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Ms. Betty Jean (Clark) Clements, of Elkhart, passed away peacefully of natural causes on Monday, February 12, 2024 at 6:28 am in the comfort of her own home. She was 78.
She was born on November 15, 1945 in Scottsboro, Alabama to the late Ervin and Winnie (Hicks) Clark and was the faithful and loving wife of Floyd H. Clements, Sr., whom she married in Alabama on November 18, 1963. He passed away in Bronson, Michigan on January 20, 2020 after 57 wonderful years of marriage.
Surviving are Betty’s children Floyd H. (Shawn) Clements, Jr. of Elkhart, Marla Schroeder, also of Elkhart, and Michelle (Jim) Reese-Mahaffa of Bronson; siblings Kenneth (Mary) Clark, Mark (Phyllis) Clark and Janice Clark, all of Elkhart; 12 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren as well as a host of loving extended family, in-laws, outlaws, friends and neighbors. Roy and Nancy Clements also held a special place in her heart for their continued love and support over the years.
Betty is preceded in death by her parents, as well as her daughter, Dana Marie Clements brothers Lee Roy, Billy Wayne, Billy Jack and Jerry Clark, and great grandson Gabe Bowers.
Memorial services for Betty will be held on Leap Day, Thursday, February 29, 2024 at Billings Funeral Home and Crematory in Elkhart at 12:00 noon, with one hour of fellowship taking place prior to the service. Burial will follow at Prairie Street Cemetery in Elkhart and will include military honors to be rendered for Floyd, Sr. by the US Army Funeral Honor Guard and the Elkhart Funeral Honor Guard, as well as the Northern Indiana Patriot Guard. In accordance with their wishes, cremation has taken place, and Floyd, Sr. will finally be reunited with his “Lovey”, and Betty will once again be at the side of her “Precious”. Additionally, Betty’s arrangements along with the services have been directed by Billings Funeral Home of Elkhart.
Betty was a professional baker for most of her adult life at several heavy-hitters like Strauss Bakery, Mr. Donut and the kitchens at Notre Dame. While she could turn out dozens of baked goods and other delectables in a relatively quick period of time, her true passion was her southern style cooking. Anyone from the south understands that cooking is an expression of love, and Betty literally smothered her family with more love than they knew what to do with! Biscuits and gravy, turnip greens, cornbread, ham and beans and banana pudding were all staples in Betty’s kitchen. She was also a prolific canner as well and, believe it or not, has even been known to can her famous meatloaf.
She would always ask anyone visiting, family or not, if they were hungry and could she make them something to eat? If they weren’t hungry, maybe a big glass of southern sweet tea. She made sure everyone had their fill and didn’t walk away hungry. Betty was also known to extend her generosity and hospitality to people she would have just met or found out were in need. She would freely give her love and time to help a stranger, because she firmly believed that angels truly walked the earth. She, at the same time, was proof of that.
Another thing that Betty was known for was her joyful and lovely ability to sing and her undying love for her Lord. In her earlier years, she served as church song leader and Sunday school teacher, always rejoiceful in singing songs of praise and worship. Her Christian journey began within the Pentecostal Church, as her grandfather served as a Pentecostal pastor. Her family always encouraged her church attendance and singing, which ultimately led to her singing live for the local radio station at an early age. Additionally, Betty also gained a bit of notoriety at school for having an impeccable vocabulary which in turn led her to compete many times in the school spelling bees.
At one point in her life, Betty stepped up and took on the role of “neighborhood mom”, because there always seemed to be something going on in the “front lawn”. Whether it was kickball, badminton, ring around the rosey or tag, there seemed to be a draw for all the kids to come and enjoy the fun and warmth that was always on tap. As the years marched by, Betty naturally slowed down at many things, but her spirit and faith in God never failed her, and she did her best at keeping busy. She loved spending time watching the birds out of her window as well as watching westerns and murder mysteries. She simply adored John Wayne and his bigger than life cowboy persona. Elvis was one of her favorite musicians, but she had a love for all music and could usually name songs after just a few notes. She was an avid word search enthusiast as well as a formidable Scrabble player. She loved her sweets, sunny days looking out at the bird feeders, and spending time with her beautiful extended family. Any day that included the grandkids made Betty smile.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations to be made to Heartland Hospice or Comfort Keepers in Betty’s memory. The family will always be eternally grateful to the caregivers and staff of both services who made Betty’s last days and even months more meaningful and a special thanks to those that touched her heart and made her smile.