Bettye Jean was born on July 19, 1942 in Baxley, to the late New York and late Thelma B. Isom. She had one sibling who preceded her in death, Bobby Lee Isom.
Bettye accepted Christ at an early age and became an active member of St. James A.M.E. Church. She faithfully served as a Sunday School teacher, class leader, assistant financial secretary, and a junior choir member under Reverend Lanier’s pastoral leadership. Additionally, Bettye formed a gospel group, The Spiritual Singers with Doris Jean Simmons, Lola Reddish, and Charlotte Paulk. They appeared in many churches sharing their musical gifts.
After graduating from Appling County High School in 1960, Bettye moved to East Orange, New Jersey, to attend Drake College of Business. While working part-time for Clark Moving and Storage as a secretary, Bettye met and married the late Ernest Wilson Bazemore. God blessed their union with a wonderful son, John Darrell Bazemore.
Bettye joined St. James A.M.E. Church, Newark, New Jersey, where she sang with the senior choir. She performed at many weddings and other special church services. In 1976, Bettye moved her membership to St. Mark A.M.E. Church in East Orange, New Jersey. She served as a senior choir member, singing first soprano, soloist, class leader, president of the ladies guild, missionary, and hospitality committee member.
Following a divorce from Earnest, Bettye met and married Hosea Lofton in 1972.
Bettye worked at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, New Jersey, from 1966 until her retirement in 2002. She began her career as an environmental aide. She became a union delegate for District 1199J until 1987 when she joined management to become the Environmental Services Department’s senior coordinator. Bettye gave oversight to a team of 73 employees. Retiring after 36 years, Bettye moved back home to Baxley in 2002 to spend quality time with her mother and to be closer to her son and his family.
Bettye reunited with the St. James A.M.E. Church of Baxley. She served as a stewardess assistant until appointed as a stewardess and, most recently, the Pastor’s Steward. Additionally, she was the Hospitality Chairperson, the Sunday School Secretary, President of the Pastor’s Pulpit Aides Board, Missionary, maintained the church marquee, and editor of the first church directory.
Under the pastoral leadership of Reverend Kevin Moore, Bettye and members of the Pastor’s Pulpit Aide Board, Sis. Carolyn Reaves and Sis. Luna Maxwell presented the church with the Memorial Quilt, that hangs in the Memorial Room in the Fellowship Hall, which honors the late members and Trailblazers of St. James A.M.E. Church. Bettye really loved her church.
Bettye loved to cook and enjoyed sharing what she had with others.
Her hobbies were small upholstery projects, making jellies, jams, preserves, and peach and pear cobblers. She had a secret recipe for fried fish and hush puppies. In 2002, Bettye hand-stitched quilts and banners for family members during the Isom Family Reunion, She wrote poems, was a great public speaker and had a great sense of humor.
Bettye leaves to mourn a loving and devoted son and daughter-in-law, John Darell and Renee Bazemore of GA, grandchildren, Briana, Darrell Joseph, Jon’Qua, (Amani), all of GA, Ashley of OH and Rodney of DC, the godmother of Nikki and Cameron Ellis, Bobby Crayton, and Amanda Daniels of GA, she was Nina to Al Jr. and Tonya James of GA, two aunts, Marie Cray and Carolyn Reaves of GA, big sister, Terry Holmes of NY, three sisters-in-law, Daphne Lofton, Ina Lofton, and Yvonne Lofton of NC, brother-in-law Moses Lofton of DC, the Lofton Family nieces and nephews, best friends, Joan M. Brown Williams of MI, Joan Day and Elizabeth Monroe of NJ, Genevieve Garnes, Arthalia Nelson, and Charlie King, all of GA, Arletha W. Devan of NC, Paul Rogers of CA (who took the place of a brother after she lost Bobby), Leroy and Doris Clark of MI, a host of cousins including Mary (Sister) Brown, Frank Cray, Vera Mitchell and Peggy Garnes all of GA, the Cray Family and the entire Isom Family (who she always told they were her favorite ones), her church family and friends from many states.
Funeral Services were held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at Baxley Cemetery with the Rev. Dr. Cheryl Robinson officiating and Rev. Douglas Stinson giving the eulogy.
Active pallbearers were Vernon Isom, Wallace Isom, Walter Isom, Alfred James Jr., Maurice Barron and Bobby Crayton.
Musical selections were rendered by Mrs. Carolyn Wade and Mrs. Vera (Jap) Mitchell.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to C. M. Brown Funeral Home.