Betty Jean (Smith) Williams

Posted: Sunday, August 30, 2009

Former Juneau resident Betty Jean (Smith) Williams died June 5, 2009. She was 82.

"She passed away as she had lived her life - gently and quietly, loved and respected by her family and friends," they said. "Anyone who knew Betty will always remember her for her loving heart and kind spirit."

She was born June 15, 1926, in Caradan, Texas, to Leslie and LaConia (Hightower) Smith. After moving to Oregon in 1957, she attended Oregon College of Education, receiving a Bachelor's in Elementary Education.

She was a dedicated teacher at Washington Elementary School in Salem, Ore., for 11 years. After moving to Juneau in 1972, she worked for the Alaska Department of Education as director of adult basic education, experiencing many adventurous trips throughout the state. She remained in that position until retiring in 1980.

She and her husband, Gerald O. Williams, continued to be active in Juneau, Wasilla and Anchorage, before returning to Salem in 1992. They traveled extensively and enjoyed their retirement years in Oregon.

After her husband's passing, she moved in 2002 to Colorado Springs, Colo., where she enjoyed seven years being close to her children and grandchildren.

"Betty was a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, always putting her family first," her family wrote. "She had a great sense of humor and showed kindness to all she met. She will be missed, but will always live in our hearts."

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jerry Williams.

She is survived by her daughter, Toni (Hardin) Kaufman and husband, Gordon, of Colorado Springs; Dee (Hardin) Cooper and husband, Allen, of Grants, N.M.; she was "Grams" to grandchildren Corrie Lawson, Aaron Kaufman and Emily Greco, and "Meem" to Brett Cooper; great-grandchildren, Meghan and Andrew Lawson, and Kyle O. Cooper; and brother, Clyde Smith, of Dallas.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Alzheimer's Association ( or to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation ( Online condolences may be made at either or

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