Betty Louise Hughes was a great wife, a terrific mother and wonderful grandmother. She was dearly loved by her husband, Max Hughes; their four children: Karen, David, Keith and Max Jr.; her 12 grandchildren, fifteen great grand-children and three great-great grandchildren. Although she came from humble beginnings, Betty would leave a tremendous legacy of love characterized through her hard work and determination to raise her children and become the strong and loving mother, grandmother and wife we have all come to know and adore.
Betty was born to Ralph and Dorothy Smith on May 31, 1935, a beautiful spring day, in rural Portales, N.M. She was the eldest of seven (George “Jerry”; Robert Daniel; Ralph Jr.; Donald Leroy; Twila Lee and G. Jean). Shortly after her birth, Ralph and Dorothy would pack their little troop up and move. First to Pioche and then Winnemucca, both in Nevada; then to Modina, Utah; and then back to Nevada finally settling in Hawthorne. It was here in Hawthorne that Betty would grow, attend school, help raise her siblings and meet the man she would marry.
Betty met her future husband when her father, Ralph, and Alvin Hughes would enter into business together growing and harvesting alfalfa in Babbitt. They would have their first date April 1, 1950 (she would say, “April Fool’s Day of all days, little did he know…”). She stated on many occasions that little did Max know but Betty had determined, “…from the first time I saw him I was going to make him mine…” Two years later on June 18, 1952 Betty and Max would be married in the front room of the house her father built at 225 C Street. They would later be sealed for time and eternity in the Temple located in St. George, Utah on December 29, 1967.
Max and Betty resided in Hawthorne for the majority of their lives except for a small time while Max was in the military. During his service they resided at the Fort Ord military base in California. When Max was discharged from the military, he and Betty moved back to Hawthorne and decided to plant roots making Hawthorne their home.
Her family and friends have many memories of their mother; wife; sister; grandmother and friend. Some of the things remembered: Nachos! Betty loved her nachos; cherry pies, Betty was famous for her cherry pie both within the family and without and became the pie by which all other cherry pies were judged by the family; Betty handled a mean fly swatter, she was as fast with getting the flies as she was people; Betty had love in abundance and was very accepting of others; she and Max were known throughout town for always holding hands no matter where they were, if they were walking they were holding hands; when you came to the house you needed to feel at home enough to go to the fridge and get something to eat, if you couldn’t do that then you couldn’t come in; after she was shot, Betty would say that the bullet ricocheting was just a sign of how hardheaded the Smiths were; Betty was also known for her constant joyful spirit no matter the situation she found herself in.
Betty dealt with painful health issues most of her life. She was diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 16. This disease would ravage her body for the rest of her life. Despite this she never complained and dealt with the pain in a dignified manner most would have failed to portray, this too added to her inspirational nature. She always sacrificed her needs for the good of her family which she always claimed as the greatest of her achievements. Betty will always be remembered as a selfless, altruistic wife and mother who always had a smile, even when times were tough. She had a quiet strength, always looking to a better future.
Betty also served in numerous capacities within the church. She served as a primary teacher; a scout den mother; she served for many years as a Family History Worker in the genealogy library in Hawthorne and thirty-eight years as Ward Librarian.
Betty passed away on May 26, 2015 at approximately 2:56 p.m. She is preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Dorothy Smith and one brother Robert Daniel Smith. She is survived by her husband Max Alvin Hughes; her daughter Karen Webb (Steve Webb); her son David Hughes (Gloria Hughes); her son Keith Hughes; her son Max Hughes, Jr. (Shawnee Hughes) and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Also her brother George Jerry Smith (Lucile Smith); her brother Robert F. Smith (Debbie Smith), her brother Donald Smith (Pam Smith), her sister Twila Lee Howard, and her sister G. Jean Howard.
Betty has now been called home to her Father in Heaven and will without question be an angel on the shoulders of all her family. She will be missed, but will be waiting to great her family when they too are called back to their first home. Betty, you will be missed but we will meet again.