Frances Elizabeth “Betsy” Fulton passed away on February 7, 2017. She died at home in Falls Church, in the house she had lived in since 1959, with both of her daughters and her grand-daughter Tess at her side. The cause of death was cancer.
Born June 8, 1930 to Alice and James Simpson of DeWitt, Arkansas, Betsy passed what she always described as a sheltered, idyllic childhood. Her vivid memories included days spent roaming and playing in the cotton and rice fields of the area; attending school in a multi-grade, one-room schoolhouse where her own mother was the teacher; and twice weekly Southern Baptist church meetings, complete with fried catfish suppers, gospel sing-alongs, and inspiring Scripture readings.
Betsy attended Arkansas State Teacher’s College in Conway, Arkansas, becoming certified as a primary grades teacher. In 1951 she spent a year in Rolla, missouri, tutoring soldiers in reading. In 1952, she accepted a job as a teacher in Arlington county, va, and spent the rest of her life within 5 miles of her first apartment there.
Betsy married Joseph Fulton in December 1954. The next year they went to Rome, where Joe studied under the Fulbright program. The European travel and exposure to Italian culture and cooking left a permanent mark on Betsy. In the final weeks before her death she was busy with her annual cooking and distribution of “pizzelle”, Italian cookies.
When Betsy’s children were born, she devoted herself to her family. She joined Rock Spring church in 1965, and was a member of their church choir for 52 years. Her faith was strong throughout all of her life. She loved the church, and thought of her fellow choir members as family.
Following her divorce in 1978, Betsy began her 25 year career working in the copyright office of the library of congress. After her retirement in 1993, Betsy devoted herself to the needs of her partner, Ed Clark, and her expanding family, which included seven grandchildren. Betsy made frequent visits to her daughter Amy, often at considerable personal expense and sacrifice, to assist her at her homes in New mexico, Tennessee, and michigan.
In the mid-2000s, Betsy began volunteer storytelling, joining Arlington Spellbinders group. She attended 8 annual International Storytelling Festivals in Jonesborough, TN, with her daughter Amy, and grand-daughters Tess and Natalie. She looked forward to her monthly spellbinders meetings, where – as happened everywhere Betsy went – she made many good friends. She also continued to spend time with and do many things for her family, which now included 6 great-grandchildren.
Betsy was always quick with a helping hand, a supportive word, and a genuine smile. may she be in death as she was in life, a blessing.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, march 25, 2017, at 10 a.m. at Rock Spring Congregational Church. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Best Friends, 5001 Angel Canyon Rd, Kanab, UT 84741, www.bestfriends.org.
Lanham, MD 301-577-7787
Falls Church, VA 703-241-7402
Falls Church, VA 703-241-7402