Bettie Branson Ward; (“Mimi” for those close to her) passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 21, 2021 after 93 years of smiles, laughter and sharp minds after a brief illness complicated by pneumonia.
Born on February 8, 1928, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Frank L. and Mary B. Branson, she spent her early teenage years in Tucson, Arizona while her father served during World War II. When she returned to Oberlin, Ohio, she graduated from Oberlin High School in 1945 and followed her older sister Pat to the University of Texas at Austin, where she would meet her future husband, Joe H. Ward Jr., while completing student physics . She later received a Masters in Education from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX in 1969. She valued her career in elementary education; first at St. Mary’s Hall in 1949-52 and then as a second grade teacher at Cambridge Elementary School in Alamo Heights from 1971-1984.
Bettie was active in community life in San Antonio; From her early years as president of the Sunset Hills Elementary School PTA and a member of the League of Women Voters to her later life as president and treasurer of the Alamo Heights Retired Teachers Association. She was an active member of the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library and a lecturer at the Institute for Texan Cultures. where she spent many retired afternoons in elementary school clad in period costume portraying early Texas settlers; a role she enjoyed very much. She was a board member of the Northwest YMCA and a member of the Board of Registrars of the University of Texas System. She was an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio for many years. Many of its members became steadfast friends and supporters at the dawn of their lives.
Her final and greatest 13 years were spent at the Lincoln Heights Forum in San Antonio. whose employees and residents became their “second family” and who were amazed at their cheerful demeanor, their contagious laughter and their jackets with glittering sequins. If not in the forum; She traveled the world with her eldest son Bradley in tow to learn about the many cultures she embraced.
Her 62-year-old husband Joe H. Ward Jr., parents, and daughter-in-law Miriam Ward had preceded her death. She is survived by her older sister, Patricia Johnson of Austin, TX. Sons Bradley Ward of San Antonio and Dr. Kent Ward and Mrs. Marsha of Edmond, Ok; Grandson Kevin Ward and wife Laura, Molly Jobe, and husband Casey both from Edmond, OK; Miranda James and husband Austin from San Antonio; and great-grandchildren Bennett, Fletcher, Lyla, Piper, Margot and Teddi.
“Mimi” will be honored at a “Celebration of Life” ceremony at a date yet to be determined. Instead of flowers, she asked for donations to be made to the following charities: Foundation Fund of the Institute for Texan Cultures; Friends of the San Antonio Public Library; First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio; or to the charity of your choice.
The family would like to acknowledge Amada Senior Care, whose carers treated Mimi as if she were her mother.
She wanted this poem to be read at her service:
Afterwards Helen Lowrie Marshall
I want the memory of me to be happy
I want to leave an afterglow of smiles when the day is over.
I want to leave an echo that whispers softly along the paths.
Of happy times and times of laughter and bright and sunny days.
I want the tears of those who mourn to dry in the sun.
Of happy memories that I leave behind when life is over
Posted in Express News on February 28, 2021.