DOROTHY JEAN (FISK) BETTENCOURT, 83, passed away on February 20, 2012 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. She was born January 8, 1929 in Houston, the eldest of three children of Marcus Henry Fisk and Mary Lucye (Kelley) Fisk. Raised in the Heights, she graduated from Reagan High School in 1945 where she had been a member of the Reagan RedCoats Drill Team.
During the war, if she and her friends could find a car with enough gas, they’d pick up Dorothy’s adventurous grandmother Carrie and go “tootlin’ around town,” trying to find enough leg makeup to substitute for war-rationed nylons.
Other adventuresome forebears include a Texas colonist (Joses Hobdy) who arrived in 1834, was granted a Spanish Land grant in Zavala’s colony (present-day San Augustine County), and fought for Texas independence; and two ancestors (Elizabeth Tilley and John Howland) who, having taken a shine to one another while on a cruise across the Atlantic on The Mayflower, married 3 years after washing ashore, and quickly proceeded to found one of the three largest progenies of Mayflower descendants.
Dorothy worked for Tennessee Gas and Transmission Company (predecessor of Tenneco) for many years before marrying Henry Joseph “Hank” Bettencourt, Jr. in 1955. Hank’s career with Shell Oil Company took Dorothy and the family from Houston to Los Angeles; Cherry Hill, NJ; San Marino, CA; Riverside, CT; New Orleans; and home again to Houston where Hank retired in 1989.
When their two sons were grown, Dorothy enjoyed working for several years as a Real Estate agent for Coldwell Banker. After 36 years of marriage, Hank passed away in 1991. Dorothy continued to enjoy the many Shell friends and gatherings of the Shell Retirees group through the years. In 1999 Dorothy married Eugene Clay and they had 6 good years together before Gene’s death in 2005.
Dorothy had many favorites – her grandchildren, gin rummy, solitaire, traveling, zinging one-liners, political affairs, taking the family on vacations, grand times in New Orleans, quarter video poker machines, reading (several books a week), and bridge where she was always confident that the next hand would be a “barn burner.” She is survived by two sons, Mark H. Bettencourt and wife Sara; and former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt and wife Susan; three grandchildren, Christina, Henry, and Michael Bettencourt.
The family wishes to thank Carmel B. Dyer, M.D. , Professor and Director, Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine, and Susan Gorman, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, both of UT Health Science Center; Madeline Goldsmith, Director, and the staff (both day and night shifts) of Assisted Living at The Forum; and Jan Schaafs and Mary Frances Womack with Hospice Compassus. We will always be grateful for their expertise, compassion, dedication and guidance.
A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, February 24, 2012 at 3 p.m. at Memorial Oaks Funeral Home and Cemetery, 13001 Katy Freeway, Houston, (281) 497-2210. Honorary pallbearers are all Shell Oil retirees everywhere.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make contributions in memory of Dorothy Bettencourt to UT Health Medical School, P.O. Box 203366, Houston, TX 77216-3366. Please specify that this memorial contribution is in support of Dr. Carmel Dyer – Geriatric Care Division.