Cover photo for Bette Nolen's Obituary
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1928 Bette 2024

Bette Nolen

December 6, 1928 — March 26, 2024

Bette Nolen, 95, of North Richland Hills, Texas passed away on March 26, 2024. She died peacefully in her home where she had lived for 67 years.

After growing up on a farm and graduating from Slidell High School in Wise County, Texas, Bette received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas. While a student there, Bette met Raymond Nolen, a fellow student at NTSU. They married shortly afterward. Throughout their fifty-four year marriage, Raymond was the fun loving, outgoing jokester, drawing people into conversation. Bette was the calm, smiling one who nurtured those relationships with her kind and gracious demeanor.

Bette had the heart of a teacher and was a life-long learner herself. She taught math and science in secondary schools before her two daughters, Ramona and Georgia, were born. Bette was committed to giving her daughters experiences that she never had, such as swimming, skating, and dancing classes, in addition to piano lessons and Girl Scouts. Although she must have been weary after a long day at work, Bette spent countless hours driving Ramona and Georgia to to various activities instilling in them values of learning and perseverance. These journeys were more than just commutes; they became cherished moments of connections and conversation. Long after the car was parked in the driveway, they were still sitting and talking. This left a lasting impression on her daughters, shaping their values and the women they would become.

After several years at home, Bette continued her long career in the Birdville School District. With the opening of Richland High School in 1961, Bette taught Biology, Anatomy, and Physiology. During those years, many students brought natural specimens for her to dissect with them. Presents such as frogs, snakes, frozen ducks, and even a front storage compartment in a VW Beetle full of cows’ stomachs!

Bette was also the first Home-Bound teacher in the Birdville School District. With compassion and skillful teaching, she served many sick, disabled, or injured children who couldn’t go to school. However she also forbade skateboards in her own home because of all the boys that she taught who had broken legs from skateboards.

Next Bette served as the Guidance Counselor at Richland High School for ten years. In this time before computers, the counselors arranged all student schedules, writing them out by hand. Even in her nineties, it was amazing how many students’ names she remembered. She also guided students in their choice of college and gave her discernment on future careers. The day before graduation, there were usually calls to her phone. The student would ask, “Mrs. Nolen, am I graduating?”

Serving in several administration positions after that, she then found great joy as the principal of
W.A. Porter Elementary. Many of her former high school students had children who were students in her school. Bette loved so many children, their siblings, the parents, and the teachers in her time there.
One of the punishments after boys misbehaved at her school was to pick up rocks on the playground. That had been her punishment growing up on a farm with too many rocks. She never forgot it and years later, that lesson proved helpful in her time as a principal. The boys remembered it years later.

In her retirement Bette had more time for the many things she enjoyed. Just a few things she loved were gardening, growing flowers, studying birds, nature of all kinds, dogs, babies, and even fossils and rocks! When Raymond was ill, she was so faithful in her constant care for him. She loved spending time with her 3 grandchildren, telling stories, camping in the Smoky Mountains, helping with math homework, and playing Yahtzee at 8 am. In the same way that she had listened to her own daughters through the years, she listened and supported her grandchildren as well. She was overjoyed that she was able to see all seven great grandchildren in person. Every time she saw a picture of them, there was a smile on her face.

Bette was truly grateful for her friendship with former colleagues, wonderful neighbors, and her fellow church members. These groups truly loved and cared for each other. She was sad when her failing penmanship meant she could no longer send notes of her appreciation. As her health failed, she suffered losses in abilities with such sweet grace and acceptance.

Bette’s family shares her gratitude to the many friends, family, and caretakers that were so faithful and caring in her final months.

Preceding her in death were her husband, Raymond Nolen, her parents, Brown Lee and Mary Rudd, and her sister, MaryLynn Taylor.

Bette is survived by her two daughters Ramona Kerby (Steve), and Georgia Gann and three grandchildren, April Gann Olson (Josh), Kyle Gann (Kristine Hrinik), and Jonathan Gann (Jodie).
She is also survived by seven great-grandchildren, Luke, Theo, Noah, and Eliana Olson, as well
as Nolen, Averleigh Jane, and Camden Gann. She dearly loved many other surviving family members including her nieces and cousins, and a dear friend from elementary school in Slidell, Reba Myers.

Bette specifically asked that little money be spent on flowers but instead be given to children in need.
1)She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Honorary Chapter of Women Educators. She supported the Theta Theta Chapter in their mission to provide necessary help for children in need. If you wish to donate, send a check made out to “Theta Theta” with
“Bette Nolen” written on the memo line. Mail to:
Theta Theta
Terri Wilson
7117 Lancashire Drive
North Richland Hills, Texas 76182

2) Donate clothes and shoes for Birdville ISD students at
Clothes Connection (Birdville Council of PTAS)
5308 E Belknap St, Haltom City TX
(817) 547-3990 or check Facebook site

3) Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, a Methodist Christian College-Preparatory School for Spanish Speaking Children. Click on the link below, Menu, Donate, and Scholarship.
lpi-elpaso.org
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bette Nolen, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, April 6, 2024

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