Betty Sneed was born Betty Jean Johnson on May 7th, 1923 in Okmulgee, Oklahoma to Forrest Johnson and Catherine Evans. She is the eldest of six siblings and was thirteen when the next sibling was born. She was a great help to her mother, who always had a business going, and therefore not a lot of time to do domestic chores. Betty often lamented how she had to come directly home from high school to a bathtub full of diapers that had to be washed by hand. She got a job right out of high school and the first thing she bought was a washing machine for her mother! Betty loved playing the drums and dancing and would have been in the drum-line of the school band but was much needed at home. Even into her 90's she would say, "Put the music on and let's dance!"
Betty graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1941. After graduating, at age 18, she met the love of her life, David Sneed, at the Dixie Hotel, one of her mother’s businesses in Tusla, Oklahoma. She would tell you meeting him was the best thing to happen to her in that hotel. She already had a boyfriend at the time, so things were a little tense, but David emerged as the preferred suitor. He proposed and, to his dismay, she asked for a year to think about it! But, on September 28, 1942 at age 19, she married her one and only husband. Six children were born to the union: Betty J., Deanna, Stephen D., Susan A., Curtis R.(rih), and Tina(rih).
There was not a lot of money in the early days of their marriage, but Betty knew how to stretch a penny. She was an excellent cook and seamstress. She made beautiful clothes for herself and her two oldest daughters. She sewed shirts for son, Stephen, also. Her love for her husband was apparent. She would spend the day doing household chores and caring for her children, but when it was time for her husband to come home from work she would wash up, put on a pretty dress and get ready to greet him. Cancer took his life in 1972, and Betty became a young widow still raising two young children.
Betty was a lifelong Christian; she dedicated her life to the Lord at the early age of eight. After the passing of her husband, she worked many years at Grace United Methodist Church, first as church secretary and then as Parish worker. She went above and beyond her job description many times. She would make sure the old boiler was working so there would be heat at Sunday morning service. She glued tiles back down on the floor in the basement after a flood occurred. Although not the best singer, she sang in the choir, started a coffee hour after church, and founded a singles group for mature adults. She frequently called members to see how they were doing and called members who had not been seen for a while to encourage them to come back. She was actively involved with the youth of the congregation teaching Sunday School, leading the Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF), and advocating for the young people of the Ogundas, a performing African Drum Ensemble that grew out of the MYF.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband, David Sneed; parents, Forrest Johnson and Catherine Evans; brothers, Sonny Keats and Elmo Rice Jr.; sister, Rose Keats; children, Curtis Roland Sneed and Tina Sneed.
Betty leaves to cherish her memory four children Betty Jean Abiodun (Vancouver, WA), Deanna (Theodore) Long-Hall, Stephen (Vida) David Sneed (Seattle, WA) and Susan Annette Love (Vancouver WA); thirteen grandchildren; thirteen great-grandchildren; sister, Mary Ann Willis (Tulsa, OK); brother, Larry Rice (Tulsa, OK); cousin Willie Mae Hughes (Wichita, KS); and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
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