Betty Sue Russell Zgarba, 79, of Angleton, passed away surrounded by her family on April 3, 2018. Betty was born on July 14, 1938 to Herman and MayBelle Russell in the East Texas Piney Woods and grew up in Hawkins, Texas where she graduated from high school in 1956.
She was so highly regarded in her hometown that she was given a full scholarship to East Texas Baptist College from a well-respected couple in the family’s church. Although it was a gift, she later paid back the scholarship in full so that another worthy student could benefit.
She worked hard in her studies, was a cheerleader, and made life-long friends at college. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and English in 1960, she began her teaching career in Grand Saline, Texas. In 1961, Betty took a teaching job in Angleton where she met and married the love of her life, Weldon Zgarba, on Dec. 21, 1963. Together they raised two children who were a source of joy and pride. Her heart and home were always open and her hospitality always generous. She was the glue that connected her extended family, including hosting a beloved family tradition of gathering at her house for Christmas every year. She enjoyed cooking and making delicious, prize-winning sweets for her family and friends, always without tasting any of it, as she was allergic to sugar. She loved her grandchildren and enjoyed reading to them, attending their sporting events, and spoiling them with holiday baskets and treats. Betty taught English at Angleton Junior High School for 35 years. A role model as well as an educator, she touched the minds and hearts of so many students that she seldom went anywhere without getting a hug or testimonial from one of her former students. Later, Betty obtained her master’s degree from the University of Houston.
Continuing her life-long commitment to learning and education, she served with dedication as a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international sorority of women educators. She was very active in its state organization, holding several executive positions, but her favorite part was serving with her close friends, the women in her local chapter, and she eventually became a champion pecan seller in their local annual scholarship fundraising event. Another of her favorite activities was participating in the Women’s Study Club of Angleton.
She was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Angleton for many years, where she served in various roles including co-teacher of the Dorcas Sunday School class.
After retiring from teaching in 1996, she ran her own antiques store in Angleton for 14 years, but what she really loved was traveling across the country with Weldon, hunting for unique and interesting pieces at estate sales and flea markets!
Betty was an avid reader and loved to travel. She enjoyed mission trips, places of historical interest, and sharing her love of literature and historical events by sponsoring students on trips to her favorite places in Europe. Later in life, she enjoyed traveling with Weldon in their mobile home and camping on Lake Summerville with grandkids and close friends.
She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Weldon Zgarba of Angleton; children, Jay Russell Zgarba and his wife Rhonda of Sugar Land, and Wendy Rene Zgarba of Angleton; grandchildren, Harrison, Barrett and Georgia Zgarba; sisters, Glenda Parr and her husband O.C. of Texas City, and Terri Herrington and her husband Paul of Dallas; brother-in-law, John Zgarba of Angleton; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Herman and MayBelle Russell.
The family will receive friends from 5:00-7:00pm, April 6, 2018, at the First Baptist Church of Angleton. Funeral services will be held at 1:00pm on April 7, 2018, at the First Baptist Church of Angleton, with Rev. Rodney Bowman officiating. Interment will follow in Danbury Cemetery. Memorials can be made to the Angleton First Baptist Church Building Fund or the Angleton Christian School