Betty A. Kesmodel
June 15, 1922 – April 29, 2021
Betty Jane Amidon Kesmodel (Bet) passed peacefully on Thursday April 29th, ready for her next chapter. Bet was a vivacious force that met her full life of 98 years with grace and a smile.
Born June 15, 1922, in Lakeland, Florida, Bet was Valedictorian at Lakeland High School and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Stetson University, FL in Secretarial Science. She met the love of her life, Karl F. Kesmodel, Jr., at Stetson. While he attended medical school, Bet was Secretary to the Dean and was working towards a Master's in Political Science, aiming to become a lawyer, until WWII closed the law school, and she chose a homemaker path with Karl. In fact, he asked her to return home to learn to cook like her accomplished mother.
They were married in 1947, lived in Philadelphia, Fort McClellan in Anniston while Karl was a Captain in the Army Medical Corps, and settled in Karl’s hometown of Birmingham, AL at the end of WWII with their three children. Bet and Karl created a beautiful and nurturing home, a prolific garden, and a loving and fun family life that included summers at their cabin on Lake Logan Martin. Bet was indeed an incredible cook, producing 3 meals a day with desserts for 60 years, until she happily retired from daily cooking when she moved to Kirkwood by the River, where she still created goodies for her friends.
Bet channeled her leadership abilities into many civic organizations. She served as Elder and Clerk of the Session for Independent Presbyterian Church, Secretary, Treasurer, and President of the Women of the Church, and especially enjoyed volunteering with Children’s Fresh Air Farm. Bet joined Pi Beta Phi Fraternity, Florida Alpha Chapter in 1942, served the Birmingham Alumni Club in leadership roles almost continuously for 50 years, including as President, and was recognized with the 2007 Emma Harper Turner Leadership Award for Excellence. Bet kept her Pi Phi friends close her whole life.
She served leadership roles with her dear friends at Cauldron Club, Hermitage Garden Club, Birmingham Opera Guild, Gaieties and Ballerina Dance Clubs, and was part of the Salvation Army Auxiliary and Jefferson County Medical Auxiliary. As a founder of Kirkwood By the River, Bet helped envision and build a home for people at all stages in senior life. She served on the Board of Directors for 20 years and as Secretary for 12, and enjoyed the fruits of that commitment in Independent Living at Kirkwood from 2010-2021, becoming the “heartbeat of Kirkwood.” Her life there was enriched by her community of friends, bridge and book club circles, her service on the Welcoming Committee, and her caregivers, who shared her compassion and friendship. She was graced with the loving care of the Kirkwood community until she passed.
A woman of kindness, wit, and grit and a life-long learner, Bet was dearly loved by all and will be remembered by her family as THE example of unconditional love.
Through death Bet has joined husband Dr. Karl Frederick Kesmodel, Jr., daughter Karyl K. Rice, grandson Jodie Turner Kesmodel, brother Roy Herrick Amidon, Jr., parents Roy Herrick Amidon, Sr. and Alice Mae Haldeman Amidon, and many loved relatives and friends. She is survived by son Roy Kesmodel and wife Sherry, daughter Beth K. Stewart, Grandchildren Cheryl Rice, Walter and Crystal Kesmodel, Rachal and Brian Abernathy, Boni Kesmodel and Hanna Kimbrough, and Ianne Fields Stewart, Great grandchildren Kyler and Landon Byrge, Gryphin Kesmodel, Connor Abernathy, Addyson Kesmodel, and Logan Hays, and friend Joyce Johnson.
Services will be May 8th for family and close friends. Donations in Bet’s honor can be made to Children’s Fresh Air Farm, Kirkwood by the River, OneRoof, World Presbyterian Mission, or the charity of your choice.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Betty A. Kesmodel
May 7, 2021
Having known and loved Bet through the Pi Beta Phi alum club for the past twenty years, send deep condolences to her family, as she was such a bright, lovely, and wonderful person. Our group enjoyed her fun hospitality in her home many times - loved her Teddy Bear collection!! Many of us will remember her with loving thoughts!
May 3, 2021
Sending condolences on behalf of my family. You and your loved ones are in our thoughts.