Betty Lavelle Higgs Bridges Lamberson

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Betty Lavelle Higgs Bridges Lamberson, age 80, of Wheaton, Missouri, passed away Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at her home.

She was born June 24, 1939, at The Wheaton Hospital in Wheaton, Missouri, the daughter of Chester Oliver and Della Marguerite (Hoyt) Higgs. On September 17, 1960, she was united in marriage to Milford Edwin Bridges and to this union two daughters, Gail and Susan were born. On June 17, 2005, she married Ralph Edgar Lamberson, who survives. Ralph and Betty grew up on neighboring farms and were life-long friends, even dating while in school. Some 45 years later, after life changes, they found each other again.

Also surviving are her two daughters, Gail Lea Bridges Powers and her husband Craig of Bentonville, Arkansas and Susan Lavelle Bridges Barnes Hart and her husband Jesse of Wildwood, Missouri; a step-daughter, Teresa Marie Lamberson Hopper of Monett, Missouri and four grandchildren, Eric Logan Powers, Lauren Shelby Powers Gilleran and her husband Dale, Mya Lavelle Barnes and Tyler Fitzhugh Hopper.

Preceding her in death were her parents; one infant sister and one brother, Gary Joe Higgs.

Betty received her elementary education in Clark School, Oklahoma School and Butterfield School all in Barry County, one year at Ozark, and then finished at Wheaton where she graduated from high school in 1957. She attended Kansas City Airline School and then Southwest Missouri State University. In 1999, she attended Oxford University, Christ College Summer School in Oxford, England. In the beginning of her working career Betty was employed at Rockaway Beach Resort Drugstore along with babysitting. She moved to Springfield, Missouri, and worked at Kresge’s Dime Store on the square during Christmas. She worked for Colonial Dinner House, was Toy Girl at the Toy Box on the Plaza and Western Auto in Springfield. Most of her adult life was spent as a mother and homemaker, but kept busy volunteering as Girl Scout leader, PTA Officer, home room Mother, election board, school elections, Democrat committee registration, kitchen helper at Webb City High School, did custom sewing mostly for proms and Joplin Centennial, an adult library page for Webb City Library, and worked at JC Penney’s Department Store. At age 40 she opened the Calico Corner Quilts in Webb City, where she taught quilting classes and later taught at Bernina of Joplin. For several years, she taught quilting classes in the Continuing Education Department at MSSC in Joplin. She taught quilting for a total of 20 years. She organized the Town & Country Quilters Guild of the Joplin area, where she served as president and later as treasurer for four years. For six years, she served on the board of the Joplin Historical Society and Dorthea B. Hoover Museum and also was a volunteer. She was the events chairman for Clothing and Textiles Preservation and was co-chairman of 10 quilt shows and 4 special quilt displays. She coordinated two clothing and textile shows featuring, “100 years of wedding dresses.” For three years, she judged quilts at the Ozark Empire Fair and several area guild quilt shows. Betty helped with hanging a gallery of antique quilts at a show and sale in Aspen, Colorado. She had several flea markets and antique booths in Joplin, Pierce City and Ozark. She prepared the papers for the National Register list for the Wheaton Depot. In 2007, she and her husband, Ralph co-authored the Wheaton Centennial book, “Wheaton Echoes” and helped organize the Wheaton Historical Society, spending almost two years in the restoration of the Wheaton Depot. She served as treasurer and acquisitions chairman for the Wheaton Depot Museum.

Services were held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, May 10, 2020, at McQueen Funeral Home in Wheaton, Missouri, with Pastor Tony Ball conducting the services. Burial was at Waldensian Presbyterian Cemetery in Monett, Missouri.

Contributions may be made to Wheaton Historical Society or Wheaton Depot Museum in memory of Betty.


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Wheaton, Missouri