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Obituary: Betty Stearn (1931-2023)

Betty Stearn (Age 91)

Betty Stearn passed peacefully on May 10, 2023 at John Knox Village in Orange City, Florida. Predeceased by Harold Stearn, her husband of 62 years, Betty is survived by her five children: Becky Marshall (Jack), Suzanne Stearn, Sherry Bicak (Jim), Pam Yokobosky, and Jon Stearn (Laura). As the matriarch of the Stearn family, Betty was blessed to have and loved dearly her twelve grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

Born in 1931 to Horace and Mary Durham, Betty Anne was the youngest of four siblings. Following the premature passing of her mother, Betty was raised by her aunt and uncle, Hope and DeShay Turner, in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. In 1949, Betty graduated from Hendersonville High School as Valedictorian while also serving as the class president. Shortly after graduation, Betty visited her sister, Mary Katherine (“Kak”) in the Washington, D.C. metro area where she would soon move. While there, she met Harold and the couple wed in 1953. Betty was a devoted mother to her five children who she raised in the Northern Virginia area where she lived until 1988.

An avid bridge player, Betty was a whiz at logic games and puzzles. Whether it was school or team functions while raising her children, charitable work as a member of the American Women’s Association in Amman, driving the ambulance in Mathews County or teaching English as a second language in Florida, Betty was a dedicated member of the community everywhere she lived.

Once her children were raised, Betty enjoyed the opportunity to see the United States and the world beyond. In the mid-1980s, Betty lived with Harold in Amman, Jordan for two years. While there, they toured throughout the Middle East and embraced much of the Arabic culture. In her fifties, Betty learned to snow ski in Switzerland. The culmination of their time in Jordan was a driving adventure through Syria, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy. Later that decade, the driving adventures continued with RV trips to Vancouver, British Columbia via Granbury, Texas and eventually traversing Canada from east to west into Alaska. Betty even spent one winter in North Dakota as part of an in-residence women’s health medical study. Betty’s final big adventure was a Panama Canal transit on a cruise from Florida to San Diego with her youngest daughter, Pam.

In 1988, Betty and Harold built a house in Cobbs Creek, Virginia (Mathews County) which served as their primary base for ten years. From here, she routinely visited and hosted their children and grandchildren who dispersed across the country and the world. While there, they began to spend winters in Cocoa Beach, Florida where they eventually moved. Shortly after the turn of the century, Betty and Harold moved into John Knox Village of Orange City, Florida where they lived out their retirement years.

Betty will be missed dearly by her children, family members and friends. The family expects to hold a celebration of life later this year.

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