Betty Jo Stallard

September 30, 1926March 10, 2023
Obituary of Betty Jo Stallard
Betty Jo Linkous Wender Stallard passed away peacefully at the age of 96 in Richmond, Virginia, on March 10, 2023. Her loving heart could beat no more. She was born to Eugene B. and Willie May (Currin) Linkous on September 30, 1926, the 13th of 14 children. Her siblings have all predeceased her. Betty, or B-Jo as she was often called, grew up in Clinchco and Pulaski, Virginia, where she learned to make the best fried chicken in the world and to work hard to keep up with her older siblings and many cousins. It was a large, fun, and closely-knit family. She kept in touch with many of the family members still living in that vicinity. Betty left the South for high school and college in New York State, graduating from Keuka College in 1948 with a degree in biology. She was an athletic young woman and played on the college basketball team, a fierce guard at 5’2”. The friends she made at college were friends for life, and they corresponded as their health permitted. On a trip to visit family near Bristol, Tennessee, during her senior year of college, she met a young mining engineer named James David Wender, Jr., who informed her shortly after their acquaintance that he was going to marry her. And he did! They started their family in Leatherwood, Kentucky, but moved to the Chicago suburbs seeking more opportunity. A0s her husband worked and traveled in his business, Betty kept four children and various pets in line as she studied for her master’s degree in education. One of her favorite memories was a science-based class trip to Grand Teton National Park. She was one of the oldest students, but she camped, hiked, and rappelled down mountainsides alongside her younger peers. After she completed her degree, she was a frequent substitute teacher in the Lombard, Illinois, elementary school system, where her Southern accent made spelling tests a challenge! She was a wily and accurate pitcher for neighborhood backyard softball games and was usually the first “kid” chosen for the team. The Wender family relocated to Naperville, Illinois in 1966 and Betty began her career as a junior high school physical science teacher. She loved science, and math, and was an excellent teacher, inspiring her students to excel with her infectious enthusiasm. She loved the outdoors and could identify dozens of trees and birds without recourse to any book. When David Wender passed away in 1973, Betty kept busy, and her friends helped keep her spirits up. After a few years of widowhood, and with no children living at home, she decided to go to a meeting of Parents Without Partners to explore the single world. First and foremost, she was a mother, and if she met a nice man there, they would have parenthood as a common bond. She did meet a nice man, Lewis Leonard Stallard, and he became her favorite playmate and best friend. Better yet, he came with three daughters to love! They married in 1978 and lived life to the fullest. They camped, they gardened, they rescued baby sea turtles in Mexico, they visited friends and family. Betty’s heart delighted in the expansion of her family. She came back to the South in 1996, finding her place in Richmond near close family after Lew passed on in 1994. She was a member of Richmond’s First Presbyterian Church, and attended when she was able. She was also an enthusiastic participant in the Senior Aerobics classes and 5400 Club at the Richmond JCC until her shortness of breath forced her to limit activities. Betty had a knack for making everyone feel special, from little great-grandchildren to people she’d just met. She listened attentively with respect and never missed an opportunity to be kind or show appreciation. Not that she was a complete softie – the great-grandchildren loved arm wrestling with her until she turned 90. Her sense of humor was with her til the end as she shared chuckles with family and friends. She loved all of us children and all of our families with her full heart and we all loved her right back. She is survived by her children and their spouses: David Wender III and Sue Bosetti, who rarely spent a day without visiting her and making sure she had everything she needed; Patsy Little (Bill); Carol Casper (Mark); Jean Wender (Kenny Frederick); Kathryn Stallard (Steven Davidson); and Barb Aronson (Paul). Grandchildren who adored their Granny: Sarah Katz; Mandolyn Loftis; Nathan Wender (Jen); Byron Wender (Wendy); Joshua Casper (Brittani); Elizabeth Zaccardi; Nathan Frederick; Sarah Davidson (Jason Levitis); Peter Davidson; Scott Aronson (Erin Majesty); Adam Aronson (Sarah); Jen (Joe) Liptak; Lindsey Mergit; Steven Little; 15 great-grandchildren; and many fond nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends. Betty was predeceased by her beloved husbands, daughter Marty Stallard, and grandson Jonathan Katz. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23 The family wishes to thank the caring staff at Our Lady of Hope Health Center, and Serenity Hospice. A Celebration of Life will be held at a future date. Condolences and memories may be shared online at for the Stallard family. If so inclined, donations in Betty’s memory can be made to your favorite charity.

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