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Obituary for Betty Jane (Tucker) Malone
Betty Jane (Tucker) Malone was born on March 5th, 1927 in Hammond, LA to Benjamin Archer Tucker Jr. and Bessie Agnes (Cinnamond) Tucker. Betty Jane, their youngest, in addition to being smart, was voted Queen of Hammond’s Strawberry Festival and nurtured a lifelong love of music. She majored in music theory at Belhaven College in the 1940s and then transferred to Louisiana State University, where she caught the eye of our father Richard (Dick) Henry Malone, a WWII vet whose life was changed by the GI Bill and by our mother. After graduation, she taught music in elementary schools in Baton Rouge, LA. Her fortitude was tested in her early years when, shortly after giving birth to her first child, our father followed his dream to become a hospital administrator and enrolled in the master’s program at the University of Chicago, becoming a member of the first generation of professionally trained health-care executives. His work carried Mom from Baton Rouge to Natchez, MS, to Jackson, MS, to Dallas, TX, and, finally, to Jacksonville, FL. Along the way they had 3 more children, all boys. Mom viewed the hospitals where our father served as her work, and she always considered herself a part of the team, playing the extrovert to our father’s introvert. She was heavily involved in whatever community she lived, be it plays, civic organizations, church, or music. She memorably volunteered in her children’s schools, singing solos accompanied by her beloved autoharp. Her intense activity did not derail her love of education and once the boys were old enough she returned to school and earned a Master’s Degree in Music Theory at Mississippi College. Upon graduation, she taught music at Belhaven College, in addition to her many other activities. As part of the team, she traveled frequently with our father whose career in health care took them around the world. If we had to name one organization most dear to her, it would be the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU), the largest Protestant missions group for women in the world. She used music to connect with people from around the globe, frequently inviting them into our home. She believed that music could transcend all borders, all cultures, and unite the human family. After our father died, she landed her dream job as Director of the WMU at First Baptist Church in Jackson, MS, where she served for six years. She is survived by her four sons: Richard Henry (Sandy) Malone, Jr; Ben Tucker (Cheryl) Malone; Robert Jay (Becky) Malone; and Douglas Drew (Angela) Malone, along with 14 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren. Our mother’s deep optimism and unshakeable belief in God were evident throughout her life and were expressed eloquently in her 1984 Christmas letter to friends and family, the year our father, the love of her life, died: “This year has taught me many things. It is possible to survive the very worst thing that can happen. I am bereft, but not abandoned. I am grieved, but not despairing. I can honestly say that God is faithful and has been so tenderly close to me through these lonely days. For nearly 34 years of happy marriage, for the friendships so wonderfully shown by so many, for the miraculous ways my needs have been met and for the wonder of a new challenge, I am grateful.” Our mother asked to be cremated. Funeral services will be held at the Chapel at First Baptist Church, Jackson, MS on October 3, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. The service will be led by the Reverend Tom Washburn and the Reverend Richard Malone. She will be buried with our father in Jacksonville, FL. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to: First Baptist Church W.M.U. 431 N. State Street Jackson, MS. 39201; Lake Forest Ranch, 5326 Lake Forest Road Macon, MS 39341, and Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) 401 Hackensack Avenue 9th Floor, Hackensack, NJ 07601.