Betty Jo (Gilbert) Wadkins, 93 of Dallas, passed away on October 4, 2021 surrounded by her loving family. She was born in 1928 to B. C. Gilbert, Sr. and Georgia Gilbert. Betty was a lifelong resident of Dallas, graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School. After attending Texas Women’s University in Denton, TX she married her childhood sweetheart Bill Wadkins. Betty and Bill celebrated 61 years of marriage before Bill’s death in March of 2011.
Betty and Bill spent almost their entire married life in their Dallas home where they raised their two children. It was a home full of love, respect, laughter and joy. Her children remember their annual birthday parties that Betty spent hours planning. Parties where their favorite homemade cake was served, their friends could write a birthday message on the tablecloth, play pin the tail on the donkey, and take as many rides as they wanted on the four horse carrousel that Betty rented from the Dr. Pepper Company. Friends fondly remember her annual Christmas tree decorating party on the first Saturday in December. This was a party where Betty introduced a new tree ornament for that year and ornaments from years past (including one from Bills first tree) were hung by friends and family until the table was clear of ornaments. A good old fashioned Christmas party filled with snacks, beverages, laughter and Christmas Carols. Everyone was welcome. One of Betty’s favorite Christmas traditions was frequently celebrated alone in her living room, where she would sit for hours with only the Christmas tree lights on, listening to Christmas music from Bing Crosby, looking at all the varied ornaments on her tree, and being grateful for life. The Wadkins’ back yard was always filled with animals and Betty was passionate about feeding the local raccoons that came up from the woods for their evening meal for more than 60 years. She loved her home and shared it with many.
In addition to being wonderful home maker and loving mother, Betty’s devotion to her community led her to serve in many capacities outside the home, frequently serving multiple years in a row in many of these roles. Her volunteer efforts included, Girl Scout leader, Administrative Board member for her church, Grade School PTA president, Vice President and President of her local HOA, top fundraiser for the local YMCA, and appointee to the Dallas City Planning Commission. Her involvement in the City Planning Commission allowed her to contribute to the development of land, review city zoning cases, and develop a passion for saving mature trees including replanting new trees if one was removed in the name of progress.
Betty is survived by her daughter Jo Ann and husband, Johnny McKethan of Forney, son Jim and wife, Janet Wadkins of Dallas, granddaughter Megan and husband, Justen Franklin of McKinney, grandson Ryan, and wife Christina Crocker of Dallas, granddaughter Kathryn Crocker and husband, Rowan Ogden of Oakland, CA , great grandsons Evan and Ruben Crocker of Dallas, great granddaughter Eleanor Franklin of McKinney, and Chilean daughter Marisol Vergara of Santiago, Chile. We love you, Mother.
Visitation will be held on Sunday October 17th, 2021 from 2-4:00 PM at the New Hope Funeral Home 500 E US-80 Sunnyvale, TX (972)-226-6111. Graveside service will take place promptly at 10:45 AM Monday March 18th, 2021 at DFW National Cemetery 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, TX. In lieu of flowers please donate to Texas Trees Foundation or to The Gideons International