Betty Thompson Evans Small
September 30, 1926 – November 28, 2019
Betty Thompson Evans Small, 93, of Atlanta, passed away peacefully on November 28, 2019. She was born in Millen, Georgia on September 30, 1926 to Mary Charlotte (“Lottie”) and Joseph Foye Evans. Her father was the engineer of the Sylvania Central, a spur line of the Central of Georgia Railroad. She and her older sister, Peggy, spent the early part of their youth living first in Sylvania and then in Rocky Ford, small Georgia towns sitting at opposite ends of the rail line. The family later moved to Statesboro, Georgia, where Betty graduated with honors from Statesboro High School in 1946. She moved on to study at Georgia Teachers College (Georgia Southern University) and completed her education at Marsh Business College.
Betty lived a remarkable 93 years. Despite suffering a catastrophic injury at age 11 that would partially cripple her right leg for the rest of her life, she devoted herself for more than 70 years to the service and care of others. Betty began her lifelong career in service in 1947 at Aidmore Children’s Hospital, a facility that provided loving care to children with polio. First hired as a secretary, she quickly rose to the position of assistant administrator. In that role, she oversaw the construction of the new Aidmore Hospital at Emory University. For Betty, the most rewarding aspect of the position was the time she spent with the children at the hospital.
Betty became the office manager for the private practice of Dr. Baird Hudgins and Dr. William Yorger in 1957, where she worked with many members of the growing Atlanta-area medical community. There she established many close friendships that have endured for over 60 years.
In 1961, she met her future husband, William M. Small, and the two were married in 1962. The following year, they welcomed into the world their elder son, William, Jr. (“Billy”), followed by the birth of their younger son, David, in 1964. That same year, the couple opened Fountainview Convalescent Center, one of the first modern nursing homes in Atlanta. Betty served as Vice President of Fountainview, Inc. from 1964 until 1983, when she became President of the organization, which she led until she was succeeded by her son, Billy, in 1992. After her retirement, Betty remained actively involved with the Center, which in 1995 was replaced by The Fountainview Center for Alzheimer’s Disease. Even into her 90s, she was always the organization’s greatest ambassador.
In addition to her professional work, Betty was a tireless advocate for those less fortunate or in need of care. She served on the board of the Joseph B. Whitehead Boys and Girls Club for over 30 years. Through her beloved Druid Hills Civitan group, she worked diligently to support Camp Big Heart, an overnight summer camp for campers with mild to moderate special needs. Betty was also a long-time member of the Auxiliary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home, a skilled nursing facility operated by the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, dedicated to providing palliative care to persons afflicted with incurable cancer.
To all her work – with at-risk youth, children with special needs, cancer patients, and seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders – Betty always brought her unique blend of passion and humor. Even into the final weeks of her life, she supported these causes with enthusiasm, hosting supporters at fundraising galas in recent weeks for the Boys & Girls Club and Our Lady.
Betty was a member of Atlanta First United Methodist Church for more than 50 years. She dearly loved her church, and in particular, the many friends and families with whom she and her family have shared their lives over the past half-century. She cherished her time at Epworth by the Sea, the Methodist retreat on St. Simon’s Island, and visited there as often as she could.
Betty greeted everyone with a big smile, sparkling eyes and an open heart and had a natural curiosity about the world. Already blessed with a large, diverse group of friends, Betty relished meeting new people and loved to learn about their lives and experiences. With acquaintances old and new, she was happiest when sharing conversations and her lifetime of wonderful stories.
Betty Thompson Evans Small was preceded in death by her husband, William M. Small, Sr.; sister, Peggy Evans Kennedy and parents, J. Foye and Lottie Evans.
She is survived by sons William M. Small, Jr. of Atlanta, GA; David M. Small of Atlanta, GA; Grandson, William H. “Will” Small of Atlanta, GA; Nephews, John A. Kennedy, Jr. of Reidsville, GA; Larry Small (Wanda) of Atlanta, GA; Nieces, Karen Kennedy Winston of Reidsville, GA; Judy Moore, of Jennings, FL; Bettye Hall (Henry) of Macon, GA; Lynn Nagrani of Atlanta, GA; Great-Nieces, Ashley Elizbeth Winston of Charlotte, NC.; Laura Hall Reidinger of Macon, GA; Julia Hall Magda of Macon, GA; Stephanie Small of Atlanta, GA.; Great-Nephews, Rishi Nagrani of Atlanta, GA; Shanti Nagrani of Atlanta, GA; Vikram Nagrani of Atlanta, GA.
Visitation will be held at H.M. Patterson & Son – Oglethorpe Hill, 4550 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta, GA, 30319, on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and on Thursday, December 5, 2019 from 1:00 to 1:45 p.m. Funeral service will be held at H.M. Patterson on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 2:00 p.m., followed by a brief graveside service at Westview Cemetery, 1680 Westview Drive, SW, Atlanta, GA, 30310 with Reverend Jasmine Smothers, Dr. Sam Matthews and Dr. David Roberts officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to any of the following organizations, all of which played significant roles in Betty’s life:
Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, 1275 Peachtree Street NE #500, Atlanta, GA 30309; https://www.bgcma.org
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home, 760 Pollard Blvd., SW, Atlanta, GA 30315; www.olphhome.com Camp Big Heart, P.O. Box 1519, Albany, GA 31702; campbigheart.org/donate/
Atlanta First United Methodist Church, 360 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30308; http://www.atlantafirstumc.org
Epworth by the Sea, P.O. Box 20407, St. Simon’s Island, GA 31522; https://epworthbythesea.org/
The family of “Miss Betty” wishes to extend our sincere thanks to her wonderful team of companions and caregivers: Sam Hayes, Pat Peck, Charlotte Smith, Mary Louise Davenport and Sheri Phillips.
- Visitation Wednesday, December 4, 2019
- Visitation Thursday, December 5, 2019
- Funeral Service Thursday, December 5, 2019
- Committal Service Thursday, December 5, 2019