Edwin Leon Bettis was born on October 16, 1927. And he passed from this place on May 17, 2021. In between those 34,182 days, he touched lives and became so many things to so many people.
Memorial service will be at 11:00 a.m., Friday, May 21, 2021 at South Georgia Baptist Church, 5209 S. Georgia St. Interment will be private. Arrangements are by Schooler Funeral Home.
He had many names. He was called:
Edwin – “That’s what Uncle Sam calls me.”
Leon by family and friends;
Dad, Daddy, or Pop by his children;
Papa by his grandchildren and great grandchildren. And stories will be told about him to his great-great grandchildren;
And Ed by a particularly dear nurse. “You know his name is Edwin, right?” “Yea, I just call him Ed.”
He was well known in the community for his ability to work on heaters, air conditioners, freezer units, and just about anything that needed fixing. Even in the neighboring cities, Leon Bettis was a household name. If he couldn’t fix something on the first day, he would figure out a way to fix it the next day.
People were drawn to him because of his kindness, the twinkle in his eye, and his smile.
Many were the times when people would be drawn into his stories – whether they were stories of fishing days, or stories of work things, or stories about something he had read. And sometimes he would pull the rug out from under you just as you settle in to soak up his knowledge, by making the story be a funny tale that would send you into a tailspin of laughter and tears.
He loved the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers. Even though others had abandoned the teams when certain players left, or certain coaches get reassigned or retired, he stayed a die-hard cheer leader for those two particular teams. Even when each team had a losing streak, he stuck with them.
Much the same way he did with people. Once he knew you were good people, he would help in any way possible. He very seldom had a harsh word or a critical word for someone. He was gracious to others at all times.
He loved John Wayne, and the old movies. In these times of the Big Screen, he chose to watch the likes of Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Wagon Train, and The Virginian. Even if he had seen the episode 14 times, he chose these shows over the new. “If I fall asleep, at least I won’t have to worry about missing something. It’s not like you can’t pick up where you left off.” The hero was also the one who prevailed, and the villain always lost. Just as it should be.
He worked at the church all the time. South Georgia Baptist Church was a second home to him. Of all his jobs, his favorite was being door greeter at the church. People would stand in his line at his door just to shake his hand, or get a hug. He knew everyone’s name and he knew who needed hearing aid devices, and who needed to sit on the end of the pew. He would walk some of the ladies down the aisle to their seat. Everyone loved Leon Bettis.
To his children, he was the fixer of all things. Over the phone, directions would be given on what needed to be done. But if needed, he would go to their houses with all the tools of his trade. He was known to travel short distances if he needed to. He helped dig up sewer lines, got underneath houses to work on heaters, climbed into attics to check wiring and insulation, and onto the roofs to do whatever needed to be done. He roofed houses, unfroze air conditioners, fixed sink pipes, installed dishwashers, and installed central air units. And he always did so, with that smile on his face that was known to everyone.
To his grandchildren, he was the man of the hour. He could make a baby laugh with a zerbert, and a bounce. He taught them to blow bubbles and whistle. And he laughed. The best pictures in the world were of Papa with his grandchildren. He couldn’t wait to hear news about each one. He and Joyce went to volleyball games, basketball games, and football games (sometimes just to see the band play). They went to choir concerts, dance recitals, and band recitals. They would go to graduations from all grade levels.
He also gave them all a love for the outdoors, and the things that grew outside. Many conversations were made about how to grow the prettiest roses, and the best tomatoes. When news of a weather storm came, he would be out in the street watching the clouds. Many lessons were taught in the middle of a street of what types of clouds to be especially wary of, and what types would bring a nice gentle rain.
And to his dear wife, Joyce, he was the apple of her eye, and the keeper of her heart. He knew what she needed sometimes before she did. They traveled across many miles, highways and byways to see those they loved, and to see sights that gave them memories to share. He desired with all of his heart to care for her always. He and Joyce went to sporting events of all kinds, including horse shows; volleyball, basketball, and football games (sometimes just to see the marching bang play). They went to choir concerts, dance recitals, and band recitals. They would go to graduations from all grade levels.
This man, Edwin Leon Bettis, is more than just a memory to those who have been a huge part of his life. He is an inspiration and a guide to be more like his Creator. His love for Jesus and his desire for knowledge of God guided him to read The Word, time and again. He was not perfect, but was an example of how to recover from those imperfections.
He will be loved and missed greatly in the days to come. He will be talked about by many as they remember all the little things he did for people. He will always be close to those he loves in moments when they need it the most.
"See you at the pass"
Edwin is survived by his wife, Joyce Bettis; 4 children, Lynda Doane (David), Ron Bettis (Patti), Barry Bettis (Wendi) and Teresa Stanley (Alan); 6 grandchildren, Angie Goodson (Mike), Stacy Davis (Jeremy), Josh Doane (Cynthia), Joi Jenkins (James), Leah Taylor (Christopher) and Keight Raborn (Braley); 13 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great grandchildren; and 2 sisters, Sharon Morris and Louise Marquis.
Donations to your favorite charity would be appreciated.