TUPELO - Betty Marie Latimer Black, 69, died at 1 A.M. Monday, March 2, 2020 at Sanctuary Hospice House after a lingering illness. Betty was born in Tupelo on January 14, 1951 to the late John Carroll Latimer, Jr. and Winnie Lee Ray Latimer. She grew up in Philadelphia and Pontotoc but had made her home in Tupelo the last 40 years. She married her husband, Lynn Michael “Mike” Black on Oct. 17, l982, and worked with him in the family business, Black’s Department Store. Betty was an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Tupelo and held several leadership positions including that of Sunday school teacher. Betty loved her cats and they loved her. An avid Mississippi State Bulldog, Betty graduated from MSU with a degree in Music and was a member of the Famous Maroon Band. She remained active in music through education and church organizations. For about three years, she served as office manager of the MSU Choral Music program under the leadership of her very dear friend, the late Dr. J. Bruce Lesley. Her continued devotion to Mississippi State was fulfilled in her active participation in the MSU Alumni Association in 2007 and the local and state levels. Her involvement culminated in her role as National President of the Mississippi State Alumni Association in 2007. She and Mike moved to Starkville for a few years during this time where she was active in the Starkville Rotary Club serving as secretary. With her bubbly personality and fierce independence, she was a friend to many. Her relationships with them were very important to her and included many classmates from high school and college along with church members and good natured souls all over Mississippi and beyond. Betty was well known locally for her baking skills, making breads, cakes and pies - a skill no doubt inherited from her mother and grandmother.
A service celebrating her life and selfless service to others will be held at 2 PM Sunday, March 8, 2020 from the Tupelo Chapel of Holland Funeral Directors with Rev. Olin McBride and Rev. Dr. Ron Richardson officiating. Visitation will be from 3 PM - 5 PM Saturday, March 7, 2020 and from Noon-service time on Sunday, all at Holland-Tupelo Chapel, which is honored to be serving their friends. Private inurnment will take place in the First Presbyterian Church Columbarium in Stuart Garden.
Betty is survived by her husband, Mike Black; a brother, LTC John Latimer, Jr. (Retd.) and his wife Kathy of Harvest, AL; a nephew, John Latimer, III and his wife, Sarah; a niece, Sara Latimer Brown and her husband, Stuart; four grand-nieces and grand-nephews; her sister-in-law, Ellen Morgan and husband, Tom of Oakland, TN; and special cousins, Diane Page and her husband, Fred, of Tupelo, and Ray Brandon and his wife, Melinda of Black Zion Community in Pontotoc County; and her thousands of friends in the Bulldog Nation. Betty was preceded in death by her parents, John C. and Winnie Ray Latimer.
Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 400 Jefferson St., P. O. Box 1725, Tupelo, MS 308802, Mississippi State Music Department, c/o MSU Foundation, P. O. Box 6149, Mississippi State, MS 39762, or Sanctuary Hospice House, P. O. Box 2177, Tupelo, MS 398803.
For those who may be unable to attend, the service may be viewed at 2 PM Sunday at www.hollandfuneraldirectors.com/Live-streaming.
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