Elizabeth “Betty” Barrett Temple, 84, died July 19th at ECU Health-Edgecombe Hospital in Tarboro.
Service Information Update: A Memorial Service for Betty Temple will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, September 17th, 2022 at Calvary Episcopal Church, Tarboro, NC. The reception will follow the service with family and friends gathering.
Betty was born on July 28, 1937, in Charlotte, NC to the late Thomas Richard and Josephine Faller Barrett. She grew up in the Dilworth neighborhood and met the love of her life, Peter Livermore Temple, while at Myers Park High School. While a student at Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC-G) in Greensboro, she discovered her love for journalism and interest in meeting people from all walks of life. After graduating with a degree in History, Betty worked as a reporter for The Charlotte News until her marriage in 1960 to Peter. She spent the next few years in Atlanta working to support Peter while he attended medical school at Emory University. The next several years took Betty and Peter to Galveston, Berlin, and Norfolk, bearing a child in each city. In 1969, Betty moved with her family to Tarboro where Peter started his career as a family practice physician. She welcomed the birth of two more children in the next two years. While initially uncertain if she could find happiness in such a small community, over the years she became very involved and connected with all aspects of the community.
Although she did not have a paid job in her first years in Tarboro, Betty put in more hours in a day than most spend in a week, usually waking up at 6 am and not sitting down until well after dark. She was actively involved in Tarboro Swim Club, Cub Scouts, Holy HoopSkirts Basketball Program, PTA, Community Theatre, and Calvary Epsicopal Choir. She also enjoyed tennis, as well as basketball with her kids and their friends in the side yard. Betty was extremely competitive and had no problem crushing her own children and their friends in games and sports.
In 1981, Betty was excited to return to the working world, and accepted a job with the Town of Tarboro Planning Department where she helped to establish the Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery and renovate the Blount-Bridgers House. She worked for the Town of Tarboro for 18 years and retired as Assistant Town Manager in 1999, having served three times as Interim Town Manager. She regularly rode around in her suburban listening to her police scanner, and adored her coworkers at Town Hall, along with the linemen, firemen, and policemen with whom she worked closely for years. In fact, she was entranced with all aspects of municipal functionality, often commenting on the intrinsic beauty of electric substations, water towers, waste water treatment plants, and transmission towers. Through her job with the town, Betty had the pleasure of getting to know all kinds of people that she might not have known otherwise.
Betty was a dedicated member of Calvary Episcopal Church where she sang in the Church choir for 53 years. She served her Church in any way she was asked to, including four terms as Vestry member and two years as Senior Warden. She was also treasurer for two capital campaigns, Sunday School Teacher, and member of numerous committees – Christian Social Ministries was her favorite. In addition to her job with the Town, she was a long-time member of the Historic District Commission, serving as chairman for 16 years, and also served as chairman of the Edgecombe Memorial Library Board of Trustees and treasurer of the Tarboro Swim Team. When she was 77, she began writing a column, Amblin’, and a series of feature articles for the Welcome to Tarboro Magazine.
Betty had never lived in a small town until the family moved to Tarboro in 1968. Her love for Tarboro and the flat beauty and marshes of the Coastal Plain grew as the years passed. More than that, however, Betty’s devotion and interest in the people of Tarboro and Edgecombe County was unsurpassed. She was driven to help anyone in need, from assisting immigrant families work toward gaining citizenship to helping teenage mothers access resources in the community. Her house on Saint Patrick Street was always a hub of activity, a place of refuge and welcome for people of all ages, from all walks of life, from all over the country and the world. Betty had an uncanny ability to make all people feel understood and valued. She had a gift of being equally charming and at ease whether she was at the symphony or a Van Halen concert. She loved being in her kitchen and talking with kids, visitors, friends, and pretty much anyone who was interested in conversation. Hence, her elite charter membership as a Magpie, an international “association” started by her husband to identify those in the community who love to blab.
She is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law, Leslie Temple and Dr. Adam Hill of Blowing Rock; Dr. Paige Temple of Tarboro; Barrett Temple Terrell and Steve Terrell of Wilmington; sons and daughters-in-law, Dr. John Grenville Temple and Laura Webb Temple of Tarboro; and Peter Edward Norfleet Temple and Dr. Kimberly Truscott Temple of Coats. She is also survived by her precious and much-loved grandchildren, Josephine and Andrew Hill of Blowing Rock, Barrett, Lorna and Temple Eidson of Tarboro, Flynn and Will Terrell of Wilmington, Fleet Temple of Tarboro, Booker and Scotty Temple of Coats, and her friend and step-grandson, Coleman Terrell of Wilmington, nieces Shannon Gingras of Richmond, Va., Lorna and Sarah Booker of Seattle, WA, and nephews Pete Temple of Seattle, WA, Tad Barrett of Kings Mountain and Will Temple of Ashland, VA. She is also survived by her brother-in-law and sister-in-law Dr. Andrew and Kathy Booker of Seattle, WA. and, of course, her beloved Birthday Girls.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Peter, and her brother, Richard Edward Barrett.
Betty would wish to be remembered as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and aunt, an energetic volunteer, a practicing Episcopalian, a patriotic American and a Yellow Dog Democrat.
Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers may be made to Calvary Episcopal Church, the Tarboro Swim Club or University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Temple Family Fund, UNC-G Advancement Services, 1100 W. Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27402.