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Betty Joyce Kirkland

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Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 11:21 am

Betty Joyce Kirkland was called home to be with the Lord on March 9, 2018.  

This week marked the ten-year anniversary of her beloved husband Woody’s passing.  

Betty was born in Goose Creek, Texas on November 17, 1929. She was the oldest of three children born to Fred and Ella Hopper, now both deceased. She was also preceded in death by her brothers, Pete and Curtis.  

Betty was a consummate musician - playing concert-level piano repertoire and a variety of instruments such as violin, flute and dulcimer. She was an artist, gardener and an accomplished seamstress, sewing her daughters’ dresses to perfection.

Betty married Woody Kirkland after he returned from the Pacific Theater in WWII. They were blessed with three children. They made their home in Baytown, where Betty, a graduate of University of Houston, taught music at William B Travis Elementary for 15 years. 

She also taught private piano lessons, inspiring countless children to learn music. Betty was an organist at St Paul’s Methodist Church for many years, leading musical worship along with Woody.

Besides raising their children to appreciate music, history and love of family, Betty and Woody also traveled the world. They were even baptized in the Jordan River!  

In retirement, they relocated to Elgin and then Georgetown. After Woody’s passing, Betty was called to a new direction and was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church.

Courageously, Betty went to church of her own volition when she was 12 years old. All alone, she took her two little brothers with her each Sunday; and she lovingly gave her life to Christ.  

Each night before bed, Betty and Woody prayed for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; ending their prayers by reciting the twenty-third Psalm.

Betty leaves behind her three grateful children; Mark (and wife Charlotte) Kirkland of Destin, Florida; Kathleen (and husband Craig) Kanewske of Austin; and Susan (and husband Deacon Rob) Embry of Austin. 

Surviving grandchildren and great-grandchildren include: Dylan Kirkland (and wife Suzanne) plus their children Thomas and Winona; Sarah (and husband Jay) Iverson and their daughter Zoë; Christopher Kanewske (and wife Kristen), their children Cameron, Madison and Gunnar; Eden (and husband Dave) Benavidez and their children Ava and Adeline; Justin (and wife Mindy) Kanewske; Cohen (and wife Marissa) Kanewske and daughter Bianca and new baby-on-the-way; Aaron Embry and daughter Lucy; Bethany (and husband Aiden) Bradley and their sons Elijah, Gabriel, Daniel, Jacob and Henry; Elise Embry, Kate (and husband Kyle) Whitehead and their sons Bruce, Malcolm, Oliver, Theodore and Wallace; Jack Embry, and Isabel Embry and fiancé Bradley Becker. 

The family wishes to express their deep appreciation to Father Le-Minh Pham who received Betty into the Catholic Church. Special thanks to Guiding Hospice nurses Mike and Kathy, who attended with such loving care.

A visitation was held Sunday, March 11, 2018 with the Recitation of the Holy Rosary beginning following. 

Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday March 12, 2018 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. A graveside service followed in the afternoon in Huntington Cemetery in Huntington. 

Arrangements were entrusted to Providence-Jones Family Funeral Home.

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