6:54 PM EST, January 14, 2012
Norvelle H. Beatty, 98, resident of Hampton, Va., until the early 1990s, died on Dec. 28, 2011 at Homewood at Crumland Farm's Health Care Center in Frederick, Md. Before moving to Williamsport, Md., from Hampton, Mrs. Beatty lived in Hampton on two separate occasions — first when her husband, the late Webster Barton Beatty Jr. was appointed Public Relations Director for Hampton Institute, 1947 to 1957, when he left Hampton University to join the staff of the United Negro College Fund Inc. (UNCF) first in Cleveland, Ohio and later at the national headquarters in New York. In her early years in Hampton, Mrs. Beatty served as Director of the King Street Community Center, and was confirmed as a member of St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church.
Mrs. Beatty returned to Hampton in 1966, when her husband became critically ill. He died in 1967 and Mrs. Beatty remained in Hampton as it became the hub of her work first as Assistant Director and then Director of Fundraising for the Southeast Region of UNCF. In addition to her professional work, Mrs. Beatty was active in the Hampton community where she served in leadership positions in St. Cyprian's, including Senior Warden when the Rev. Nathan Baxter (currently Bishop of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania) was Rector. She was instrumental in the fundraising efforts for a new (1984) building for St. Cyprian's. She was active with the Hampton chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and she was a member of The LINKS, an international service organization for Black women. Through these organizations and her church she was active in many facets of her community and the Diocese of Southern Virginia.
Mrs. Beatty left Hampton for a second time in the early 1990s. She moved to an independent residential facility, Homewood at Williamsport, to be near her husband's nephew and his wife, Robert and Annie Brown of Silver Spring, Md. "She proceeded to reinvent herself, build a new community, and fortunately for us, became even more of a presence in ours and our friends' lives," said Annie. She became an active member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Hagerstown, Md., and participated in all aspects of life at Homewood. She became an avid gardener, was a member of the Resident's Council, and always a woman of service, she volunteered for the Mitten Shop, the Market, visited the shut-ins in the nursing home and chaired the annual bazaar. She was as active in the community as ever and became deeply involved with the Washington County Habit for Humanity. Having given up driving soon after she moved to Williamsport, she used public transportation well into her 90 year. When Homewood at Williamsport converted her building to assisted living, a service she was not ready for; she moved to Homewood at Crumland Farms in Frederick, in 2004. She said she always considered herself a "small town girl" so she never consented to move to the Washington metropolitan area despite the pleadings of Robert and Annie.
Norvelle Harrison was born in Weimar, Texas in 1913. She was the 11th of 13 children. A lack of secondary education for Black children in rural Texas, made it necessary for her to leave home at age 14 to live with a cousin in Wewoka, Okla., to complete her high school education. She received a scholarship to Langston University and was able to work her way through college to receive a Bachelors Degree in elementary education. She taught in Seminole, Okla., before she moved to Detroit, Mich., where she met and married her husband, W. Barton Beatty Jr. She left Oklahoma and teaching to work for the YWCA and USO. She did teach briefly in Cleveland and in Montclair, N.J.
Mrs. Beatty did not have biological children, but she opened her home and heart and became matriarch to countless younger people, both relatives and friends, including Dr. Peter Vaughn, Dean at Fordham University; Viola Palmer, retired Detroit teacher, Dr. Linda Lee, Associate Vice President at Marquette University, Dr. Rosetta Johnson Mauldin, retired Associate Provost at Northern Kentucky University as well as the Rt. Rev. Dr. Baxter. Norvelle is survived by her nieces, Florentine Johnson of Chicago, Patricia Dimmie of Las Cruces, N.M., and other nieces and nephews.
Cremation services were provided by Stauffer Funeral Home, Frederick. Memorial services will be held at St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church, 1242 W. Queen St., Hampton, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, at 10 a.m., the Rt. Rev. Nathan Baxter presiding; and at St. John's Episcopal Church, 101 S. Prospect St., Hagerstown, Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 11 a.m., the Rev. Ann Boyd presiding.
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