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Mary Elizabeth Kelley Freeman (Betsy)

Mary Elizabeth Kelley Freeman (Betsy) passed into the next world on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 12, 2019. She was born in Camden, New Jersey, December 12, 1929. She grew up in Three Rivers, Michigan and Cleveland Ohio, and was very proud to be the youngest member of the “Largest Family in Town.” She graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1947. She was a member of a sorority. She lettered in field hockey. She met and married Don Clair Freeman while working as a switchboard operator at Pickands Mather in Cleveland. 

Don was the love of her life. They shared many interests including dancing, antiquing, birdwatching and vacationing in Sanibel Island. She wholeheartedly supported anything he did. Some of their adventures included owning the Snowflake Launderette, raising cows, horses, chickens, and other animals, buying a farm, and traveling to faroff lands. They introduced their children and all neighbors and friends to the special activity of breakfasting in the park. Claire, Eric and Tracey became familiar with a concept known as “barn chores.” Claire and Tracey learned to ride horses. Betsy took care of it all while Don was at work or away on his many business trips. 

Betsy was an artist, an author and an activist. She drew, painted and created wonderful cartoons. She grew up with a love of sewing acquired from her mother. Her many interests in Cleveland included gardening, flower arranging, bridge, and antique collecting. She loved making costumes for Halloween, parades and other occasions, for kids and herself. She taught all the neighborhood kids to dive in the backyard pond. 

After moving to Tryon, she involved herself in fiber arts, teaching classes, and playing tennis. She was very involved in the quilting world of Western North Carolina, organizing, chairing and winning many quilt shows. She loved to create one-of-a-kind clothing for every occasion, showing up around town dressed as Mrs. Santa, Baby New Year, a scarecrow. She was often known to write letters to the local paper, and to attend town meetings, as an active participant in the community. She was instrumental in creating Foothills Village and Polk County Adult Day Care, also opening her home to a Caregiver Support Group. Her many years of caring for Don led her to write and illustrate a book on caregiving. 

Betsy is preceded in death by her parents, John Oliver Kelley and Elizabeth Hadley Kelley, sisters Virginia, Patricia, and Shelley, brothers Charles and Edgar, and husband Don. She leaves behind her children Claire Paul (Ken), Eric Freeman (Member of Tryon Fire Department), and Tracey Beaver (Keith). Grandchildren Megan Paul and Dylan Paul, and great-grandchildren Hadley Paul and Delilah Paul. And many nieces and nephews, friends and people whose lives she touched. 

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at McFarland Funeral Chapel in Tryon, North Carolina with Rev. Ralph Kuether officiating. 

The family will receive friends prior to the service form 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. 

She will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. 

If you are inclined to make a donation, the family requests memorial contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association or Hospice of the Carolina Foothills. 

An online guest register is available at www.mcfarlandfuneralchapel.com   

McFarland Funeral Chapel & Crematory  

Tryon, North Carolina