RIP Mrs. Betty Gaddy

Betty Gaddy, 3/15/2013 © Jerre G. Beal

Betty Gaddy, 3/15/2013 © Jerre G. Beal

I recently discovered that Mrs. Betty Jo Gaddy (née Bogan) passed away on Sunday, December 28, 2014, in Rock Hill, SC, just eight weeks shy of her 90th birthday.

Mrs. Betty Gaddy was my first grade teacher (1971-72) at Arcadia Park Elementary School in Dallas, Texas.

I met Mrs. Gaddy just before starting first grade, on day trips to the school during which we were introduced to the “ways” of first grade.

I specifically remember her teaching us how to go through the lunch line! She showed us how to get our tray, then silverware, then our plates of food, then our milk as we slid our trays forward. At the cashier, we presented our money or lunch ticket before we carefully took our trays to our tables and sat down. After pretending to eat, she showed us how to put our things away; we took the tray to the dump bin and sorted our paper to the side cans, and in the middle was the slop can for our leftover milk and food. (We were told by the janitor, Mr. Guinn, that the slop can actually went to the hogs!) From there, we took our stuff to the wash window where someone on the other side washed the things. Funny what we remember after so many years; and, yes, we actually did the walk through.

1st Grade (1C), Spring 1972, Arcadia Park Elementary School

Mrs. Gaddy’s 1st Grade Class (1C), Spring 1972, Arcadia Park Elementary School. I am on 2nd row, 3rd from right, yellow shirt.

I remember Mrs. Gaddy’s smile in the classroom when we read or spelled a word correctly. She smiled brightly and easily. She always encouraged us to improve and go somewhere and be somebody, which was important considering our very working class neighborhood. But she never did this in a condescending way; she was a kind thoughtful soul in addition to being a good teacher.

I don’t know that I have fulfilled her dreams for her students, but I regret that she didn’t know that I finally earned my PhD (more than forty years after graduating from her class) and am now carrying on her craft of education. I have a feeling she would smile big and be very happy.

I think she saw things in me that others probably didn’t, and she was the first to give me the opportunity for leadership … as much as a first grader can be a leader. My mother reminded me that on more than one occasion Mrs. Gaddy sent me to her car to retrieve things she had forgotten and to the restroom to retrieve kids that hadn’t come back to class. She said she sent me because she could trust me to come back.

Here are a couple things she noted in my report card:

His conduct generally is good although he sometimes lacks self-control in regard to talking unnecessarily. Craig is a delightful person and seems to have wisdom far beyond his six years! (November 24, 1971)


Craig has leadership qualities that have been an asset to our class. (June 1, 1972)

Over the years, Mrs. Gaddy has never been far from my mind; I have never thought of or driven through Arcadia Park without her coming to mind.  I could not have had a better teacher to get me started; she established a good foundation upon which to build.

Thank you, Mrs. Gaddy, for your investment in me and so many other kids during your 30+ years of teaching in the Dallas Independent School District. The difference you made in so many lives is immeasurable in this life. You were the best!


  1. Yes Mrs. Gaddy you were the best!!!! I am so thankful for her and how she believed in you. She gave you a great foundation.

  2. Craig, it has been such a delightful ‘wonder’ that you found me, in hopes that I was Betty Gaddy’s daughter. And proudly, I am! Corresponding with you, and now reading this tribute to Mom, is such a blessing to me! I don’t recall if I mentioned that I am learning genealogy in hopes to become a Professional Genealogist to support myself when ‘the powers that be’ learn my age and deem I’m ‘too old’ to be hired in IT (information technology) any longer, in which I’ve served and labored for over 30 years. Your tribute to ‘Mrs. Gaddy’ will be passed down to generations that follow, in both the Gaddy and Bogan line.

    Finding things I didn’t remember, or never knew I had (Mom & Dad thought of me as a pack-rack, for which NOW I am grateful!) that belonged to each of my parents, handwritten letters over the years from my little sister, Sherri, who passed in 1997, and now, through technology, coming in contact with friends and admirers of Dad, with friends and former students of Mom, classmates of Sherri’s that went to Walden Preparatory with her, has been, and continues to be the highlight of my journey! Thank you, Craig, for being part of my journey by reaching out to me, and honoring not only my mother, but me as well, by sharing your beautiful memories of her in your blog.

    Ms. Jerre Gaddy Beal
    Simpsonville, SC

  3. Billy McLain says

    Lovely tribute. Mrs Gaddy was my favorite teacher, ever. We moved from the area after second grade but Mrs. Gaddy sent me a birthday card every year for many years. It’s so nice that you got in touch with her family. I found this post because I was wondering about her myself.
    She was a great teacher and the example to which all my later teachers would be compared.
    (I am on the top row in the white root beer sweatshirt.)

    • Jerre Gaddy Beal says

      Billy McLain: Thank you for sharing your memory of my mom (Betty Gaddy) too! Notes like yours and Craig’s tribute just thrill me! Bless you!
      Ms. Jerre Gaddy Beal
      Simpsonville, SC

  4. CraigDunning says

    Thank you for your kind words regarding Mrs. Gaddy. I’m certain our thoughts about her could be multiplied many times over for all the reasons we have mentioned. She was a treasure.

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