Betty Mae Barnes Loy, born July 31, 1932, passed away on December 7, 2019, from a heart attack due to congestive heart failure (CHF). She left this world as she lived, with beauty, strength, and grace, holding her daughter’s hand. Betty struggled with CHF in recent months, but continued to live independently until the final months of her life. Although a difficult journey, it gave her precious time to reflect on the wonderful life she lived and the people that touched her over her 87 years in Hampshire County. Once she entered her Golden Years, she became known affectionately as Ms. Betty in a community that watched over her, making sure to lift her up and tidy her hair when she stumbled. She remarked many times in recent months that she’d had a great life and very much missed her husband.
Betty was an extremely hard worker, working until age 80. She built a successful life, despite being the third of eight children born into poverty in a home with dirt floors and abusive parents. She began working at age seven, scrubbing floors for the Parkers in Burlington. Eventually Madeline Blue took her under her wing, and Betty was hired by John at the Ben Franklin five and dime variety store in Romney. She had no transportation so she walked to the end of Bear Wallow Hollow and hitched a ride with one of her life-long friends, Elsie Mathias Rupp. Elsie suggested that she give a young, handsome blue-eyed heartbreaker named Gary, who drove a black Ford Galaxie, a chance at dating her. The rest was history. They celebrated 60 years of marriage prior to his death in 2014.
Betty spent most of her career working as an executive secretary for the Hampshire County Schools after graduating from Romney High in 1950 and taking continuing education classes. After 30 years, she finished this stage of her career at the Hampshire County Career Training Center and moved on to work as an aide and bus driver for the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind (WVSDB). She spent 25 more years working part-time at WVSDB. Over the years, Betty often remarked that she had the most wonderful bosses and co-workers.
Betty was a three-time cancer survivor who served as an inspiration to other survivors. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA), Kirby Post 134, as her husband was a Navy veteran of the Korean War. She spent countless hours cheering on the West Virginia University (WVU) Mountaineers, working with her plants and flowers, reading, riding around the farm, thrifting, shopping, and interacting with her friends on Facebook. As those who knew her will certainly remember, Betty never shied away from expressing her opinions; even in her final days she was still affectionately called the Loy’s Farm Administrator. Her valued insight will be sorely missed in life and business. As a final act of generosity, Betty donated her body to the WVU Human Gift Registry.
Betty is preceded in death by her husband, Gary R. Loy. She is survived by her daughter, Dr. Beth Loy with fiancé Samantha Hott, of Morgantown and her constant companion Madison. She left this world knowing that she finally had grandchildren and knowing that she was loved by her granddaughters Kayla Nealis (Daniel), Morgan Ennis (Shane), Allyson Clower (Travis), and Alivia Hott. She was also aware that her great-grandchildren (Jaxson, Ripken, Josiah, and Andersyn) would carry on her memory, spirit, and love for laughter.
The family is grateful to all those who shared wonderful stories, sent prayers, and extended their hands to help care for her during her final days. The family also wishes to express sincere thanks to the staffs of the Job Accommodation Network at WVU and the Pierpont Center for the support they provided to the family during a difficult time.
A Celebration of Life will be scheduled at the family farm on Ford Hill Road in Kirby, once warm weather arrives. In the meantime, if you feel as if Betty influenced your life in any way, donations in her name can be made to American Legion Auxiliary, c/o Linda Riggleman, Kirby Unit 134, 355 Timber Mountain Rd., Augusta, WV 26704. Donations will go to veterans and their family members to further their education. Betty’s final resting place will be Mt. Zion Cemetery beside her husband and in-laws.