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Obituary: Betty Jean Osborne Ayers

Betty Jean Osborne Ayers died peacefully on Sunday, Sept. 13, supported by her family and friends while in hospice care at her home in Pennington after courageously managing for a rare and chronic progressive disease called polycythemia vera for 44 years.

Betty was born in Marshall, Texas on Sept. 25, 1940. She is predeceased by her parents, Loys Scott and W.H. Osborne; her sister, Hazel Sparks, and her husband, Charles E. Sparks; her sister, Sarah Barbee, and her husband, Mike Barbee, of Paris, Texas; daughters Stacy Chick and son-in-law Bill Chick of Skillman, Kim Hoffman of Cumming, Georgia, Melissa Tyson and son-in-law Russell Tyson of Harvest, Alabama; grandsons Connor Chick and his wife Margaret, Christopher Chick, Alexander Hoffman and granddaughter Shelby Tyson.

Betty graduated from Paris High School in Paris, Texas in 1959 and attended Paris Junior College. A talented pianist and organist, Betty was an accompanist at Memorial Christian Church and Holy Cross Episcopal Church. She married in 1961 and as the wife of a U.S. Army officer she raised their family on posts in Ft. Benning, Georgia and Ft. Ord, California while she volunteered as a member of the Red Cross. In civilian life the family moved to Richardson, Texas and in 1978 to Snellville, Georgia. While raising three daughters as a working mother, Betty volunteered in their schools and supported them in their schoolwork and activities. She enjoyed playing golf with friends at Summit Chase Country Club in Snellville and at country clubs throughout the southeastern United States.

She worked as a legal administrative assistant throughout her professional career and rose to office manager at Henning, Aitkens, Snellings & Kerns law firm in Atlanta. She lived in Austell, Georgia, where she was an active member of The Church of the Atonement in Sandy Springs until 2002 when she moved to Pennington. As an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Princeton she discovered a talent for flower arranging and served on the altar guild for five rectors and as altar guild directress. Her greatest joy in recent years came from her grandchildren. She enjoyed attending their school and church programs, musical concerts, academic achievements and sporting events.

The family wishes to thank Betty’s many dear friends who supported her throughout her life, and those who cared for her throughout her journey with polycythemia vera, including Dr. Richard Lee, Dr. Thomas Blom and their nurses and administrators, the CCU and ACE physician and nursing staff at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, the nursing and administrative staff of the UMCP Outpatient Infusion Center and Laboratory Services, HomeWatch Caregivers, and Princeton Home Health & Hospice.

A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Betty’s memory to the Trinity Episcopal Church Altar Guild/Flower Fund, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08540.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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