Cover photo for Betty Jane Stout Thaxton's Obituary
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Betty Jane Stout Thaxton

June 10, 1933 — January 22, 2024

Betty Jane Stout Thaxton

Betty Jane Stout Thaxton of Asheville, devoted wife, mother, and friend, passed away in Cumming, Georgia on January 22, 2024 in the company of family. Betty was born the third of four children on June 10, 1933 in Wauwatosa, WI to loving parents, Delbert Leslie and Erma (née Nagy) Stout, a native of Hungary. She grew up in Milwaukee and spoke warmly of long days playing with her siblings and friends in her neighborhood and of visits to the beach on Lake Michigan. Betty attended Roosevelt Junior High before graduating from North Division High School in 1951. 


After making several exploratory trips to the Gulf coast in the early 1950s with her sister and friends, Betty made a permanent move to New Orleans in 1955. Living in the French Quarter, she soon met her future husband and the great love of her life, Thomas Preston Thaxton, originally of Prospect Hill, NC. Together through the good and the bad, she and Tom worked, skimped and saved and grew a family. Two sons, Tommy and David, were born in New Orleans. In 1962, they moved to Asheville to be closer to Tom’s family. She soon gave birth to two more sons, Chris and Michael. Betty chose to give up her job as a data entry operator, homemaking instead while raising her sons. She was there to drop the boys at school, to pick them up from ball practice or to greet them when they arrived home. 


Betty enjoyed traveling. She and Tom arranged family trips to destinations across the Eastern United States and Canada. They made great efforts to keep close to family: Thanksgivings were spent in Prospect Hill; summer trips, in Milwaukee. In 1991, she and Tom traveled for 6 weeks with Michael around Central Europe, where she visited her mother’s birthplace in Hungary. Betty and Tom enjoyed spending winters in Tarpon Springs, FL throughout the 1990s. She would go on to make three more trips to Europe, spending much of the time with her dear friend, Cleopatra Kontara, in Pallini, Greece. 


Betty was a northerner by birth but a southerner by heart. She was quietly determined and went about her life with a goodness and loyalty that is rare. She loved music: easy listening, Pavarotti, Dixieland jazz, and her grandsons’ guitar and piano playing. Betty was the one who listened, the one who knew no grudges, the one who accepted and forgave. She understood before the words were sung that "there’s a crack in everything…that’s how the light gets in." 

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Tom, and sons, David and Chris. She suffered the pain of such great losses with dignity and grace. Also passing before her were brothers, Don and Delbert and sister, Shirley, her dear sisters- and brothers-in-law — Louise, Laura, Tillie, and Bunch; Norbert, Henry Speck, Franklin, and Jack. 


Betty will be greatly missed by those who survive her: sons — Tommy of Cumming, GA and Michael of Winston-Salem; grandchildren — Preston of Cumming, Emile and Luca of Winston-Salem, Nicholas of Atlanta and Alida, Ryan, and Chelsey of Savannah; nieces and nephews — Cathy (Dan) Reese, Diane Serath, David (Connie) Stout, and Patti (Kurt) Kinetader, all of Wisconsin; Paul (Debbie) Stich of San Diego; Jim (Cathy) Stich of Louisville; Robin (Richard) Kirby of Kurie Beach; Donald (Crys) Kirby of Cedar Grove; Robert Kirby of Albany, Australia; close friends — Betty Erz of Milwaukee; Rebecca Todd of Knoxville; Flora “Pintos & Cornbread” Wilson of Asheville; Anne Johnson and Todd Spainhour of Canton; Harold and Eugenia Miller of Asheville; Torin and Alice Kexel and their children, Miles and Edie, of Asheville; Lee Bowles of Newton; Cleo, Penny, and Rosie of Pallini, Greece. 

Betty is gone from our sight but forever in our hearts and memories. Memorial service and burial will take place in late spring at the Thaxton-Barnwell Cemetery in Prospect Hill, NC.

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