Surrounded by her loving family, Betty Jo Tharpe Rich age 80 of Port St. Joe, Florida gloriously entered her heavenly home Sunday evening, May 11, at the Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan, AL following a brief illness. Born in Caryville, Florida, she later moved with her family to the old “Kenny’s Mill” and then to Port St. Joe where she spent the remainder of her life.
She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Clifford John Tharpe Sr. and Ruth Cook Tharpe; brother, Clifford John Tharpe, Jr.
Betty is survived by her husband of 61½ years, Bill Rich; daughter, Jeri Rich Ashcraft (Don); sons, Billy Rich, Mike Rich (Melissa), and Tony Rich; Nine grandchildren, April Rich Kirkland (Jeff), Justin Rich (April), Benjamin Ashcraft (Jennifer), Hannah Rich Reid (Kirk), Mica Ashcraft, Ryan Moran, Cameron Rich, Alexandra Rich, Annamarie Rich; Nine great grandchildren, Trevor Kirkland, Christian Rich, Tyson Kirkland, Sunny Rich, Evie Kirkland, Tucker Ashcraft, Cayson Reed Ashcraft, Millie Claire Ashcraft, and Sarah Claire Reid; sister, Linda Tharpe Keels (Harold); brother, Scott Darst; a very special Uncle, Billy Myers (Lorainne); Numerous nephews and nieces who loved her like a grandmother; Several Uncles, Aunts and many cousins.
Until her illness she was a very active member of the First Baptist Church. For many years she has loved studying and teaching a Ladies Sunday School Class (Grace). After her mother’s death, Betty Jo became the matriarch of the family. Betty loved working in her yard, tending beautiful flowers, and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation.
Services will be held at the First Baptist Church in Port St. Joe with Visitation from 5-8 p.m. Friday evening and the funeral service at 1 p.m. Saturday. Officiating will be Rev. Bruce Hodge, Rev. Buddy Caswell, Rev. Billy Rich, Jr, and Mike Rich. Active pallbearers will be Robert Whittle, Tony Barbee, John Presnell, Norman Bixler, Temple Watson, and Charles Cloud. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Grace and Men’s 70 plus Sunday School Classes. In addition to floral tributes, the family would like to suggest contributions be given to the Gideon Bible Society.
Services are under the direction of Comforter Funeral Home of Port St. Joe.