Betty Jane Smith Hoar

September 6, 1931 ~ April 11, 2024

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Betty Jane Hoar passed away peacefully at home in Oxford, Mississippi, on Thursday, April 11, 2024. She was 92.

A graveside Gathering of Thanksgiving and Praise will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at College Hill Presbyterian Church, 339 County Road 102, Lafayette County, Mississippi. The service will be officiated by Reverend Jim Ray. Waller Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Betty was born September 6, 1931, in Atlanta, Georgia, the only child of Reverend Charles L. and Bettie Usher Smith. Reverend Smith soon accepted a call to First Presbyterian Church in Ripley, Mississippi, where Betty would spend her childhood years.

After graduation from Ripley High School, she earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in music and voice from Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, and was listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. At Belhaven, she was president of Kappa Delta Epsilon and won the literary award for three years. She was art editor for the college annual and feature writer for the college publication. Betty would go on to earn her master’s degree in English at the University of Mississippi, holding an assistantship, and was just a few hours short of earning her doctorate.

Betty married Jere Hoar of Oxford in 1954. They moved to Iowa, where Jere earned his doctorate in journalism, before returning to settle in Oxford. Her working career spanned many years. She was a third-grade teacher for Oxford City Schools. Many of her students, even those far away, have remained faithful friends. At Ole Miss, she worked first in the Public Relations Office where she was an accomplished writer with articles published in regional and national magazines and newspapers, and next in the graduate school as a grants writer. She later worked in the Continuing Studies Department, assisting students with their distance learning goals. Later, at the North Mississippi Regional Center in Oxford, she served individuals with developmental disabilities as a social worker and teacher (earning her certification for both through testing only).

Known affectionately as “Miss Betty,” her attributes and talents were many though she preferred to work and do good works in the background. Her voice was one that made you want to sit near her in church. She loved all of the old, traditional Christian hymns, and was reciting their words in whispers even a few days before her death. An accomplished artist, her watercolor paintings are cherished by those who own them. She was also a true Southern cook, and making wonderful meals for her family and friends gave her great pleasure.

She enjoyed many wonderful cats who found their way into her life when she needed them most, most recently her beloved Sammy. She enjoyed listening to her scanner, but not without praying for those involved in the calls, and she only begrudgingly forgave the Oxford Police Department for encrypting their radio transmissions so she couldn’t hear them. She also loved watching the songbirds, hummingbirds, squirrels, and racoons she fed (generously) on her deck.

She was a woman who leaned on her strong faith through many difficult circumstances. She was kind and generous, a friend to the friendless throughout her life, and saw only the best in everyone she met. She led her children to faith in God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the greatest gift a mother could give. And she loved them all with every ounce of her being.

Betty’s survivors include her children, Lu Ann Smith (Tommy) of Oxford, Tom Hoar (Darlene) of Oxford, Ben Hoar (Susan) of Salisbury, North Carolina; 10 grandchildren; 14 great grandchildren; and a dear cousin, SaraBeth Crane (Frank) of Clayton, Georgia.

The family wishes to extend its deepest thanks to our dear Mama’s caregivers – Kathie Wilson, Ilean McGlarn, Shirley Dennis, Melony Perry, Pinky Glaspie, and Martha Campbell; and the staff of Baptist Hospice-North Mississippi. You helped give her end-of-life story a happy, comfortable, safe ending as she now rests in the loving arms of her Lord and Savior.

Contributions in Betty’s memory may be made to Friends of North Mississippi Regional Center, 967 Regional Center Drive, Oxford, MS 38655; or College Hill Presbyterian Church Building Fund, 339 CR 102, Oxford MS 38655.


Sunday, April 14, 2024 2:00PM – 12:00AM

College Hill Cemetery
339 CR 102
Oxford, MS 38655

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