Betty Jane Pittman spent her life working for the good of her family and her community. She passed away, trusting in Jesus her Savior, on October 21st in San Angelo, Texas.
Born in Crossroads, New Mexico on September 9, 1934, Betty was the first child of Belle and Lee Hebison to survive infancy. She learned early in life to put family first. Her mother insisted that the older children, Betty, Beverta and Uylen, spend the evenings reading stories to their youngest sister Belva. Belva also remembers riding around the kitchen on the polishing towel so the floor would be clean and her big sisters would be allowed to go out for the evening.
Betty’s younger sister, Beverta, recalls beginning school a year early because their parents believed the two girls needed to be together for the long bus ride and in their classes at school. Naturally competitive, Betty and Beverta both rose to the top of their class as they strove to outdo each other in academics and extra-curricular activities like basketball and cheerleading. Even in romance, the two looked after one another, and Beverta remembers accompanying Betty on a first date, gamely spending the evening with a friend of Betty’s date even though she was not especially crazy about him. “We were together in everything. Everything,” Beverta says.
After marrying Rex Pittman on December 19, 1955, Betty moved to Las Cruces, NM where her husband completed college and she was employed at the missile base in White Sands. There, they welcomed their firstborn son Randall. Two other sons, Curtis and Bill, arrived soon after Rex and Betty moved back to Tatum. Later the family moved to Ft. Stockton where Rex, had a job with Sinclair Oil & Gas Company. Betty’s sister Belva and her husband Ruben soon joined them there. In 1970, the family relocated again, this time to Crane, TX. Betty quickly became an industrious member of the community, working at the grocery store and volunteering at the church and school. Rex and Betty enjoyed square dancing and regular game nights with a large circle of friends in Crane.
With a can-do attitude and characteristic integrity, Betty owned and managed several small businesses, including a Western Wear Shop, a Sears catalog outlet, and a Hallmark store all in Crane, and EDCO Safety in Odessa. At the store, she flourished, chatting with people who came in to browse, solving problems with orders, and keeping an eye out for useful and amusing products for her customers and family. Her grandchildren remember being delighted to walk into the store and hear Betty exclaim, “Oh! Isn’t this neat,” which meant it was time to play.
Betty maintained a childlike sense of fun all her life. Anyone could expect joyful holidays at her house, where all were welcome. She showered guests with love in the form of food and gifts like RC cars for all the boys no matter their age, and for the girls, dolls that would later be supplied with custom wardrobes at Betty’s sewing machine. All day long uncles, aunts and cousins clustered around the dining table playing a variety of games while they joked and reminisced.
After selling the store and saying one of the most difficult goodbyes to Rex, the love of her life and trusted partner in all pursuits from dominoes to dancing and parenting to business, Betty sought out new ways to use her talents. She took a job with the Crane School District cafeteria. Later in life, Betty returned to Tatum to help Beverta care for their mother in the final years of her life. She enjoyed a deep reconnection of old family ties and loved spending time with friends from her youth at the First Baptist Church and Senior Citizens Center. When her mother passed away, Betty came back to Crane, where she regularly volunteered at the First United Methodist Church.
Everyone can remember Betty arriving to hold a newborn baby, care for a sick loved one, sit in the hospital for hours, cook a meal or simply help wash the dishes. All that time spent in other people’s kitchens meant she had evidence-based opinions about the best way to handle any domestic chore and knew all of the family stories. A skilled home-cook, Betty enjoyed trying out new recipes and flavors, like the hamburger pie that has become a family classic in each of her children’s homes or her inimitable chocolate pie. We will miss the interconnectedness we felt hearing the latest family news at Betty’s table.
Betty is survived by three sons and their wives, Randall Pittman and Becky, Curtis Pittman and Sara, Bill Pittman and Missie. She leaves five grandchildren and their spouses Zane, Paul, Melissa and Ryan Kindell, Jesse and Timothy Klatt, Jerilyn and Edward Evans, Scott and Cara Snyder, and ten great-grandchildren Kimberlyn and Rylan Kindell, Ogden, Amity, Lillian and Edda Klatt, Shyann Strickland and Shaelyn Evans, and Owen and Slade Snyder. Two sisters, Beverta Houston of Tatum, New Mexico and Belva Houston of Ft. Stockton survive her, as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Rex Pittman, parents, Belle and Lee Hebison, brother Uylen, brother Hebison Infant, and brothers-in-law Clinton and Ruben Houston.
Services will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Crane, TX at 10:00 AM (CST) on October 24 and a graveside service will follow at 2:00 PM (MST) at the Tatum Cemetery in Tatum, NM.