Easterling remembered for civic work

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Betty Colleen Payne Easterling passed away on Thursday, May 15, following a lengthy illness.

She was a resident of Picayune for many years and contributed to many civic and church based organizations.

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Easterling was a teacher for 43 years throughout the South, including the Picayune School District. While in Picayune, she directed the Pride of the Tide Dance Team. With Easterling as a director the group, they won a national championship held at Disney World.

Her husband, Austin Easterling, remembers the excitement surrounding their participation in the Christmas Pilgrimage for the Civic Woman’s Club.

“We were on the tour for three different years,” he said. “It was always so much fun for her to get the house ready and she loved sharing her Christmas spirit with everyone.”

Fellow Civic Woman’s Club member Gail Mitchell, described her as an efficient administrator and wonderful human being who was able to reach students and inspire them to do more than they thought they could.

“Betty was an organizer, she could delegate and make something happen,” Mitchell said. “She was a very good president in organizations and an exceptional teacher. She taught my daughter. All of the students wanted to be in her class and all the parents wanted their children to be in her class.”

Easterling was a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, and served terms as president for Alpha Delta Kappa chapters in Mobile, Ala., Plano, Texas, and Picayune.

She served as a director of the scholarship and recognition program for girls ages seven through 12, Pre-teen America. Her participation in the program spanned many years.

Betty was always actively involved in church activities as well.

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

Easterling is survived by her 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, donations can be made to the Betty Easterling Educational Memorial Fund at First National Bank, Picayune.

A celebration of her life will be held at First Baptist Church of Nicholson, on Sunday, June 22, at 2 p.m., located at 3354 Jackson Landing Road, in Picayune.