It is with great sadness that Betty Ward Pearson’s family announces her passing on March 21, 2019, at the age of 91.
Betty was born in Austin, Texas, in 1927, to Charles and Emily Stevens Ward. She and her mom returned to their home in Roswell, a few weeks later. She was the middle child, raised with treasured brothers – Charlie Jr, and George.
Ward family life revolved around the New Mexico Military Institute, where Charles taught History and was later Superintendent. Betty’s childhood was full of countless adventures involving many friends, school functions and dances, and exercising the Institute’s polo ponies. From early childhood, Betty demonstrated both aptitude and passion for art, which were nurtured and shared by her fraternal grandpa, Joseph. She carved her first piece, a wooden fish, at age five, while sitting side by side with her grandpa atop the stone wall of their home on College Avenue.
Betty’s college studies included Mary Washington College in Virginia, the University of Oklahoma, and San Jose State College in California, where she earned an Occupational Therapy degree.
In 1950, Betty married her lifelong friend and love of her life, Tom Pearson. They embarked on a steadfast partnership spanning 65 years, raising their three children Dan, Steve, and Michelle, and serving as active members of their communities while relocating frequently over the course of Tom’s engineering career. Postings included Houston Texas, Brookhaven Mississippi, New Orleans Louisiana, and in Texas at Kelsey Camp, Refugio, Portland, and finally back to Houston.
In addition to managing the household, co-parenting the children and coordinating the family’s frequent transfers, Betty maintained a full roster of community involvement, social events and personal interests, constantly expanding her artistic talents. Her wood carving, painting, jewelry making, and carved stone sculpture pieces, often displayed in cases designed and custom-built by Tom, won accolades and awards. While the recognition was satisfying, Betty’s greatest joy was in creating and sharing her art with family and friends.
Upon Tom’s retirement in 1986, Betty and Tom returned to Roswell, feeling that they had “come home” again. Starting a new chapter in their lives, Betty and Tom reconnected with and expanded their circle of friends through community groups including St. Andrews Episcopal Church, New Mexico Military Institute, Chaparral Rockhounds, Friends of Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Roswell’s Spring River Park and Zoo, Sand Divers Scuba Club, Daughters of the American Revolution, as well as the local hiking and carousel groups. Having reestablished their home base in Roswell, Betty expanded her horizons to new adventures and travels to the Bahamas and Caribbean, New Zealand, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, Ireland and England.
Whether working intensely to complete pieces for an art show, baking and delivering holiday cookies and toffee to friends and neighbors, teaching carving to kids, or searching out interesting wood and stone, Betty fully engaged and eagerly participated in life. She loved meeting new people, learning new things, and sharing mutual interests.
Betty was preceded in death by her dear son Steve, and beloved husband Tom. In December 2017 she moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, to be close to her daughter, Michelle Pearson, and son-in-law, Greg Phillips.
Betty is lovingly remembered by her son Dan Pearson, Michelle and Greg, her many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and dear friends. Memorial donations celebrating Betty’s life may be made to the Defenders of Wildlife (http://www.defenders.org/), the Ocean Conservancy (https://oceanconservancy.org/), the Roswell Assurance Home (http://www.assurancehome.org/contact.htm), or a cause of your preference. Betty’s family sincerely appreciates the love, friendships and engagement shown by so many in Betty’s long, well-lived life. A special thanks goes to her many loving caregivers.
No memorial service is planned.