Betty Jean Keys

April 6, 1927-Nov. 22, 2020


Betty Jean Hester Keys, 93, peacefully passed away at Whitlock House on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020.

Jean was the youngest daughter born to Roy and Nora (Pefley) Hester on April 6, 1927.

A life-long resident of Montgomery County, Jean graduated from New Market High School in 1945. While in high school Jean was invited by her uncle Lawrence Hester to participate in the church orchestra he directed at Browns Valley Christian Church. Jean found herself seated in the trumpet section next to Waveland High School Student, Evarts (Jim) Keys. Both were excellent musicians and often played trumpet duets. Their friendship deepened and the high school sweethearts were married in Browns Valley Baptist Church on Aug. 10, 1947. They established their home in Crawfordsville, where they raised their three children, Linda, Janet and Tom. They celebrated 52 years of marriage before Jim’s death in 2000.

Jean’s professional career included clerical positions with several companies through the years. She retired from the accounting department of Raybestos Products in 1997. Jim and Jean were devoted members of Crawfordsville First Baptist Church, where Jean was a member of the Alpha Chi Class, participated in Missionary Circles and sang in the Chancel Choir. Though Jean’s personality was quiet and reserved, she loved her family unconditionally and was a faithful, loving, friend to many. In recent years she filled much of her time enjoying jigsaw puzzles, doing embroidery and cheering loudly for the Pacers. Her greatest joy was sharing life and milestones with her family.

She will be lovingly remembered by daughters, Linda Chesterson of Crawfordsville and Jan Whitecotton of Brazil; daughter-in-law Deb Keys Parrella of North Carolina; and grandchildren, Paul (Mindy) Chesterson, Gary Whitecotton, Brian (Deonn) Chesterson, Lisa (John) Richter and Beth (Todd) Dickerson. She has six great-grandchildren and welcomed her first great-great-grandchild, Vivian Rose, this past January.

Family preceding her in death, in addition to her husband, are her son, Tom; sons-in-law, Marty Chesterson and Max Whitecotton; grandsons, Kevin Whitecotton and Mark Chesterson; and sisters, Gladys (Bill) Gilliland and Faye (Stanley) Trimble.

Visitation will be at Sanders Priebe Funeral Care, 315 S. Washington St., Crawfordsville, on Friday, Nov. 27 from 2 p.m. until the time of the funeral service at 4 p.m, with Pastor Rick Fay officiating. The service will be live-streamed and recorded which can be viewed on Betty’s obituary page at Cremation will follow the service with the burial of cremains at Oak Hill South at a later date.

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