Betty McDavid left our world July 12, 2019, at home and surrounded by loved ones. Her peaceful passing was due to natural causes, exactly one year after the loss of her beloved Gene on July 13, 2018.
Betty was born March 5, 1930, in Pampa, Texas. Her early days were tough by any standard. She was the first of four children born to Esther Fields and William Tinsley, on a rural farm in north Texas. Every child had to do their part, but the oldest siblings bore the greatest responsibility. On her maternal Fields family side, Betty was one of the oldest grandchildren of Charles and Bettie Fields, who had a combined number of 14 children (twelve together, as it was the second marriage for Charles).
Upon her death at the age of 89, Betty was the oldest living descendent of Charles and Bettie, and a loving cousin to more than 400 others lucky enough to enjoy that heritage. She is survived by her brother Travis Tinsley of Homer, Louisiana, and sister Joyce Tinsley of Belleville, Texas. Her other younger brother Richard (Dick) Tinsley of Houston passed away in 2000.
Betty is also survived by two daughters, Carol McDavid of Houston, and Martha McDavid Newman of Redondo Beach, California, as well as grandson Patrick Newman of Lawndale, California, and granddaughter Ella Newman of Nashville, Tennessee. Betty’s love for family was profound, and the most distant relative in her wide circle could always count on a warm bed and a hot meal, no notice required.
Esther, her mother, was a schoolteacher in younger days and became a registered nurse in her fifties. Even when times were tight, education was a focus in the home, and all four kids were expected to go to college. Betty attended Southeastern Louisiana College, where she met the one true love of her life, Gene McDavid.
Early marriage found them in Gloster, Mississippi, running a local newspaper together called the Wilk-Amite Record. Betty helped with the publication, as well as working as secretary to the local logging company. When the paper was sold, Gene and Betty brought the family to Houston, where Gene attended classes at University of Houston, and worked the night shift at the Houston Chronicle, setting type to keep food on the table.
Throughout that time Betty worked side by side with Gene, running from home the Horse Tail Cable Flag Company, and The Shipper’s Guide. She taught young daughters Carol and Martha how to answer the various phones with the right greeting. In addition, she was secretary to Westheimer Baptist Church, taught Sunday School, and was intensely and continuously involved with a multitude of community and family support groups.
As Gene’s career took off, Betty flourished and grew into a world that was in many ways more comfortable than ever before, yet she never lost her focus on service and responsibility. In addition to attending and hosting a staggering load of philanthropic and corporate events which were associated with Gene’s career, she also served as a board member of the International Institute of Education (IIE). In that capacity she worked closely with visiting students, traveled across the globe, and along with Gene saw firsthand locations most can only dream about.
While travelling Betty became an avid art collector, especially of Eskimo and Inuit soapstone carvings and drawings. She was interested in the Indigenous art of many cultures, and her home was a place of measured elegance combined with a fanciful touch, reflecting her incredible path as she crossed the earth. She held koala bears and rode elephants; she went white water rafting and walked the Great Wall of China.
Yet Betty will be remembered most for her love of family, her beautiful smile, and the gracious hospitality she showed to anyone who knew her. Please join us for the celebration of her life on August 10, 2019, at the Bradshaw Carter Funeral home located at 1734 West Alabama Street in Houston, Texas. Services will be from 2 to 5 p.m.
The family requests, in lieu of flowers, that donations in Betty’s name be made to the Cancer Angels, benefitting the American Cancer Society, attention Flora Winn, P.O. Box 147, Belleville, TX 77418, or to the International Institute of Education (IIE), Office of Philanthropy, phone 646-572-8741, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancer Angels, benefiting the American Cancer Society, attention Flora Winn
P.O. Box 147, Belleville TX 77418
International Institute of Education (IIE), Office of Philanthropy
1800 West Loop South, Suite 250, Houston TX 77027