SMITHVILLE, Mo. -- Most of us can remember that one teacher who made school worth going to, and for many in Smithville, that was Mrs. Betty Jones.
The woman with the “bright smile” spent nearly 20 years teaching at Smithville High School. She was most recently teaching special needs elementary students in North Kansas City. Jones died suddenly, just before Christmas. Her family is waiting on medical test results to find out how she died, but what they already know is what a hole was left with her passing.
The holidays will never be the same for Samantha Jones. Her mother Betty Jones died suddenly, three weeks before Christmas. Jones said, “My mom, leading all the way up to this, just kept saying how fun Christmas was going to be this year because Maclyn understands Santa and that Santa was coming to bring presents.”
Jones said her mother ordered gifts online that were delivered in the weeks after her death. “It was like she was still here with us and we still received gifts from her.” Her family says Betty Jones impacted just about everyone in the small town of Smithville, from her years as a high school home economics and development teacher.
Jones was seen in pictures with a smile on her face, arm raised in the air, ready to take on life with the same energy she passed onto others. Her daughter said, “There aren’t many people like her. And people need to know that you just need to be the best person that you are.”
One of “Miss Betty’s” former students said the lessons she taught were more valuable than what you can find in a textbook. Shannon Breckenridge said, “She didn’t just make class fun. She had fun teaching.” She hopes that fun personality will help Jones’ family find comfort. “You’ve got all these people coming to them and telling them what an impact she had and what a great person she was and how fun she was. I think that helps them cope too.”
Jones said of her mother, “My life is absolutely enriched because she was a part of my life. Everyone’s life that she was in, their lives are enriched because of her.”
Jones leaves behind her husband Carl. Family says is doing the best he can without her. “Miss Betty” was planning to retire this summer, at the end of the school year.