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Elizabeth "Betsy" May Warren

Obituary for Elizabeth "Betsy" May Warren

January 27, 1916 - December 18, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 102

Obituary

Elizabeth "Betsy" May Warren (nee Avery) passed away on December 18, 2018, just short of her 103rd birthday. She was born on January 27, 1916 in St. Louis, Missouri to Albert and Ethel Avery. Betsy received an art education degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and then moved to Chicago where she attended the Chicago Art Institute and played the organ for her Church. She also met husband-to-be, William "Bill" S. Warren III, while he was training for Naval Service in 1940. He was soon shipped out to Pearl Harbor, but in 1942 he was transferred to a ship out of Boston and Betsy rode the train there to meet him. They married in Boston and her new husband went back to war.

After the war, she and Bill moved to Columbia, Missouri where he completed a journalism degree and they began a family. They soon relocated to Childress, Texas where Bill had found work on the local newspaper. While raising two sons, Betsy taught piano to neighborhood children. In 1950 Bill and Betsy moved to Austin where Bill took a job on the Austin-American Statesman and they added two more children to the family. Betsy found an artist's job with Steck Publishing Company, and she began writing and illustrating children's books which Steck published. She got the idea to sketch historic buildings in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth and she published these sketches to sell as notecards which were quite popular back when people wrote letters. In 1965 she was chosen "Outstanding Woman in the Arts" for the City Of Austin.

She developed a deep love of Texas history and went on to write and illustrate dozens of books on Texas that are still sold around the state at places such as the Bullock Museum and the Alamo. In 1968 Betsy stitched a quilt with multiple squares, each depicting an important era in Texas history. She gave scores of presentations to schools about Texas history, using the "Patches of Texas." The Briscoe Center for American History accepted her quilt as a part of their permanent collection.

In 1971 she won the Texas Institute of Letters Award for best children's book for her book, "Indians Who Lived in Texas." She started her own business, RanchGate books, in 1976 to distribute her work throughout the state and beyond. She also volunteered to teach Texas history for the Lifetime Learning Institute at the Bullock Museum. In 1996 she was a featured author in Laura Bush's first Texas Book Festival.

Betsy became a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church after arriving in Austin in 1950 and she served as their organist from 1955 to 1988 even as she taught piano lessons in her home to hundreds of children. Following her husband's death in 1992, Betsy continued teaching piano and publishing stories about Texas history, including books on Moses and Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, LBJ, Women in Texas, Explorers of Texas, and Young Pioneers of Texas to name a few.

All who knew her would not necessarily tell you of her many accomplishments as a teacher, writer, artist and musician, or even that she was a devoted wife for 50 years and a wonderful mother and confidante to her children, but rather that she was one of the most gracious, loving and gentle persons you could ever meet. Simply put, she loved everyone. And everyone loved her. She leaves behind four children; son Bill and his wife Lynn; son Steve and his wife Debbi; son Mark and his wife Kate; daughter Missy and her husband Mike Roberts. She leaves also several nieces and nephews, seven grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

In addition to her parents and her husband, she was preceded in death by her sisters Margery Avery and Marian Whitehead and brother Albert James Avery III.

The family would like to thank the very special caretakers at Heart-to-Heart Hospice and the wonderful staff at Brookdale Westlake where Betsy lived for 13 years.

A Memorial service will be held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church located at 3208 Exposition Boulevard on Saturday, January 5th at 1:30 PM.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations "in memory of Betsy Warren" to the Education Fund at Laguna Gloria, 3809 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703, or the Bullock Texas State History Museum, PO Box 12874, Austin, TX 78711. Or through their websites:
https://www.thecontemporaryaustin.org/educationfund
https://www.thestoryoftexas.com/get-involved/make-a-gift

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, please make donations "in memory of Betsy Warren" to the Education Fund at Laguna Gloria, 3809 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703, or the Bullock Texas State History Museum, PO Box 12874, Austin, TX 78711. Or through their websites:

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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