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Bette Witham

Bette Witham

Monday, September 7, 2020
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Witham, Bette Patricia nee Colville – Passed away peacefully on Monday, September 7, 2020 at Victoria Manor, Lindsay Ontario at the age of 96. Bette was the beloved wife of William (Bill) Witham (predeceased May 2020) for 73 years. Loving mother of Alex (Patricia), Richard (Audrey), and Susan (Bruce). Proud grandmother of Christopher (Magda), Corey (April), Aaron (Megan), Samantha (Robert), Brenna and Mariah (Lindsey). Delighted great grandmother of Tyler and Lucas. Sister to Jim Colville deceased (Lorraine), Donna (Doug Slatter, deceased), and Marilyn (Cecil Horton, deceased). Aunt to Diane, Glen and Don Horton; Carol, Barb and Greg Slatter; life-time “aunt” to Ken Clark (Sydney) and Janet (Chummer), Laura (Daniel) and Heather (Peter) Farina; and, cherished matriarch to many other extended families. Predeceased by her parents Kathleen Maud (nee Smith) and Alexander Ruff Colville.

Bette’s strong belief in family was a result of losing both her parents at the young age of eleven. She and her brother Jim spent the majority of their year living in Toronto with their aunt and uncle, Ina and Len Smith, whom Bette called Mom and Dad. Her summer was precious as she was also united with her sisters, Donna and Marilyn, at the cottage in Irondale known as Joy Boy Inn.

Bette spent every summer there raising not only her own three children but welcoming many other families to enjoy the pleasures and responsibilities of a rustic cottage life. The selfless example set by Len and Ina and the communal experience of Joy Boy Inn greatly influenced Bette. From this basis, she lived a life of patience, inclusion, resilience, ingenuity, courage and good humour from which many people benefitted.

Bette graduated from Malvern Collegiate, where she met her future husband Bill and earned her teaching degree from the University of Toronto. She taught in Nobel, Ontario and then was married in 1947 after which Bette devoted her life to her husband, children, Joy Boy Inn and to her beliefs.

Bette lived her faith and she participated in church life wherever she and Bill resided. She was especially active at St. Paul’s Anglican Church during her 56 years of living in Lindsay. She was a founding member of the St. Francis Bible Group; a member and president in St. Paul’s ACW; a lay pastoral visitor, a Lay Delegate to Synod; a member of the Outreach Committee, a church lector and was involved in many of St. Paul’s' special activities. Bette was a member of the Order of St. Luke and was active in Cursillo. In the summer, she also attended and taught Sunday School at St. John’s Anglican Church, Irondale.

Bette’s special gift was her sincere and warm hug that she believed was a basic human need. When anyone would thank her for something, she would say she would take her “payment” in hugs. The “firm foundation” of Bette’s life was shaped by selflessness and sacrifice. All who knew Bette were blessed by her exceptional generosity, ability to listen, her care and concern.

The family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the dedicated staff at Victoria Manor. In keeping with Bette’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at a future date. For those wishing to do so, donations can be made in memory of Bette to a charity of their choice. Condolences and favourite memories can be shared at www.mackeys.ca
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Glen Miller

Posted at 10:13am
I was one of those fortunate people who was treated like family by Bette and Bill. I was welcomed into their home on many occasions, sometimes with a spur of the moment dinner invite if I happened to stop by on my way from work. Bette' s gift of hospitality was remarkable, and her ability to make people feel welcome and at home was a special part of her caring personality. Her generosity extended to include Glen when we were making our wedding plans. Glen was able to stay with the Withams for a few days prior to our wedding, and I was offered the use of their home as a place for my attendants and I to dress for my wedding. I know that this love of people grew from Bette's faith, and service to God. She was a shining example of living out one's faith, and an inspiration to others. "Well done, good and faithful servant".

Mary Beth and Ven. Glen Miller

Judy Robinson

Posted at 09:50am
Susan and family I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Bette, she was a very special lady. Everyone loved her hugs, she had an amazing life full of faith, family & love. She is now joined with her beloved Bill, may they rest in peace.
Thinking of you with deepest sympathy, memories are a wonderful thing. God Bless Judy Robinson

MaryLou Tompkins

Posted at 11:01pm
I cried when I learned of Bette’s death... not for her, because I know she has received ultimate healing and is already praising her Saviour face to face! I cry because I loved that special soul and cherish the memories of her kind and gentle ways, her wisdom and deep faith, her strength of character as the director of the weekend I made my Cursillo, and for the hugs she so generously shared! I had utmost respect for Bette! I also cherish the memory of Bill playing his accordion to accompany a group of Cursiistas singing the Manyanita very early one morning in front of our home! What a wonderful pair who a blessing to so many!

MaryLou Tompkins

Posted at 03:52pm
How saddened I was to hear of Bette’s death...certainly not for her as she now has ultimate healing and is worshipping our Lord face to face..but the tears are for those of us who knew and loved her dearly. Bette was Director of my Cursillo weekend and will always have a special place in my heart and memories. She was such a warm and caring soul who lived her faith and encouraged others in their walk! I also well remember the wonderful sound of Bill on the accordion as he accompanied a group outside our home early, in the morning, singing the Manyanita ! I cherish the memories of her hugs as she’d ‘Pass the Peace’ in her own special way!

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