Elizabeth (Betsy) Nelson Craft died at St. Catherine’s Village on February 26, 2021, five days away from her 103rd birthday. Born during the 1918 Spanish Flu, she survived the Great 1927 Delta flood, did her part as a wife of an Air Force Pilot, who served in World War II and Korean War, and recently survived Covid 19 in June. Betsy’s long life was full of world and personal events which she faced with determination, love and faith.
Services will be on March 4th, her 103rd birthday, at Parkway Memorial Cemetery in Ridgeland with visitation at 10:00, Chapel services at 11:00 and burial at 12:00. Covid protocol will be followed according to the mandates.
Betsy was born on Holly Knowe Plantation in Washington County, MS to E.B. Nelson and Helen Reid Nelson. The family included Howard Nelson, Rev. Carl Reid Nelson, Eleanor Nelson Zeigel, and Elbert Nelson. She lived in Shelby and Benoit, where she graduated from High School. The family moved to Cleveland where her father was Chancery Clerk and Sheriff of Bolivar County and Mayor of Cleveland before opening Nelson’s Hardware Store.
She attended Delta State as a freshman, Brenau College in Gainesville, GA as sophomore, and Ole miss as a junior. She was member of Tri-Delta sorority. Instead of returning to Ole Miss for her senior year, she married Randal Craft in 1940 and lived in Belzoni. When World War II began, Randal became an Air Corp instructor-pilot and they moved many times to where he was stationed until it became impractical when Betsy returned to Cleveland. After the war ended, Randal and Betsy moved, with their two children, to Jackson where he was a partner in Craft Hosiery. As the business expanded, they moved to Garland, Texas, Chicago and then back to Jackson.
Betsy became a Realtor and helped Randal start their business, Randal Craft Realty in Jackson in 1963. She was a member of the Twin Lakes Sewing Circle, and garden clubs. Betsy volunteered at the Baptist Hospital as a Pink Lady. Entertaining and celebrating every holiday with her family, friends and her First Baptist Jackson Sunday School class was always enjoyed. Randal and Betsy traveled all of the US and Europe. They has a second home in Destin, FL. After the death of Randal in 1999, she continued to travel with her children and grandchildren enjoying a very full and active life. Family and friends from all over the nation gathered to celebrate her 100th birthday.
As THE matriarch of family, she was always there for her children and extended family. She and Randal provided their children with a stable, secure, Christian, and supportive environment, along with deep wagon-tracks of values for them to follow.
She is survived by Randal Craft, JR. (Dr. Irene Tichenor) of New York City, NY and Ann Craft McKee (M. Curtiss) of Madison, and grandchildren Judge R. Reid McKee (Rachel) of San Antonio, TX, Elizabeth Craft (Tyler) Ferguson of Austin, TX, Laura McKee (Dr. Fouad) Zouein, and Sarah Craft (James) Lawrie of Brooklyn, NY, step-grandchildren, Carol McKee Brame of Madison and David McKee (Shannon) of Madison. Great grandchildren are Betsy McKee, Miles McKee, Jackson Linsey, Juliet Lindsey, Molly McKee, Ava Cate McKee and Lucy McKee, Theo Lawrie, Owen Lawrie, Patrick Ferguson, and Henry Ferguson. Step-great grandchildren are Lindsey Brame Casperson, Allison Brame Dotson, Taylor Brame, Shelby McKee. Step great-great grandchildren are Caylee Casperson, Connor Casperson, Chloe Casperson and Luke Dotson.
With great appreciation, her family recognizes and thanks the staff of St. Catherine’s Village, especially the nurses of the Jasmine unity of the Hughes Center. Their care helped Betsy live out her long life surrounded by love along with the many prayers offered by St. Francis Catholic Church members.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Children’s of Mississippi Hospital in Jackson, 2500 N. State St., Jackson, MS 39216 or to a charity of your choice.