Funeral service for Betty West Harper, 74, of DeRidder, LA will be held at 10:00 AM Friday, March 21, 2014, at Diamond Baptist Church at 151 Diamond Baptist Church Road near DeRidder with Rev. Dale Miller officiating. Burial will follow at Oakhill Cemetery near Oakdale with Rev. Fred Hartzell officiating, under the direction of Labby Memorial Funeral Home of DeRidder, LA. Betty died on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at Rosepine Retirement and Rehabilitation Center after a lengthy illness.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 20, 2014, 3:00 PM until 8:00 PM at Diamond Baptist Church.
Betty was a devoted Christian who loved the Lord and worked to support others who spread the word about Jesus. She was a graduate of the Mather School of Nursing, which operated at Southern Baptist Hospital in New Orleans and took science and other courses at Tulane University. She was a registered nurse for more than 40 years in Baton Rouge, Covington, DeRidder, Morgan City and DeQuincy working in hospitals, nursing homes and correctional facilities. She worked for many years at Westwood Manor Nursing Home in DeRidder and at Paul G. Phelps Correctional facility near DeQuincy. Education was always important to her. She worked as a nurse at Natchitoches Parish Hospital while her first husband, Bobby Ray West, earned his college degree at Northwestern State University. Through the 1970’s and 80’s, she took classes at Nicholls State and Northwestern and received a degree from Northwestern in 2011. Betty was married to Bobby Ray West from 1961 until his death in 1983 and Billy O’Neal Harper, Sr. from 1988 until his death in 2009. She and Billy worked together on Beulahland Ministries, which helped construct schools and churches in several villages in Honduras. The ministry helped a number of people gain the resources needed to start their own businesses and improve their lives.
She is survived by her sons, David West of Natchitoches and Jeffrey West; daughter-in-law, Lesia Davis West of DeRidder; her step-daughter, Rose Ann Ripley of the Shiloh Community; step-sons, Billy O’Neal Harper, Jr. of the Shiloh Community, James Edward Harper of Mittie, and Phillip Jefferson Harper of Bonaire, GA and an aunt, Margie West of Oakdale.
She was an excellent gardener, who grew a variety of flowers, fruits and vegetables and a skilled amateur genealogist, who loved looking through records to find out about a past ancestor. Betty was also blessed with a good singing voice and was glad to have opportunities to praise the Lord in song.
Betty would like to thank Lesia Davis West for the loving care she provided at all hours during her illness. She would like to thank the staff at Rosepine Retirement and Rehabilitation for their care.
In lieu of flowers, Betty requested that donations be made to the West Family Scholarship at the Northwestern State University Foundation at 535 University Parkway, Natchitoches, LA, 71497