Betty Jo Kaylor

December 8, 1935 - March 26, 2018
Betty Jo Kaylor


Betty Jo Russell Kaylor, age 82, gave up her fight and passed away on Monday, March 26, 2018.  She was the daughter of the late Mildred King Russell and William Harry Russell.

Among those left to mourn her are her husband of over sixty years, Norman R. Kaylor, her daughter Beth, Joyce Elizabeth Kaylor, her son Ray, Norman Ray Kaylor, Jr. and his wife M.L. Bagwell of Robbinsville, North Carolina. She is also survived by her sister Joyce Ann Russell Whitmer and her husband Richard of Nashville, Tennessee, her  brother-in-law Glenn Kaylor of Nashville, Tennessee, her sister-in-law Bette Kaylor Widener and her husband Thomas E. Widener of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, former students, many friends and family and her beloved Yorkie, Oliver.

Jo was born in Nashville, Tennessee on December 8, 1935, attended Fehr Elementary School and graduated from North Nashville High School.  Early on at North High, inspired by her teachers she decided to become a high school history and English teacher and earned her B.S. degree at Middle Tennessee State College.  But instead of high school English and history her first teaching appointment was fourth grade at Jones School in her old neighborhood.  She had found her calling; she loved teaching elementary school children and continued in that profession for over thirty years.

Jo’s teaching career went from Jones School to Kimberley School in Atlanta to Forest Hills and Wheeless Road schools in Augusta, Georgia to William H. Blount Elementary School  in Wilmington, North Carolina including one year at UNCW and along the way she completed graduate study at Georgia State University and earned her master’s in elementary education degree at Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi.

Jo was an avid reader and was surrounded by books.  She loved the classics, especially Shakespeare, but looked forward to new books from her favorite mystery writers.  She was also a puzzle addict, looking forward each morning to her coffee and the newspaper puzzles.  She was proud of her charity work, especially becoming a Paul Harris Fellow with her support of International Rotary.

Jo had many interests beyond her work and her books.  She loved golf and was an Echo Farms Golf Club member for over 25 years where she was a member of the Ladies Golf Association.  She and Norm played golf courses all around the state and in charity tournaments.  She was especially proud of her hole-in-one.

She loved to travel, visiting many cities and parks around the country and she loved ocean cruises.  But she also loved being at home with her family, her Yorkie Oliver, her flowers and her yard.  She enjoyed being with her friends, especially the “lunch bunch,” the former teachers and staff at Blount School and “the group,” longtime friends from Wrightsville Beach United Methodist Church and, of course, her golfing friends at Echo Farms.

Jo was a gentle and loving mother, wife and friend whose quiet demeanor made her an excellent teacher.  She was a loving mother to Ray and Beth and the perfect mate for Norm.  She passed her love for books and reading to Beth and her love for art and her artistic ability to Ray.  She and Norm were inseparable and had a deep love and respect for one another and for their family, friends and colleagues.

The family is very grateful for the love and support of family and friends and would like to express special thanks to Dr. Kenneth Kotz at the Zimmer Center, the nurses and doctors at NHRMC and the wonderful people at Lower Cape Fear Hospice.

A special memorial service will be held to honor Jo will be held 2:00 PM April 14, 2018 at  Wrightsville United Methodist Church.

The family will see friends following the service.

In lieu of flowers, she can be honored with support to the Norman R and Betty Jo R Kaylor Scholarship Fund at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington at TMCFunding.com or the charity of your choice.  Her generosity, her love and caring of others and her love of learning and the lessons she taught will be remembered forever.

Please share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Condolence” tab below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403.  910-791-9099.

Norm, Beth, Ray and ML


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  • March 28, 2018
    Dedra Roberts Thomas and Charlie Roberts says:
    Sending prayers of comfort to the Kaylor family. Sending gratitude for sharing Jo with the Roberts Family. Jo and our mother worked together at Blount. The foundation and respect of a beautiful friendship has been very appreciated by my brother and me. The Kaylor family has been so loving and supportive of our parents and has continued towards Mom. Thank you. Jo's fingerprints will remain long after her earthy presence through those that remain here.

  • March 28, 2018
    Stella and Denis Carter says:
    There are no words adequate enough to describe Jo's warm, caring and gentle nature. She and Norm went beyond customary hospitality to welcome our family to Wilmington some four decades ago and to share, over those years, a friendship that could only eminate from a deep love of Christ and a heart of gold. We will miss her but will rejoice knowing that we have a dear friend in heaven. Our prayers are with Norm, Beth, Ray and ML.

  • March 28, 2018
    Judy Owenby says:
    Ray and ML I am sorry for your loss.

  • March 29, 2018
    Linda Clewis Phillippe lit a candle:
    Lit since March 29, 2018 at 3:23:00 PM

  • April 02, 2018
    Deborah Price says:
    Beth Kaylor and Family: I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your loved one. Know that my prayers for comfort and peace be with you and the family during this sad time. You will always have an angel watching over you. God bless you all.