Betty Colleen Payne Easterling

Published 10:13 am Monday, May 19, 2014

Easterling OBIT CLR

Betty Colleen Payne Easterling left this life on earth for her Heavenly home on Thursday, May 15, 2014 following a lengthy illness.  A longtime resident of Picayune, Miss., Betty was born in Stonewall, Miss. on April 17, 1946 to the late Wilmer John Payne and Alma English Payne, both of Stonewall.

Betty graduated from Zack Huggins High School in Quitman, MS in 1964 and from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Miss. in 1968 with a BA in Elementary Education and a minor in music. She had 43 years of teaching experience which included Quitman Elementary School, Quitman, MS;  Joe M. Gilmore Elementary, Jackson, AL; Satsuma Christian School, Satsuma, AL; Peter Joe Hamilton Elementary, Chickasaw, AL;  Peter’s Colony Elementary in Lewisville, TX and the Picayune School System, Picayune, MS.  While in Mobile, AL, she was delighted to serve on the Citizen’s Advisory Board for the State of Alabama concerning consumer affairs.  She served as the Pride of Tide Dance Team Director in Picayune; and under her leadership, the team won a national championship. Betty’s outstanding capabilities as an educator led her to be chosen Teacher of the Year by her peers. She taught workshops that provided instructional and motivational techniques to new and experienced teachers.

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Betty was a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, a teacher sorority, and served terms as president of the Mobile, Ala., Plano, Texas, and Picayune chapters.  In addition, she was active in Jayceettes and the Picayune Civic Women’s Club, where she served terms as president of both.

Betty was a director of Pre-teen America, a scholarship and recognition program for girls ages seven through twelve. This program was geared to motivating and evaluating youth for their academic ability, civic involvement/community service, extracurricular activities and leadership abilities. She served for twenty years in the following states:  North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Texas and California.

Betty was a member of the First Baptist Church of Picayune, MS, having served as a past director of the Children’s choir. She taught Junior High Sunday School and sang in the adult choir for many years. She was recently attending the Resurrection Life Church in Picayune, MS., where she was actively involved in the life group and other facets of the church.  Regardless of her church affiliation, Betty was always actively involved in church activities.

Betty will be remembered and missed as a devoted educator and mentor of students and adults alike.

Left to cherish her memory is her loving and devoted husband of 45 years, Austin Easterling.  She is also survived by one daughter, Kimberly Colleen Easterling of Picayune, as well as grandsons Jared Austin Easterling and Charles Anthony Isaac Brice, both of Picayune.

In lieu of flowers and other remembrances, the Betty Easterling Educational Memorial Fund has been established at First National Bank, Picayune, MS.

A celebration of life for Betty Colleen Payne Easterling, a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and true child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will be held at First Baptist Church of Nicholson, MS on Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 2 p.m.  The address is 3354 Jackson Landing Road, Picayune, MS.  This is a “come as you are” gathering.