Betty Jane Gariepy
January 3, 1936 – January 5, 2020
Born January 3, 1936 in Syracuse, N.Y. to Edna Austin and Walter Christensen. The snow drifts were so deep she was brought home from the hospital in horse and sleigh.
She is survived by: Husband Gary Gariepy, daughters Vicky Allen and Robyn LaConte (Mario Bautista), sons Vincent Allen (Laurie Allen) and James Gariepy (Rachel Gariepy), sisters Sena Clarke (Richard Clarke) and Janet Salisbury (Bud Salisbury), brother James Christensen, numerous nieces and nephews and eight grandchildren.
Betty grew up on a farm in Cazenovia, N.Y. where she retained the title of Plow Queen three years in a row by plowing the straightest furrow. Also won Farmer’s Daughter beauty contest. Marrying her military husband, Gary, she lived 30 years over seas in Iran, Bahrain, Germany and Egypt. During her time overseas, she began her love affair with camels as she and Gary traveled to 102 countries throughout the World. In Bahrain she opened the first Navy Federal Credit Union there as well as working in Civilian Personnel. Was manager of the US Embassy club in Egypt and was elected president of the Petroleum Women’s club, a first as a non-petroleum wife. While in Egypt she manned the suicide hotline and she and Gary were given a community service award that is given out yearly as the “Gariepy Volunteer Community Service Award”. She later became Housing Coordinator for USAID in Egypt. After 30 wonderful years overseas, retired in the The Villages, Florida where she volunteered for Meals on Wheels, was President of the village of Lake Miona Social Club and attended Amazing Grace Lutheran Church. She will be greatly missed.
A celebration of Betty’s life is to be held on February 1, 2020 at 11:00AM at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, 4886 CR 472 (Rainey Trail-West of Promise Hospital) Oxford, FL 34484.
Celebration of Betty's Life
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Amazing Grace Lutheran Church
4886 CR 472
Betty Jane Gariepy
January 15, 2020
When I held your cold hands and gently kissed your lips that final night, we both knew that we were saying farewell.
Your pain was unbearable , but you smiled and said that you always really liked us, and that you knew that we loved you.
Although I knew that it was time for you to leave us, I selfishly wanted to see a miracle and find you on top of your tank with Gary
waving to everyone once again.
Reading about your amazing accomplished life makes me humble.
You were the first to welcome us to Bridgeport, and we were friends forever.
Flying into the Orlando airport will never be the same without your smiling face with your Gary. Our children , our grandchildren, will miss you, we miss you now, as will so many whom you touched.
Your spirit will live on from Egypt to Bridgeport, for your legacy can never be forgotten. All of your tributes you earned unselfishly.
You touched our hearts and we will love you forever!
God knows how fortunate He is to have you with Him.
Frank and Jackie Bettencourt
January 15, 2020
Betty was truly a wonderful light and life to the world. She was so welcoming to us as new neighbors. Even though we only knew her for a short time we are grateful to have met her because she was an amazing and kind person. We are happy we were able to share time with Betty at the recent annual Christmas parade. Here she is with Gary sitting on top of the tank with a smile on her face. She is an angel now.
January 14, 2020
No matter who you were, Betty was there with a welcoming heart and hand. During 1985-86 timeframe, my husband at the time, myself and our two sons moved to Cairo. We weren't there long when a new neighbor invited us to a dinner party, and this was where we met Betty and Gary. Instantly, I knew we would-be long-time friends. She had a way of making you feel comfortable, even in a foreign land. There are countless memories, and some stand out more than others; but they all reflect Betty’s kindness and compassion. One of the best memories was when the Gariepy's invited us over to their flat and my sons, Chris and Justin, enjoyed eating real 'American' hot dogs and chips; which was a rare treat for them in Egypt. There were many shopping trips to the ‘souk’ Khan El Khalili, numerous felucca rides on the Nile with KFC, Friday mornings to the camel market, (Betty rescuing/adopting an orphaned baby goat, so it wouldn’t become someone’s dinner), loading it into the van and taking it home, BUT not before stopping at the Marriott for us to get a bite to eat. While there were numerous outings, trips abroad and catered Chinese dinners for any or no occasion, there is one ‘event’ that she miraculously pulled off that stands out to me, my ex and my sons; although, Chris and Justin say they are scarred for life!! It was my 35th birthday and Betty said we need to have a birthday party. I objected, I would have been happy going out with friends for dinner. But I finally answered, ‘only if the Chippendales will be here to dance’! Now, you wonder, how did Betty pull that enterprise off! She did—she contacted the drama coach and along with the cooperation of my ex, Mr. Gary and another friends husband, they became full-fledged ‘Chippendale ‘dancers! They danced and ‘stripped’ AND I have the video to prove it. A great quote from the now departed Maya Angelou “if you’re trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be” …. What amazing human being you are Betty
January 12, 2020
We were 2 of the lucky ones to have Betty arranging our housing in Egypt. That meant we were taken under her wing and given the warmest possible welcome. In none of the previous 4 countries we went to were we given a house plant in the Welcome Kit, That was a "Betty" touch which I wouldn't be surprised to find was paid for by her personally. A small thing but so comforting when you arrive in a new world and have only the clothes in your suitcase. She quickly became a friend for life, always ready to go on a desert hunt for petrified wood, a trip to Bali, baseball games, searching the Khan for antiques - always making any outing more fun with her warmth and joy. How I will miss you, my friend.
January 12, 2020
Betty was a unique and amazing woman - I was fortunate enough to share many good times with her... I can see tiny little Betty hopping out of my car to stand in front of a Cairo bus that was trying to wedge into the traffic in front of us - Betty won! The Thanksgiving she went to El Gorah (MFO base camp) in the Sinai with me to visit my husband, Hal, she packed her black shoes - one 1" heel, and one 3" heel - we laughed about that often! We ran a canasta game for years, and each month the winner had to pay for lunch at the Mena House. We modeled in fashion shows for Signe', we commiserated about our kids (Katy & Jimmy), we cried on each others shoulders - and we laughed at and with each other! She was the sister of my heart and I mourn her loss!
RIP my friend
January 11, 2020
When Vince and I were just getting to know each other Betty (my second mom) welcomed me into her family and life with open arms. She was full of life and adventure. When I was pregnant with my oldest child Charlotte Vince and I went to Cairo to visit. She made me a batch of apple butter cookies. I ate the whole batch! They have always been my favorite cookies since that day. Betty was there to help me through my mother’s passing, she was there for many of my favorite memories in my life. We sailed on the Nile, walked through the snow in Tahoe, danced in a fountain in Irvine, laughed and cried together. Our Betty was a wonderful patriot. She was mother and friend to so many learning to live in far off lands. She relished helping them and made a life of serving those who needed a family far from home. I could go on and on but... How you I sum up 35 years in so few words? I love you mom and will miss you until we see each other again.
January 10, 2020
Betty is the kind of person that makes me smile when I utter her name. I never met a stronger or more fun-loving woman. In Cairo, she and Patty Carswell dragged me along on their 2 a.m. runs to the donut shop. Nothing EVER intimidated her. I love you, Betty.
January 10, 2020
This was written by a friend of Mom's...
As my ashes leave this bow
Remember that I am with you now
I am the waves upon the sea
Your smiles and tears are full of me
I am the island winds that blow
I am the evening stars that glow
I am the rainbows in the sky
The morning light, the clouds up high
A part of you I will always be
My name is Betty
January 9, 2020
So many wonderful memories of our time in Egypt with Betty and Gary. Betty took us under her wing, showed us the ropes on how to get things done in Cairo, introduced us to her local community, and was a stand-in Grama for our two little boys when they were so far from home. Such a sweet, amazing lady, loved by both the local Egyptian staff and the Americans posted to the Embassy. My favorite memories are our Thursday felucca nights on the Nile, good friends, good snacks, and good fun, and our Friday market adventures. Rest in peace Betty, you inspired so many!
January 8, 2020
Today I morn the loss of a woman, that I have known all too short a time. I found her to be one of the most interesting and phenomenal women I have ever known. No matter how she was feeling, she told the most exciting stories about her life experiences. She was encouraging and supportive of the stories others told, although nowhere as interesting as those she shared. I am so blessed to have known her. Rest in Peace with God my friend. I know that you are in no more pain. Always remember that you are leaving a little bit of your self in everyone you have left behind.
January 7, 2020
So many memories, Marine Balls, softball games, Thai Massages, just being lucky to have Betty and Gary in my life. I will always cherish that I and my ex-husband were the first recipients of the Gariepy Volunteer Award presented by the the Ambassador of Egypt. Betty was an exceptional woman. God blessed me by bringing these wonderful people into my life. Love you both very much.