Cover photo for BETTY SHIMFESSEL's Obituary
1927 BETTY 2016


January 10, 1927 — November 19, 2016

Betty Rose Sanders Stewart passed peacefully into a better life on November 19, 2016, at Covenant Nursing Home in New Orleans, Louisiana, from complications of Alzheimer's disease. She is survived by a daughter, Ella Mae Stewart McCulloch, a son-in-law Roger McCulloch, a granddaughter, Felicia Marigny McCulloch, and a grandson, Alexander Stewart McCulloch, all of New Orleans. In addition, she is survived by eight nephews, ten nieces, 27 great nephews and nieces and 27 great-great nephews and nieces, who live all over the United States.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank Edward and Effie Mae Fannin Sanders, son Joey Stewart, three brothers: Maynard, John, and Ted Sanders, two sisters: Ernestine Sanders King and Maxine Sanders Gibbons, and niece Vicki Beavers Lively.
Betty was born on March 15, 1927 in Coal Grove, Ohio. Her family moved to Ashland, Kentucky when she was an infant. She graduated from Ashland High School in 1944, and received a BS and MS from Marshall University. In high school, she was a member of Girl's Reserve and the National Honor Society. Many activities in those days were focused on the war, and Betty enthusiastically supported the Home Front. As editor of the school newsletter, she coordinated its delivery to classmates who were deployed. As social chair of Girl's Reserve she initiated a Christmas party for hospitalized children.
Service to others and working with young people consumed the rest of her life.
During the next 38 years, thousands of students discovered the mysteries of the human body, the inter-connectedness of all forms of life, and the odiferous joys of dissection in her biology class. Her first job was at Coles Junior High School and by 1959 she had moved to Ashland High School (later Paul G. Blazer High School.) There she taught 10th grade biology for 17 years. In 1978, she joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to teach biology at St. Mary's Academy in Apia, Western Samoa. She was the only member of her Peace Corps class who not only stayed the entire two year term but extended for a third year. Although the sisters of St. Mary's wished her to stay, she relocated to New Orleans in time for the birth of her first grandchild in 1983.
She taught 10th grade biology at Immaculata High School in Marrero for the next 10 years. Instead of retiring, she taught anatomy and physiology at Nunez Community College.
Besides her career in teaching, Betty worked as a docent and camp counselor at Kenner Wildlife Museum in Louisiana and as a naturalist at Grayson Reservoir and Jenny Wiley State Parks in Kentucky. She worked as an election commissioner in Orleans Parish. As a long time member of First United Methodist Church in Ashland, she taught Sunday school to kindergarten and first graders. She ran the Vacation Bible School several times and sponsored a Cadette Girl Scout Troop at the church.
Betty was married to the late William Joe Stewart from 1947 until 1977.
Betty loved her family above all, but she also loved music, reading, gardening, her many beloved dogs and other eclectic pets. Her legacy is the thousands of students who discovered the joy of science through her class. Her greatest gift to her family is her curiosity, faithfulness, and most of all love. The family is especially grateful to the Pace Memory Enrichment Program at the Jewish Community Center, especially Allison Freeman, the love of the ladies and gentlemen of Covenant Nursing Home; and, to Floridalma Mansanilla and Ella Sadiq who cared for her so tenderly.
The service will be at 2 pm on Sunday, November 27 at First United Methodist Church in Ashland, Kentucky, followed by internment at Rose Hill Burial Park. Visitation will be from 1pm to 2pm Sunday, at the church. A memorial celebration of life will be held in New Orleans in the near future.
Online condolences may be sent to

Service Details

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 2:00pm, Steen Funeral Home

Interment Details

Rose Hill Burial Park

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