Betty Iris Ware Wentz, of Wilmington, died Friday, April 10, 2015, at Lower Cape Fear Hospice. She was 88.
She was born on Aug. 11, 1926, in Kings Mountain, daughter of the late Arnold Hunter and Eunice Geneva Ware. Betty was also preceded in death by her husband, a decorated WWII bomber pilot, James Ira Wentz, in 1951 as well as her one-year-old baby brother, Bobby Hunter Ware, on Christmas Day 1933.
Betty is survived by her two children, Barbara O’Neal (Elliott), of Wilmington, with whom she had made her home for the last three years and James Ira Wentz Jr., of Greensboro. She is also survived by two grandsons, James Elliott O’Neal (Sheri) and William Christopher O’Neal (Catherine), of Charlotte. Betty is also survived by two great-grandsons, William Kendrick O’Neal and James Wyatt O’Neal, both of Charlotte.
While in high school, Betty was chosen to attend Girl’s State at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, now UNC-Greensboro. She played the clarinet in an awarding-winning high school marching band and skipped her senior year of high school to attend Western Carolina College in the western North Carolina mountains in Cullowhee.
She quickly learned to love the mountains at an early age when visiting in the summers with her parents at Lake Junaluska. For her junior and senior years of college, she transferred to Wake Forest College during the first year that women were admitted on campus. She graduated from there in June 1947 and married the Wake Forest man of her dreams in September 1947 and they made their home in Danville, Virginia. Upon her husband’s sudden death in 1951, Betty brought her two babies to Wilmington to be close to her parents.
When her children became school aged, Betty began teaching Sunset Park Junior High School’s accelerated seventh grade students before transferring 15 years later to teach science to seventh and eighth grade students at MCS Noble Junior High School. In all, she taught 32 years in New Hanover County. Her first goal in retirement was to be devoted to the care of her mother and then her father.
She was always thinking of others above herself. And in the end, as her Alzheimer’s progressed, the light of her beautiful spirit shown brighter and brighter to the end. Betty left her family an extraordinary and inspiring legacy teaching us God’s fruits of the spirit in her own quiet way.
Burial is planned for 10 a.m. Monday, April 13, 2015, at the family plot in Kings Mountain. Plans for a memorial service here in Wilmington will be announced at a later date by Andrews Mortuary.
The family requests in lieu of flowers that a donation would be appreciated in her memory to the Lower Cape Fear Hospice; the American Heart Association; the Alzheimer’s Association; or a charity of one’s choice.
Please leave online condolences f0r the family at Andrews Mortuary.
To view the full list of Port City Daily obituaries, click here.