Bettijo Hogan Cook Trawick shuffled off this mortal coil on November 23, 2023, just short of 97 years old. She was a long-lived matriarch, native of Atlanta, lover of Shakespeare, Fred Astaire, Henri Matisse, beautiful trees, hydrangeas, and camellias (the pink ones). She wrote her own obituary, and so it follows . . . .
Bettijo was the daughter of Kathleen Sewell Hogan Milam and William Jephtha Hogan. The City of Hogansville was named after her great great grandfather, an early landowner in Troup County, Georgia.
She was a 7th generation Georgian on her mother’s side of the family. Her Sewell ancestors migrated from North Carolina to northeast Georgia in the 1780s after the Revolutionary War. In the 1820s, they migrated further south to old Dekalb County (now Fulton County), about 20 years before railroad engineers established the location that became the frontier town of Atlanta.
In the 1940s, Bettijo graduated from Girls High in Atlanta and Wesleyan College in Macon. In 1948, she was selected for a training program in merchandising at Rich’s flagship department store in downtown Atlanta. After the training program, she became director of the children’s fashions department (ages 7-14) in the Rich’s Store for Fashion. Bettijo planned fashion shows (at that time, weekly shows were an important part of fashion merchandising), made trips to New York City every spring and fall to select merchandise for upcoming seasons from the Rich’s warehouse on Broadway, and started a modeling school that brought crowds of young women to the store to apply.
She married Rodney M. Cook in 1950, also a native of Atlanta, and they had three children. Bettijo and Rodney were involved in a number of civic activities, including many jobs with the P.T.A. at R.L. Hope Elementary School, and they were charter members of the St. James Methodist Church on Peachtree Dunwoody Road. In the early 1970s, Bettijo was Chair of the Atlanta Urban Design Commission and served on the committee to Save the Fox Theatre when the Fox, a National Historic Landmark movie palace, was threatened with demolition. In 1973, Bettijo was recognized as Atlanta’s Woman of the Year in the Arts for her work as Chair of the committee for restoration and preservation of the Tullie Smith House (now known as the Smith Farm) on the grounds of the Atlanta History Center.
In 1977 she married Benton James Trawick, a journalist, and moved to Macon, Georgia, his hometown. Bettijo loved working for the City of Macon’s Community Development Department, coordinating community meetings and the planting of hundreds of trees until she became director of the City’s Senior Citizens Center. After the death of her husband, she returned to Atlanta and lived at Lenbrook, a senior living community on Peachtree Road, for more than 20 years. At Lenbrook, she managed the History Lecture Series for 12 years, coordinated the program for residents to donate clothes and household goods to the Atlanta Union Mission for more than 15 years, and read to 2nd and 3rd grade students at Garden Hills Elementary School as a volunteer for Everybody Wins, a program that promotes children’s literacy skills and love of reading.
Bettijo was hospitalized with Covid in January 2021, including 8 days in intensive care followed by more than 3 months of rehabilitation. In spite of significant collateral damage caused by Covid, she continued to live independently in her apartment thanks to her fierce determination and ongoing support from Lenbrook friends, staff (especially Angela R.), and extraordinary care and assistance from longtime family friend Nancy Saunders. Bettijo and her children were deeply grateful to Nancy for her special efforts since February 2021, an invaluable gift to all of the family.
Surviving Bettijo are her children: Jody Cook, Rodney M. Cook, Jr. (Emily), and Laura Cook, and her grandchildren: English, Walker, and Alexandra. She did not want a funeral or memorial service. Condolences can be sent to Lenbrook, 3747 Peachtree Road NE, Apt. 904, Atlanta 30319. Bettijo will be truly missed by the many in her orbit. “Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”