Atria Oakridge senior living community in 2010. She attended church at North Raleigh United Methodist Church. At Atria, she helped establish and maintain numerous flower and vegetable garden beds with the assistance of family and other residents, and was recognized for her work in making Atria’s gardens a vibrant and active part of the community experience. Bette was also an avid reader; forever in pursuit of greater knowledge of all things, the simple to the complex. She loved reading the Wall Street Journal daily, still attempting to do so until days before her death.
Bette was an amazing woman, admired by all whom she met. Yet she remained very humble. Her values resonated those of her generation: love of family, love of country, a desire to be a contributor. She excelled in all those regards and will be greatly missed by family and all of those fortunate enough to have crossed her path.
In her honor, there will be a memorial service in the chapel of Bright Funeral Home, 405 S. Main St in Wake Forest, NC on August 11th beginning at 1pm.
Flowers may be sent using The English Garden Florist Shop in Raleigh, NC (919-341-6650). For those wishing to make a donation, the family requests they be sent to Transitions LifeCare / Hospice of Wake County.