Betty Kelley is a delight to talk with. She has an excellent sense of humor and can make anyone laugh. Anytime I walk by her with heels on she says, “You shouldn’t tiptoe around like that!” which always makes me smile. She is a joy to have in our facility and I was so glad to be able to sit down with her and learn more about her.
Her full name is Edna Elizabeth (Repass) Kelley and she said people have always just called her Betty. When asked what City she was born in she said, “The city of Bland and I think the population was 28” she laughed. She said she loved growing up there because everyone knew each other and her father was the county clerk for 42 years and was well known in the community. Betty was born in 1923 and is now 95 years old. She has been a resident here since 2013.
When Betty was a child growing up she wanted to be a librarian because she loved to read. Even today when I spoke with her she was reading a book. She went to Marion Junior College and then attended the West Virginia Business College. Her first job was with her father at the clerk’s office. She had tried to get jobs elsewhere but all of them required experience and she did not have any so she got a job with her father. In interviews following that she never disclosed that it was with her father she simply said that she worked in the clerk’s office so that way no one thought she was being shown any favoritism.
Betty didn’t recall her first car but her favorite car was a blue Pontiac convertible that she had when she was younger. She said that her father sold it right out from under her because he was afraid for her safety but she remembers that car fondly. Her mother was the daughter of a Methodist minister and was a very loving and kind woman. Her best friend growing up was her cousin Ellen who was older and got her into some trouble. Her father did not approve of her running around with Ellen but he was in a tough spot because she was the daughter of his favorite sister. Betty said that she and Ellen used to walk outside of Bland and throw up their thumbs and climb in the first car that stopped to get a ride to Wytheville where they just walked the streets. She said her father never found out but she would have been in big trouble!
A few extra bits of information about Mrs. Kelley are that she loves watching the local news, her favorite flowers are roses, and her favorite movie was “Smilin’ Through” which came out in 1932. Her favorite color is red and she says it is because one time she wore a red dress that her mother had made her to Sunday school and one of her mother’s friends called saying that her son fell in love with the girl in Sunday school in the red dress.
Heritage Hall – Tazewell
Categorised in: Heritage Hall Profiles