Betty J. Haslam

Betty J. HaslamBetty Jean Haslam, beloved wife and mother, passed peacefully at her home on April 3, 2020, at age 75. She leaves behind a bereaved husband, George M. “Bud” Haslam who is not at all surprised she took her leave during a pandemic because, “Betty did what she wanted, when she wanted.”

Born to Evelyn and Lt. Col. William Nagle of the U.S. Air Force, Betty grew up on military bases around the world, but remained a southern belle. It was in the traditions of the South that she became a master storyteller. Bud remembers entering a party one evening and hearing a partygoer exclaim, “The entertainment has arrived!” He invariably finishes this story by clarifying, “They weren’t talking about me.” Her penchant for embellishment meant that as the years passed her tales grew taller and, to the delight of her listeners, exponentially more entertaining.

Betty was enormously talented, especially with needle and thread. Every project, from dolls to clothes and quilts, was completed with a perfectionist’s diligence. And that perfectionism was not limited to her sewing. Woe betide any of her children who dared to complete a school project with results she found not up to her standards. She spent many a late-night helping a son or daughter who had procrastinated. And on rare occasions, if said child backed slowly and silently out of the room, there was a chance she would not notice the absence of that child and the project in question would be completed, sans kid, and receive the highest of marks. Thanks Mom.

Of all things Betty, Bud will forever insist that nobody could beat her cooking. Her thanksgiving dressing was the stuff of legend and her cheesecake, a recipe coveted by many but given to few, was a staple of every family celebration. Not all of her recipes were beloved. One of her favorites was asparagus on toast, a recipe her husband referred to as SOS (s*** on a shingle). Undeterred by this, she took a mischievous delight in watching Bud’s face fall when he realized that SOS was being served. Betty loved feeding people good food, especially her husband, but she positively relished any opportunity to tease Bud.

Miss Betty was a tough woman. Her love was fierce and protective if she thought one of hers was threatened. Kind and capable of great empathy, she was a woman without prejudice and for whom friendship and kindness were the only determining factors of a person’s worth. She was also stubborn and at times ornery. And these qualities were matched only by the stubbornness and orneriness found in Bud, the man she loved dearly. Theirs was a story of true love between birds of a feather. Two very loud birds, the kind that like to peck at each other. The kind that mate for life. Bud mourns her absence but is comforted knowing he will see her on the other side of the pearly gates holding a plate of SOS and a slice of cheesecake.

Along with her grieving husband, Betty is survived by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren: Mark Haslam, wife Michelle, their daughter Brittany, husband John, and their children Gracie, Chase, and Chance; Beau Haslam, wife Amber, and children Jacob, Autumn, and Joshua; Noel Gerdesic and children Tristan and Georgia.

Betty’s family would like to thank the ladies of Personal Care Services, and the doctors and nurses of Ridgecrest Regional Hospital who gave Betty such wonderful care in her last days. They were truly a blessing. We will be postponing a celebration of Betty’s life until after the current pandemic has subsided.

— Submitted by the family of Betty Haslam

Story First Published: 2020-04-17