Betty Jean (Evans) West, 90 of Topeka, died July 14, 2017. She was born on January 25, 1927 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the only child of Carl Ben Evans and Ruby Almeda (Smith) Evans. Her parents owned a bakery and later a restaurant, where Betty helped out after school. A talented gymnast and tap dancer, Betty nurtured a life-long love of music and dance, inspiring both her children to study dance and encouraging everyone around her at Lexington Park Assisted Living to “get up and keep moving.”
Betty graduated from Fort Smith High School and Central College in Conway, Arkansas, with a concentration in music and theater. She married her childhood sweetheart, Grover “G.C.” West, on June 20, 1948. G.C.’s career took them to California, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and then to Norfolk, Virginia, where they settled in 1963. Betty was a devoted wife, mother, and homemaker. She was an active volunteer, especially at Virginia Heights Baptist Church, where she and G.C. taught Sunday school and she served as church librarian.
In 1976, they fulfilled a life-long dream of going into business for themselves and moved to Emporia, Virginia where they established West Auto Parts, which they operated for twenty years. They both became active in the community, especially at Main Street Baptist Church, where they taught Sunday school, and Betty established and staffed the church library.
After G.C. became a pilot, they flew to many Bonanza “Fly-ins,” touring the country and enjoying the company of other flying couples, as well as taking many flights to visit their children in New Hampshire and Kansas. Following her husband’s death, Betty moved to Topeka in 2001. There she became an integral part of the lives of her grandchildren, transporting them to various activities and, always the baker, providing pies for every occasion. She also pursued her passion for painting, taking classes, and sharing her artwork with friends and family.
Betty is survived by her daughter, Jeanne West and her partner Laura Nagy, of Grantham New Hampshire; her son, Gary West and his wife Juanita West, of Topeka; four grandchildren (Megan, Benjamin, Lyndsey, and Arthur) and four great grandchildren (Enrique, Memphis, Jordyn, and Isaiah).
She will lie in state after 2:00 pm Friday at Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home where the family will receive friends from 6:00 until 8:00 pm. A second visitation will be 2:00 until 4:00 pm Sunday, July 23, 2017 at Edwards Funeral Home, Fort Smith, Arkansas. Graveside services will be 10:00 am Monday at Rose Lawn Park Cemetery, Fort Smith, Arkansas.
The family wishes to express our heartfelt gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and staff at Lexington Park Independent and Assisted Living facilities and to Great Lakes Caring Hospice for their gentle, expert, and loving care.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to Great Lakes Caring, sent in care of Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, 800 SW 6th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66603.
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