The Heavenly Choir gained a soprano this week when Betty Holt Elliott, 89, passed away  in Shelby, NC on December 22, 2020.   She was born in Stanley County on April 11, 1931, to the late Glen and Mary Holt.  She is survived by her children,  Debbie (Bo) Johnson, Betsy (Rolly) Davis, Gwyn (Rusty) Fuller, Deana (C.M.) Mode and Bobby (Margie) Wallace; beloved grandchildren, Ashley (Kevin), Holly (C.D.), Erin, Allen, Savannah and Robert, and great-grandchildren Caroline, Luke, Emerson, and Charli.  She is also survived by her late husband’s daughters, Margaret Harper and Sharon (Bob) Arnold; grandchildren Chuck (Crystal), Sherry (Rick), Michael (Mory) and  Bobby and great-grandchildren Ben and Lily.  In addition to her parents, Betty was preceded in death by her husband, J.W. Elliott, her sister, Pat Brown, brothers Robert and David Holt, stepdaughter Linda Wackerman and an infant son.

Betty grew up in Asheboro, NC and graduated from Appalachian State Teachers College.  She taught 1st grade and Kindergarten in Moore County, and found much joy in her 44 years of teaching.  She touched so many young lives, and loved visiting with her former students.  Betty was a skillful tennis player, and introduced many Carthage residents to the game on her backyard clay court, also winning many trophies along the way.  Music was another passion, and she served for over 50 years as the Choir Director of the First Presbyterian Church in Carthage.  How she loved her Church and her Church Family.  And her chocolate cake was legendary at Church picnics! Her last musical position was leading a weekly session of “Sing-along-with Betty” at Brookdale in Shelby.

But, far above everything, she was an amazing Mother and Grandmother. Even while teaching full time, she never missed a sporting event or school activity for her 5 children.    “Grandma Betty” considered her grandchildren a marvelous gift, and she made each one feel so special.  How they loved spending time with her on the front porch swing, or singing with her at the piano.  

The family would like to express their appreciation to the loving staff of Brookdale Shelby, who cared for Betty as if she were family, and to Hospice of Cleveland County.   

The family will have a graveside service in Carthage in January, and hope to be able to have a Celebration of Betty’s life when conditions allow.  

Memorials to honor Betty can be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Carthage, P.O. Box 397, Carthage, NC  28327.

Services

Graveside Service:

Cross Hill Cemetery
McReynolds Street
Carthage, NC 28327


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  1. Debbie,
    My heart is with you right now… such a difficult time to lose your mom… but you can take comfort in knowing exactly where she is right now… pretty she’s playing Christmas songs on the piano there…

  2. I grew up in Carthage, across the street from Betty and her children. She was my bonus mother, and Debbie, Betsy, Gwen, Deana and Bobby were like siblings to me. Betty loved openly with her joyful heart. She was my first grade teacher, and taught me so much more about living a Christian family life than school. Betty and my mother would visit several times a week and talk over coffee. They were like beloved sisters. Words can’t describe how important this family was to my life as as child, teenager and adult. Betty was one of the sweetest persons I have ever known. She will be sorely missed, but how comforting to think of her singing in the heavenly choir, celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus!

  3. Betty Elliott was a very special lady! Not only was she my first-grade teacher, she was my friend! I shall long remember her beautiful smile, but perhaps moreso her loving personality. So sweet and so caring! Thank you for being such a special person in my life, especially in my younger years. My thoughts and prayers are with the family!

  4. I was privileged to be one of Ms. Betty’s first students at Robbins Primary School. There has never been a more loving and patient teacher. I will never for get her teaching me to tie my shoes in first grade. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Your Mom leaves behind a beautiful legacy!❤

  5. I’m so very sorry to hear of Betty’s passing. But how wonderful to be there in time to celebrate Christmas in Heaven. Oh the choir! My love to each of you.

  6. To the family of Ms Elliott, You have our deepest sympathy. She taught two of our children in kindergarten and they loved her. What a great piano player and choir leader. She was all around the best of the best. Arles worked with JW at the post office and he was also the best. Arles and Bradie Taylor Carthage NC

  7. I got to know Mrs. Elliott when she was a 1st grade teacher at Carthage Elementary. She was a fine Christian lady and a wonderful educator.

  8. There are not enough words to describe the live and respect I have for Betty Elliott. She was my kindergarten teacher and had influenced my love of school so much that I went on to teach kindergarten and first grade for 30 years myself. What an amazing privilege that many of those years were teaching with her. You provided such an amazing role model to my teaching style! I hope I made you proud. Love you forever💕

  9. Betty was always a friendly face in the stands when the Carthage High School
    basketball teams took the court. I will remember her smile, encouragement
    and caring. So sorry for your lost.
    Frances Phillips Melott

  10. I knew Betty when she first moved to Carthage. She was a delight to know. Her musical talents and her sweet smile were so special. Debbie, I remember you as well. I hope knowing that so many friends share on your loss will give you comfort.

  11. She was an amazing woman! Mrs. Elliott was my Kindergarten teacher and she made learning fun! So sorry to hear of her passing!

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