BETTY J. FLEMING was born on December 28, 1938 to her late parents Mary Wilbon and Comer Parham in Fosters, Alabama. To this union her older sister, the late Armelia Conway was born. Betty and her family later relocated to Lockport, Illinois where Betty attended Fairmont Grade School and graduated from Lockport Township High School in 1957.
As she embarked upon her career, Betty initially enjoyed styling hair and was quite talented at it but soon discovered her true God given talent and gift, the art of being an excellent tailor and seamstress. Soon thereafter, she set her sights on entrepreneurship and went on to own and operate Orchids Tailor Shop in Joliet, Illinois. It is important to note that this was quite an impressive accomplishment due to the racial climate of America during that time.
Betty met her husband, Vann F. Fleming and the couple married on December 19, 1970. To this union they had three children, Armaria, Frederick and Christopher. As the years matriculated, Betty and her family moved to San Francisco, California, Seattle, Washington, Nyack, New York, Mount Vernon, New York, Alexandria, Virginia and lastly Dale City, Virginia where Betty resided until her death on Sunday, August 9, 2020 when God called her to her Heavenly home.
As Betty was a very loving and engaging individual, with every relocation and within every new city and state, Betty formed strong and lasting friendships that spanned both numerous miles and time. Additionally, Betty and Vann became foster parents to two very special children in their lives, LaVonne and Gregory Jamison and loved them as if they were their very own. Betty also has several Godchildren whom she adored. Betty is affectionately known as “Aunt Betty” to many children near and far as she has always been a nurturer and caregiver throughout her life’s travels.
Betty earned her Associates Degree in Arts from Elizabeth Seton College in New York in 1983. She was previously employed by the Jewish Guild for the Blind as a Nurse Aide and later at Travelers Insurance Company when she resided in New York. Upon relocating to Virginia, Betty was employed by Boat US and Kaiser Permanente until her exacerbating health complications increasingly made it challenging for her to work.
Betty valiantly lived her life as a true champion for the King by accepting Christ at an early age and allowing God to lead her from her childhood years to her seasoned years as a senior citizen. She was a former member of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church located in Lockport, Illinois where she worshipped until she married and relocated with her family. While residing in Seattle, Washington Betty worshipped at Goodwill Baptist Church. Betty also served as a deaconess at Unity Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York and thereafter, Bethlehem Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. As time ensued, she later joined The Life Church located in Dale City, VIrginia where she worked with the Seniors Ministry until her health issues impacted her ability to continue doing so.
Betty exemplified the embodiment of courage, power and strength as she battled several ailments and illnesses for the past three decades. She was her own SHE-ro: one-third Bionic Woman, one-third Wonder Woman and one-third Foxy Brown/Pam Grier as she would fight and win and fight and win again! Betty in essence was a one of a kind woman! Within an hours time she could curl some hair, bake a cake and tailor a pair of pants in 60 minutes flat....well maybe not 60 minutes, but very close to it! She also had a green thumb possessing a special flare for growing beautiful flowers and plants and just like she sowed seeds to grow flowers she also sowed seeds in growing her personal relationships with others. Our beloved Betty will definitely be missed and will never be forgotten. Her earthly body has been healed and her beautiful Heavenly home has been revealed!
Loving and cherished memories will continue to be held by her husband and best friend of nearly 55 years Vann Fleming, daughter Armaria “Gigi” Fleming, son Frederick “Terry” Fleming, son Christopher “Chris” Fleming, daughter-in-law Kimeerly Fleming and her special life’s joy- grandchildren Alycia Fleming, Ayanna Fleming, Antione Fleming and Aaliyah Fleming. Precious and dear memories are also held by her loving nieces and nephews Gwen (John) Conway, Robbie (Richard) House, Candrea (Mike) Dennie and Pervis (Shamila) Conway; great-nieces and great nephews Rishawn House, Ryan House, Brianna Woolridge, Rakelle House, Krista Toombs, Desmond Conway, Kylan Conway, Joshua Conway and Jordan Conway and great-great nieces and nephews Jaylah House, Ryan House Jr., Braxton House, Rishawn House Jr., Nathan House and Ava Rose House. She was preceded in death by her mother Mary (Thomas) Wilbon, father Comer Parham, sister Armelia (Percy) Conway, mother-in-law Elmira Fleming and life long best friend Margaret Rollins.
Betty will also lovingly be missed by her sister-in-law Flo Young, brothers-in-law Kermit Fleming and Frank Fleming; special cousins Robert Floyd Cooper and JoAnn McNear; Godchildren Yolanda Credle, Cherrelle Caldwell, LaKesha Robinson and Erica Maxberry and special friends Vivian Brown, Joe Daniels, Val Midkiff, Crystal Foxx, Cheryl Shell, Ida Lynch, Melvin Brown, Rodney Murry and a host of other treasured loved ones, relatives and good friends.
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