Betty French Just Celebrated 87th Birthday
4/3/2014 by BY MIMI BROWN
Mrs. Betty French was born Betty Jernigan, in Corsicana, Texas, on March 28, 1927 and this interview just happened to take place on her 87th birthday. She was the sixth of seven children born to Sam and Vera Jernigan. In 1940 her father worked for Magnolia Pump Company and was transferred to the Simsboro station.
Betty started in the Teague ISD when she was 13 years old. She remembered some of her favorite teachers in school as Lillie Weaver, Mrs. Young, Miss McMichael, Mrs. Day and Ruth Lee. She remembered attending school with Earle Wylie, Velva Jo Nicholas, Jane Traynham, and Heavy West and what a great job Superintendent Notley and Principal Mr. Gregory did with the school system. Betty graduated from Teague High School with the Class of 1944.
After she graduated Betty went to work at Jones Cafe on Main Street in Teague. She worked there until she met and later married Claud French on September 22, 1945. She and Claud lived in a place on Main Street for nine years while they built their home on Highway 84. ?We ate a lot of beans and cornbread when we were building that house,? said Mrs. French. A while after they moved into their home on the highway they built a big shop for Mr. French. ?He loved to work with his hands and built beautiful furniture and cedar chests,? said Mrs. French. She has many of his tables, chests and complete bedroom set.
Mr. and Mrs. French had two children. Their son, Jackie French, who graduated from THS in 1965, and wife Kathy Gordon French and their daughter, Jean Anne French Plemons, who graduated from THS with the Class of 1967, and husband, the late Butch Plemons.
Mrs. French was active in Teague schools, while her children attended, as a Homeroom Mother and Secretary/Treasurer of the Booster Club. ?When Jackie played football we also worked in the concession stand and took care of all the money,? said Mrs. French. ?It was a lot of work to just count the money. It was all change back then!?
Betty French has also taught the Girls Missionary Association at the Eighth Avenue Baptist Church that she has been a member of and has loved for over 60 years. She has been a member of the Greenwood Cemetery Association and active in the B-RI Railroad Museum Association. She has volunteered her time helping people as a Pink Lady at the Teague Hospital and at Parkview Hospital.
Claud French passed away in 1998 and Betty stayed in the house on the highway for eight years until she didn?t feel safe being alone there and moved out in the country next to her daughter.
She has five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, many of whom will help her celebrate her birthday with a family dinner and celebration. ?Life has been good to me,? said Mrs. French.