Elizabeth Josephine Parker Harrison, Betty Jo to family and friends, was born Nov. 24, 1922, to Joseph John Parker and Pinkie Louise Ferguson Parker in Lexington, just up the hill from where she lived most of her life.
She attended First Baptist Church of Lexington and accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at the age of 6. She continued to serve in this church throughout her life as a Sunday school teacher, GA director and faithful member until such time as she could no longer attend services.
Betty graduated from Lexington High School at the age of 16.
She moved to Waco to attend Baylor University. Her freshman year, she met John H. Harrison, her future husband of 62 years. She graduated from Baylor with a degree in education and food science.
She worked at Providence and Hillcrest Hospitals as a dietitian for years until she married in 1946.
Betty and Jack, her sweetheart, set up housekeeping in Waco and stayed there until they returned to Lexington to care for her father in 1952.
Betty began teaching in Lexington with first grade as her love. She taught many children to read.
When she found she could not meet the needs of some learning disabled children, she returned to Baylor University to receive her special education certification.
But before her retirement, she found her way back to the first grade and retired after 23 years in the Lexington school system.
Betty and Jack were blessed with three daughters, Katharine Louise, Elizabeth Dianne and Rebecca Jean. Their lives were devoted to the girls and their families.
Betty loved her girls, her cousins, all of her family, and teaching. She was always busy and a hard worker in all that she did and instilled that in her family.
She loved her sweetheart and he loved her for all of their lives together.
Her daddy, J.J. Parker, called her his $20,000 cook and he got his money's worth. She was an excellent cook and could set quite a table.
Betty was an only child, but had a true sister in Rebecca Parker Lewis. She also claimed Ed and JW Parker as her brothers.
The cousins named Elizabeth were always together—Helen Brown, Dose Underwood, Betty Parker Harrison. They roomed together in Baylor and stayed together in the university, taught school and raised their families in and around Lexington all through their lives.
She also loved cut glass, shoes, sewing, kitty cats and enjoyed caring for her home and embellishing it with needlework, crafts and collectibles.
Three caregivers have been invaluable to the family—Dot Simcik, Laurie Barnikow and Jennifer Thurston. Hospice Brazos Valley and Girling Health Care of Cameron also cared for Betty with dignity and respect. Their assistance is greatly appreciated by Kathy and the family.
Betty was preceded in death by her father and mother, J.J. Parker and Louise Parker; her husband, John H. Harrison; and many of the cousins she considered her sisters and brothers.
She is survived by her three daughters and their husbands, Katharine and Joe Bricker of L ex ing ton, Dianne and Bob Hawley of Abilene, Rebecca and Richard Ellis of Dallas. She is blessed with 10 grandchildren and their spouses, Patrick and Kim Bricker, JoLyn and Todd White, Jennifer and David Lansford, Russell Hawley, Meredith and Scott Long, Jonathan Hawley, Katharine Hawley, Elizabeth Ellis, Victoria Ellis, Catherine Ellis; and seven great-grandchildren, Danny Bricker, Johnson Bricker, Brooke Lansford, Heath Lansford, Grant Lansford, Jack Lansford and Reece Erin.
Betty is now reunited with Jack, her mother and her father, Nootsie, Eunice, Lois, and all of the original Parker clan members that she loved so dearly. She is totally at peace and well with her Lord and Savior. What a homecoming!
The viewing was at First Baptist Church on Friday, Oct. 2, 2009. The family was present to visit with friends.
The funeral was at First Baptist Church on Saturday, Oct. 3.
The family asks that donations be made to Hospice Brazos Valley to care for other hospice patients or to the Lexington Log Cabins to further the educational programs for children provided by the membership.