WILSON, N.C. – Mrs. Betsy Powell High, 80, of Wilson, NC passed away peacefully in her home on Tuesday, February 1, surrounded by her loving family. Born in Goldsboro, NC, Betsy moved to Wilson as a young child and always considered herself a native, no matter where she lived in the world.
Betsy was a member of the first class to graduate from Fike High School in 1959. She and her high school sweetheart, Tom High, spent many afternoons at The Creamery before their long-distance relationship continued while Tom attended the United States Air Force Academy. After their marriage in 1962, they began their Air Force adventure together, moving 23 times during a 30-year military career. Betsy made every house a home and formed lasting friendships everywhere she lived. She always made it a priority to keep in touch with friends and family through her dedicated practice of note-writing and phone-calling. Those who have received such a note or call will cherish the memory.
Another of her many gifts was her gift of hospitality, always creating a warm and welcome space where everyone was at home around her table. She enjoyed hosting both planned and spontaneous dinner parties and was famous for her elaborate brunches. She made countless meals for her church families and friends throughout the years in order to cheer and nourish. Many times, she went to the garage freezer to retrieve homemade chocolate chip cookies to share as a welcome gift, only to discover they had already been enjoyed by her husband or daughters. Somehow this surprised her every time.
In addition to her culinary talents, Betsy was a skilled and self-taught seamstress. She enjoyed choosing and creatively adapting patterns and fabrics, often with two young daughters in tow. She sewed every stitch of clothing her girls wore for years, often giving them creative license. Throughout her life, she enjoyed creating crafts, quilts, and clothing for special gifts and for the annual fair at the Hampton United Methodist Church in Hampton, NH. Along with her dear friends of West Nash United Methodist Church, she lovingly sewed more than 100 dresses with matching pocket dolls for young Haitian girls.
In Hampton, NH, Betsy taught Sunday school to kindergarteners for many years. Within that church family, Betsy and Tom developed lifelong friendships that remain to this day. Of all the places they lived, Hampton remained her “home away from home.” She loved the history and beauty of New England. Betsy and Tom enjoyed antiquing on the weekends as well as visiting local historic attractions as a family. She loved living a mile from the beach and spent many a summer day with her girls at Plaice Cove. Betsy was always up for a family camping trip to Pawtuckaway State Park.
Betsy loved being a teacher. She was a Title I tutor in New Hampshire, and taught elementary school in Nebraska, England, South Carolina, and Virginia. She saw the potential in every student and provided her students with new cultural experiences such as trips to museums, theaters, and restaurants, in order to expand their interests and world views. Throughout her career, she was also an active and dedicated volunteer for a variety of community organizations. Within the church, her service included shawl ministry, Operation Christmas child, Meals-on-Wheels, and mat ministry. She helped make more chicken pot pies than anyone could ever count and served as Outreach chair. In addition to a mission trip to Romania, Betsy was part of seven mission teams to Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina as a first responder for hurricane relief.
Betsy had both a generous and adventurous spirit. She loved to travel. In addition to her travels around the globe, she met her goal of visiting all 50 states. She must have been one of the best ambassadors for the United States that ever traveled the world, sharing smiles, conversations, and handing out Hershey bars. Closer to home, Betsy loved spending summer days at Topsail Beach.
Betsy was preceded in death by her loving parents, Harvey Gilbert Powell and Bettie Martin Powell. Betsy is survived by her husband of 60 years, John Thomas High III, and her two daughters and their families: Alison Howard and her husband, Jim Howard of Wilson, North Carolina and Angela High-Pippert and her husband, Tim Pippert of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. Beloved grandchildren include Emily Howard of Wilson, North Carolina, Andrew Howard of Wilson, North Carolina, Caroline Pippert of Evanston, Illinois, and Isabelle Pippert of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. Betsy is also survived by her sister Patricia Powell Montgomery and her husband, Bruce Montgomery and brother, Gilbert Powell and his wife, Harriet Powell. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, Jim High and sister-in-law, Molly High Boone and her husband, Larry Boone. Betsy also leaves behind much-loved cousins, nieces, and nephews and many friends she considered family. Betsy will be sorely missed by her Sheltie, Lacy, who has been a faithful companion for fourteen years.
A celebration of Betsy's wonderful life will be held Saturday, May 14, 2022 at 3 p.m. at West Nash United Methodist Church, Wilson with the family receiving friends immediately following the service til 6 p.m.
lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to West Nash United Methodist Church, 2200 Nash Street N, Wilson, North Carolina, 27896. The family would like to thank Dr. Charles Baio and his caring staff as well as the compassionate nurses, aides, social workers, and chaplains of Community Hospice.
Condolences directed to Joyner’s Funeral Home and Crematory at www.joyners.net.