Betty Jean Tarkington

April 13, 1944 - September 12, 2020

Just look at her hands.

A grandmother’s hands. A mother’s hands.  A wife’s hands.

Look at her hands, the hands that could sew for hours, the hands that could bake the most delicious meals and hold an infant close.

Betty Jean Tarkington was born April 13,1944 to Hazel and Dual Ray Stuart in Orange, Texas. She often moved from school to school as her dad had many occupations. The family eventually settled in Silsbee where she attended Silsbee High and graduated in the class of 1963. She was a proud member of the Silsbee High School Tigerette drill team. She often reminisced about their drive and dedication in the “kick hat” days.

The high school beauty often worked for Mr. and Mrs. Price at the Dixie Queen. One evening a handsome young chemical engineering student swung by the Dixie Queen to meet a girl for a date. For some reason, that girl did not want to see Ray Lee that night and hid behind the root beer barrel. Unfazed, Ray Lee noticed another Dixie Queen server, a striking young woman with jet-black bouffant hair. He ordered a cherry vanilla coke and asked Betty Jean Stuart if she wanted to go out. The Silsbee High School Tigerette saw Ray Lee’s smile, and when her shift was over, they went riding in Ray’s candy apple red Corvair and listened to Elvis Presley. The ride lasted more than four decades.

Ray Lee and Betty Jean were married in 1963. Betty endured the loss of the love of her life on April 20, 2006. Fifty-seven years later, that candy apple red Corvair has grass peeking out through the hubcaps. During that time four children and seven grandchildren have grown, along with Betty’s impeccable reputation for kindness and generosity.

Now come inside the kitchen of the log home that was built for Ray Lee and Betty Jean, by friends and family. Listen for a moment to the love that pours from the hearts she touched. The same kitchen where she would bake mouthwatering meals and baked goodies to carry to friends all over town. Betty Jean was arguably the best cook in Silsbee. She loved to bake and carry warm muffins, breads, and meals to all of her friends, and rarely passed up an opportunity to serve at church functions.

Betty Jean was a member of Pinecrest Baptist Church. She was delighted in the fact that as a teenager she was baptized while attending Woodrow Baptist Church.

Betty Jean and Ray Lee were blessed with their first grandchild in 1992. They then went on to have six more grandchildren to adore. Betty Jean dedicated the rest of her life to loving and caring for those grandchildren. She loved to attend all the school parties and functions which spanned from All Faiths preschool to High School and College graduations. The grandchildren and serving God were her life’s mission.

She took great pride in Tori Tarkington, Clint Tarkington, Tanner Tarkington, Carley Shutter, Cristofer Gelman, Shelby Tarkington, and Taylor Shutter. She is survived by Carla Tarkington-Shutter and her husband, William; Danny Tarkington and his wife, Jill; Lisa Tarkington; and Melissa “Missy” Tarkington Gelman and her husband, Mitch; and brother, Ray Stuart and his wife, Gail. She is also survived by Carl “Jack” Evans, who has been a lifelong friend of the family and a loving husband.

A gathering of Mrs. Tarkington’s family and friends will be 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at Broussard’s, 490 Cemetery Road, Silsbee.  Her funeral service will be 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 16, 2020, at Broussard’s, with her interment to follow at Resthaven Cemetery, Silsbee.

The pallbearers at the funeral are Rex Tousha, Jack Flowers, Bob Lyle, Ted Garcia, Euger Deets, and Clint Tarkington.

Please observe social distancing guidelines. By attending any public event you are acknowledging the risk of exposure to the Corona Virus. Please follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control:


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Resthaven Cemetery

Resthaven Cemetery
  • south 3rd silsbee tx 77656

Funeral Service

Funeral Service
  • 490 cemetery road silsbee tx 77656
  • 09/16/2020
  • 4:00 pm

Gathering of Family and Friends

Gathering of Family and Friends
  • 490 cemetery road silsbee tx 77656
  • 09/15/2020
  • 3:04 am

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Peggy/Jim Brown

Danny, Jill and family, So very sorry for your loss. Betty will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.. May she. RIP. Our deepest sympathy. May the Peace of God comfort you in these sad times. All our Love and deepest Sympathy.

Sonja Kelley

Had the great honor of meeting and becoming friends with This sweet and caring lady my days at Silsbee Elementary. She could bake like no other, i absolutely loved her biscotti. Prayers for the entire family. Ms Betty will be missed by all. RIP sweet lady Go rest high on that mountain.

Kelli Arfeen

I remember going to check her monitor ( telemetry) once at our SDH and sat in her room for probably 20 minutes, just laughing and chatting with her! Always with a smile ❤️Love to you guys

Larry D. Cawley

My condolences to Betty’s family. She was a great classmate & friend. She always had a smile to share.

Charlotte Sterling

Carla I am so very sorry about the loss of your Mom. My heart just breaks for you and family. Will be thinking and praying for strength during this difficult time.

Carolyn Morrow

Danny I’m so sorry for the loss of your Mother. A very sweet lady and a joy to talk with. She always had something to say about her grandchildren.i know you will miss her. My prayers for you and your family.

Earline Gore

I am so sorry to hear about Betty. She was a special lady and always enjoyed talking to her. Praying for the family.

Sam Roach

Sorry for your great loss. Betty was one of the kindest ladies I ever met and was blessed to have gone to high school with her. Condolences to her Family from me and my Family.

mary landers

for the family of Mrs.. Be tty Sorry for your lost .i will miss her great friend payers for family. May deepest sympathy .she will be missed by many friends

Barbara Hall

Carla, I didn't get to meet your mom. Based on what I know about you she must have been a wonderful person. I am sorry for your loss. You will be in my prayers.


We loved her dearly! She was one of the first people we met after our move to Silsbee. We became a part of “Granny’s McDonald breakfast group “!! We feel that she was the “glue” that kept all of us going back for visiting ,laughing and especially the “goodies” she always brought! We love her and will remember her forever.. And also her family.

Christy Crites

She was a great woman always had a smile on her face when I first met her I loved her sweet smile,she always ask me me how my grandbabies we're and dragged about hers.She will be greatly missed by our whole family.

Cecil & Barbara Arnold

We are so sorry to hear this. She was so proud of all her children & grandkids and if you didn't know it you didn't talk with her. We'll have the family in our prayers.

Tommy & Christy King

Danny, Jill, Clint and Shelby...we are so sorry for your loss! Prayers for you and your family and for strength for the road ahead. Blessed knowing that one day we will see our parents again (yours and my dad - maybe they are all sharing "Silsbee memories" right now!)

Patt (B.) Holland

. Betty was one of my best friends through High School. We both were in Tigerettes and we did have to kick high but we loved it. Her and Ray Lee made a great couple. I was in. their wedding. When you talked to her, she always talked about her grandkids and had pictures to show. We pray for all of the family. she will be greatly missed. Keep all of her memories in your ❤️ Patt (B) Holland