Betty Evjen McCullough, 94, smart, resilient, funny and feisty when she needed to be, passed away Thursday, Feb. 19, at The Oaks at Mayview.
Born May 23, 1920, in LaCrosse, WI, she was the daughter of Avanelle Fulmer Evjen and Henry Oscar Evjen and valued her British, Norwegian and Pennsylvania Dutch roots.
The family moved South for better opportunities so most of her youth was spent in Memphis, TN, a city that she loved and where she graduated from Central High School. Betty attended Beloit College in Wisconsin and later Memphis State University. It was in Memphis that she met her future husband, Walter C. McCullough Jr. They were married July 1, 1944, in Spokane, WA, as he was preparing to serve in World War II. Upon his return, the couple settled in Memphis.
Betty’s decorating and artistic flair shown in the homes she created for her family in Memphis; Hickory, NC; and Greensboro, NC. She made arguably the best Christmas sugar cookies, potato salad and cream cheese dip on the planet and loved sharing goodies with family, friends and co-workers.
A caring and protective mother, Betty often said that her children were the joy of her life.
She treasured her close bond with her son, Thomas W. McCullough. She was extremely proud of Tom, who had a long career in music retailing management and helped The “5” Royales receive deserved recognition. He later held positions in the public and private sectors assisting disability claimants. Betty and Tom shared much laughter in the family home in Greensboro until Betty’s health concerns necessitated her going to Raleigh to stay with her daughter, Sherry McCullough Johnson.
Without Betty’s help, Sherry, a shy and insecure teen, might never have realized her dream of becoming a journalist. Unknown to her daughter at the time, Betty met with the high school journalism teacher urging her to add Sherry to the high school newspaper staff. Thanks to that timely nudge, Sherry went on to a 40-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor.
Although mother and homemaker were her first callings, Betty willingly entered the work world when the family’s financial circumstances demanded it. She made dear friends while doing office work at Paul Rose and Montaldo’s in Greensboro.
Betty was predeceased by her parents; her husband; and her sister, Jerrie Evjen Allen. In addition to her son and daughter, she is survived by several nephews.
Her family is deeply appreciative of the excellent care given Betty in the final chapter of her life by the nurses, nurse assistants and staff at Mayview; Dr. James Parsons; and Dr. Iftequar Ahmed.
At Betty’s request, there will be no service. Memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, or to the Ruth Sheets Adult Care Center, 228 W. Edenton St., Raleigh, NC 27603.
Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 St. Mary’s St., Raleigh, is handling arrangements.