Betty Jean Holdway (Sheaffer), 96, passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at Oak Hills Terrace Memory Care Center in Tyler, where she had resided since May of 2017 after keeping her own home in Tyler for the previous 33 years.
Betty was born in Barnitz, Pennsylvania on September 24, 1922, the sixth of twelve children born to Frank Sheaffer and Elma Sheaffer (Crull). After her sister Edna completed school in mid-1945, the two moved to nearby Carlisle, where Betty found work at the Molly Pitcher Hotel. There, she met and subsequently married (on August 8, 1947) Charles (Chuck) Holdway, who had been assigned to the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks. During the following 17 years, she gave birth to four children (two boys and two girls) while moving every three years to various places here and abroad due to transfers during Chuck's active duty service. After Chuck retired from the Army, they resettled first in Alamogordo, NM, where their eldest completed high school two years later, then again in Duncanville, TX, where the younger three children completed school and left home. When the marriage ended in divorce in 1972, Betty moved to Tyler to be close to two of her children who had married and settled there. She later moved to an apartment in Jacksonville, where she lived for more than a decade, working first at Western Auto and then in one of the first Wal-Mart stores in Texas. After retiring in 1984, she moved back to Tyler and settled into her own modest but charming house in the Azalea Trails District next door to what was then the home of her youngest son and his family, later becoming that of her eldest son and his family.
Her retirement years in her house in Tyler were in many ways the most fulfilling and gratifying of her life. She had always enjoyed such things as gardening (growing fruits and vegetables to make pies, jams, relishes, or pickles when her children were young; flowers whenever possible); cooking and baking (throughout the year and in prodigious amounts for holidays); sewing and later crazy-quilting (for which she earned ribbons several times at the East Texas State Fair); and doing things for and with family and friends. Now, with three of her four children and their families having settled or resettled in Tyler or nearby, she finally had the free time and her own nice home and yard that allowed her to maintain her independence while seamlessly blending and sharing all of these pleasures and experiences with family and extended family. In addition, because she now could comfortably accommodate houseguests and travel more frequently herself, she was able to share considerably more time with her daughter and family living in California and Colorado, and to renew personal interactions with her own Sheaffer family siblings, nieces, and nephews (through trips to visit them, visits from them to Tyler, and trips to attend several Sheaffer family reunions). She was thus able to enjoy all the blessings of life supported by this ever-expanding array of family and extended family to whom she gave and from whom she received such joy and love.
Betty was predeceased by her youngest son, Michael Leon Holdway, and all but two of her many siblings. She is survived by younger sister Esther Sheaffer Holloway (Jack), and younger brother Paul Sheaffer (Shirley); son Carl P. Holdway (Christina) of Tyler, daughters Brenda Pucheu of Whitehouse and Grace Saltzstein (Alan) of Pagosa Springs, CO, daughter-in-law Kathy Holdway (widow of Michael, now married to Jeff Basehore) of Edom; fourteen grandchildren; twenty-two great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews. A family gathering in celebration and memory of her life will be held at a later date.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on May 12, 2019.