Bette Roaden Whitaker, 84, passed away peacefully April 4, 2020. Born September 27, 1935 in White House, Tennessee to Alma and Leonard Roaden, Bette married her best friend and love, Carl D. Whitaker, all of whom preceded her in death, as did her brothers, James Andrew Roaden and Leonard Martin Roaden. Her son, Rick, the joy of her life, also predeceased her, leaving a tremendous void in her heart that she graciously filled through devotion to her extended family, fellowship with loving friends, and service to her beloved church.
Bette’s two older brothers, Jimmy and Martin, were large forces in her formative years. As brothers do, they teased and provoked sweet Bette incessantly, which developed and honed her most endearing traits of patience, tolerance, and forgiveness. A lifelong learner, young Bette would ask questions of her older brothers as they wrestled with their nightly homework. Bette read along with her older siblings sparking an early aptitude for learning. Bette began reading the newspaper at age seven.
This drive continued as Bette graduated Salutatorian from the White House High School Class of 1953 and as she worked through the management ranks at National Life and Insurance Company and later American General being promoted the first female Vice President. She was an early female trailblazer and achieved her success with a reputation of being a true lady with both fortitude and grace. She managed many people over the years and was known for her calm and fair demeanor.
Bette was a pillar of the Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church and was a Sunday school teacher her entire adult life. She was even known for taking over the role of delivering the sermon on a few occasions when the minister was absent.
Bette loved cards, playing board games, and watching movies with her family, as well as playing the piano. She was a fervent conversationalist and kept a loving finger on the pulse of those she loved. As she aged and travel was more a challenge, Bette maintained an extensive phone tree, and those on it benefited from her caring checkups. She revered Perry Como, listening to her favorites right up until her death.
Bette is survived by family: Cheryl Heath (Jack), Sandra Lowery (Jerry), Karen Rippy (Jeff), Rick Roaden, Lisa Skinner (Chip); she was predeceased by Sylvia Carney and Steve Smith. She also leaves behind many grandnieces and grandnephews that she loved and touched deeply.
The Reverend Sam Brown will conduct a graveside burial and a celebration of Bette’s life will take place at a later date when her family and friends may gather to share their love of this truly exceptional lady!
In lieu of flowers please consider a contribution to the Hope Center 1115 TN-76 White House, TN 37188 (615) 672-0298 or to Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church P.O. Box 422 White House, TN 37188 (615) 513-4485. Bette’s family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to the staff at The Lodge at Natchez Trace for their kindness and tremendous care throughout her stay.