Lottye Betts Rye was born in Rye Bottom in Monroe County, Mississippi near Hamilton on October 9, 1932 to the late Carl and Gladys Betts Rye. She grew up there on the family farm where the virtues of hard work, respect, tenacity and fortitude were taught her by her parents. Lottye Betts, as she was appropriately called all her life in the grand Southern tradition honoring her matriarchal heritage, was studious and engaged and graduated from Hamilton High School in 1950 with honors. She met the dashing John Ray Beasley in 1952 while attending college at MSCW. After she waited for him to return from a tour of duty in the U. S. Navy during the Korean Conflict, they married on July 16, 1954, a union of almost 64 years until his death on June 28, 2018. Lottye Betts graduated from MUW and later obtained a Master Degree in Educational Counseling from MSU. She spent the next 35 plus years completely devoted to her students as a classroom teacher and ultimately, School Counselor in the Tupelo Public School System. Her dogged belief in the value of a good education spilled over into her style and approach to teaching students. Never easy but fair and understanding, she was beloved and respected by all her students. In l964, the Beasley’s purchased a large track of land in West Lee County overlooking Coonewah Creek which ultimately became the High Forest neighborhood. They maintained a large portion of the purchase as a working family farm that became known as Cedarscape. The grounds were a major occupation site of Chickasaw Indians. John Ray and Lottye Betts developed a strong interest in and respect for Chickasaw Indian heritage and became local authorities on Chickasaw lore and history. So significant were their contributions to the historical integrity of the Chickasaws, they were awarded honorary membership in the Chickasaw Nation. In 2004, much of the property was deeded to the Archaeological Conservancy, which now is owned and managed by the Chickasaw Nation. Lottye Betts was a longtime member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and served as Regent of the Mississippi Chapter of DAR for 3 years. She was most proud that her 3 granddaughters followed in the DAR tradition. A Steel Magnolia, there was little she couldn’t do. Always busy with a project, she was a promoter of grand causes. Super strong willed and stubborn in a good way, Lottye Betts quick wit, rare good heart and her strong belief in the good in everyone made her a wonderful friend to many. She loved big celebrations and parties where she was always the “hostess with the most!” She traveled the world and loved the beaches of Florida so much so that she made her last trip there 2 weeks ago. She loved to shop for family and friends. A lover of literature, she had a remarkable home library and thoroughly enjoyed reading all genres of books. A wonderful Grandmother, she doted over all her grand’s and could substantially keep John Ray in his place with great comebacks in a sophisticated way. The Beasley’s were charter members at Wesley United Methodist Church. With her legacy profound and enduring, Lottye Betts will long be remembered as a giver of her time, talents and resources to others, fully engaged and devoted to family and community and always completely in tune with the rhythm of life and the enhancement of all humanity. Cedarscape, their family land, will remain forever a tribute to two wonderful lives well lived.
A service celebrating her life will be held at 2 PM Tuesday, August 8, 2022 from the Sadie Holland Memorial Chapel at Holland Funeral Directors-Tupelo with Rev. Dr. Bryan Collier and family members speaking. The family suggests everyone wear red, her favorite color. Private family burial will follow at Tupelo Memorial Park. Visitation will be from 5 PM-7PM Monday, August 8, 2022 and from 1 PM- service time on Tuesday, all at Holland Funeral Directors, which is honored to be serving their friends. For those unable to attend, the service may be viewed at www.hollandfuneraldirectors.com/Livestreaming at 2 PM Tuesday.
Lottye Betts is survived by her son, Rickey Malloy “Rick” Beasley(Kathy) of Tupelo; Her grandchildren, Zach Beasley(Rachel), Casey Beasley(Amanda), Jenni Beasley Long(Matt), Katie Crenshaw(Jonathan) and K’Ann Spears(Ben). Her great-grandchildren, Sydney, Colby, Hayden, Cohen, Cedars, Kelon Rymes, Edie and Linnie Ann; three nieces, Jean Barnes(Paul), Jane Clark(Tony) and Judy Cappel(Eric); her nephew, Gary Wayne Beasley of Pontotoc and the mother of her grands, (Zach,Casey and Jenni)- Debbi Hall(Gary) of Tupelo. She was preceded in death by her parents, the love of her life, John Ray Beasley (2018), her beloved daughter, Eva Ann Dorris in 2006 and her brother, Franklin.
Memorials may be made to the Chickasaw Inkana Foundation, P. O. Box 1307 Tupelo, MS. 38802.