The heart of Betty Worrell was defined by her steadfast faith and the family she loved more than anything. In as much as she gave, Betty was a devoted and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend to all. She lived by way of example, and although she experienced much in her 96 years, Betty never lost sight of the many blessings that surrounded her. Through her love, Betty leaves behind a legacy of memories never to be forgotten.
As the Roaring Twenties ushered in new ways of thinking, by 1921 jazz was all the rage and Charlie Chaplin stared on the big screen. Prosperity and good fortune created a sense of exhilaration never before seen while baseball continued to be America’s favorite pastime. Yet nestled in the small Indiana community of North Salem, the birth of Elizabeth J. “Betty” on June 4, 1921, was truly a blessing in the lives of her parents, Walter Ernest and Bertha Malinda (Henry) Hicks. The youngest of four, young Betty joined her two older brothers, Norman and Walter along with her older sister, J. Lois in their family home. Despite the financial turmoil brought about by the Great Depression, Betty enjoyed a childhood typical of her generation. She was blessed with a wonderful upbringing where love, faith, and respect were evident.
Betty attended the local schools and enjoyed the friendships of many. During high school she became acquainted with someone by the name of Virgil Worrell through mutual friends and her heart was never the same. Although he was ten years older than Betty, her parents blessed their dating relationship as they considered Virgil to be a fine young man and liked him. Soon after Betty’s high school graduation in 1939, the couple was happily married on June 17, beginning their new lives together as husband and wife nearby in the town of Lizton.
By 1941, Betty and Virgil began a family of their own, welcoming they're firstborn, David followed by James, Judith, and Joelyn. As their family grew, however, it was evident they needed a larger home. In 1948 they moved from Lizton to Indianapolis. Betty made a good home for Virgil and their children while he supported their thriving family working at an area foundry. As a mother, Betty was attentive and loving. Her devoted faith shone bright in their home as she taught her children about the love of God and took them faithfully to church.
When changes were made to Virgil’s workplace and the foundry he worked at in Indianapolis closed in 1962, they moved their family to Villa Park, Illinois when Virgil was transferred to the new foundry there. With her children now older, while living in Illinois Betty went from being a homemaker to eventually working at Marshall Field’s Department Store where she remained from 1962 until 1974.
Throughout these years, nothing was more important to Betty than her family. Together they enjoyed and took in special family times, road trips and memorable holidays and other treasured occasions. Betty was especially in her element when grandchildren became an integral part of her life. Quite family oriented, Betty was thoroughly invested in the lives of their grandchildren. Her family meant the world to her and she dearly loved all of her grandchildren and later, great-grandchildren. She had a special bond with each and every one of them and they all thought they were her favorite grandchild, and they were! Betty had a way all her own in making each of her grandchildren feel as if they were the most important thing to her and in all she did, it was all about them. During the summer it was not uncommon for Betty and Virgil to keep the grandkids for a week at a time in addition to other school breaks. They also helped watch Jim’s children as he served his career in the U.S. Air Force. Betty felt fortunate to live near several of her grandchildren in Illinois and often offered to take a grandchild or two for a weekend to allow their parents some free time together.
In 1974, Betty’s nephew approached her and Virgil about relocating to Columbia City to manage a new mobile home park they were developing there. By that October, life found Betty and Virgil living in Columbia City overseeing and managing the Countryside Mobile Home Park from where they eventually retired in 1986. The move and a change of pace could not have come at a better time as it was also during this time earlier that year when Betty and Virgil’s beloved son, David and grandson, Greg were killed in a tragic auto accident. Clearly a tough time in their lives, Betty clung to her faith as well as the love and support of family and friends.
Betty’s free time was spent enjoying the things she loved doing like playing cards with friends and games with her family. She was a faithful and very active member of Tri-Lakes Baptist Church where Betty gave of her time and talents. Following their retirement, Betty and Virgil enjoyed taking the opportunity to travel. They did so throughout the United States along with several trips including Canada. Betty loved road trips and knew how to have fun stopping at the different roadside attractions. Quite a pair, Betty and Virgil complimented one another and brought out the best in each other. When it came to TV, it wasn’t uncommon to find Betty watching an episode of the Andy Griffith Show or MASH, two of her favorite programs.
Betty’s love for her grandkids knew no bounds. She loved being with them and serving as a great role model for her kids to see how to treat grandkids, Betty considered her grandchildren to really be the best gifts she could have ever received. When the love of her life, Virgil passed away in 1999, Betty was no less devastated yet again by God’s grace, her family saw her through. By 2001, Betty moved to Oak Pointe where she enjoyed the atmosphere while making great friends with the other residents and staff there.
One in a million, Betty was loved by all who came to know her. As she is remembered with love, the very heart of Betty will live on in the hearts of all.
Elizabeth J. "Betty" Worrell, 96, of Columbia City, passed away Friday evening, September 15, 2017 at her apartment in Miller's at Oak Pointe. Survivors include her children, James Worrell, of Chandler, TX, Judith (Brian) Malloy, of Roselle, Ill. and Joelyn (David) Gelsthorpe, of Lawrenceville, Ga.; 9 grandchildren; and 31 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; son, David Kent Worrell; daughters-in-law, Cheryl Worrell and Nancy Johansen; grandson, Greg Worrell; brothers, Norman and Walter Hicks; and sister, J. Lois Kelm.
Visitation is 1 to 2:45 p.m., Sunday September 24, 2017 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City with her funeral services to begin at 3 p.m. She will be laid to rest next to her husband at Tippecanoe Memory Gardens, West Lafayette at 11:30 a.m. Monday. Memorial gifts may be given in her memory to Tri-Lakes Baptist Church, 5679 N Center St, Columbia City, IN 46725. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send family condolences.