Betty Jo Gore Wiseman

Published 8:16 am Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Mrs. Betty Jo Gore Wiseman, 93, died Saturday, September 23, 2023, at her home in Oxford, MS. The funeral will be Wednesday, September 27, 2023, at 11:00 A.M. in the Chapel of Waller Funeral Home with Rev. Robert Allen and Rev. Don Gann officiating. Visitation will be held prior to the service beginning at 10:00 A.M. Burial will follow the service in St. Peter’s Cemetery.

Mother was born in Walthall, Mississippi, on September 29, 1929, the first child of Will Ab Gore and Rosa Lee Barton Gore. A month later, the stock market crashed, so mother’s childhood was marked by the struggles of the Great Depression and her teen years, by World War II.

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Despite her rural upbringing in a house with no electricity, Mother excelled in school and in music, reading constantly and mastering the piano. She graduated from high school in 1947 and entered Wood Junior College immediately, earning a Diploma in Commerce, a two-year associate degree.

Mother began her career with a short stent as stenographer for a Mississippi State University professor whose field was the artificial insemination of swine, a subject she had no interest in. Because of her lack of interest, she decided to accept a job in New Albany, Mississippi, with what is now the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

There she met our father, Paul Wilbanks Wiseman, a WWII veteran. They married on January 21, 1952, and lived in New Albany, Mississippi where their first daughter Cynthia Sue was born.  Soon after they moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi.

Fortunately, after a year in Yazoo City, Daddy’s job brought them to Oxford, and Mother accepted a job with the University of Mississippi as the secretary for eleven football coaches, with Johnny Vaught’s correspondence as her immediate priority. Daughter Rose Marie was born in 1956, while Mother was working for the coaches.

In 1957, Mother took a job with the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Hydrology Laboratory and began a 32-year career as its Business Management Assistant. She developed life-long friendships with all her colleagues there.

Mother’s first son, Paul Laurens, was born in 1960 in Oxford.

Mother’s tremendous work ethic was demonstrated by her attempt to go to work the day after the riots at Ole Miss in 1962. She was turned away from campus at 8 AM and again at noon while trying to get to the office. Dr. Douglas McClurkin said he and others tried to clear the area of tear-gas cannisters when the campus did reopen because Mother insisted on coming to work despite being 9 months pregnant. On the Sunday after the riots, son Keith Gore was born.

Mother decided to get her Real Estate license in 1978 and began another career while continuing with the USDA for another 10 years.  Afterward, she accepted a job at the Registrar’s office at the University of Mississippi and worked for several more years, and then dedicated herself solely to her Real Estate business, eventually becoming a Broker-Associate.  She tearfully decided to turn in her Broker’s license just a few months ago.

Mother lived independently at home to the end and continued even to drive until only a few weeks ago. While she enjoyed the assistance of several women dedicated to her care, she often sent them home early or told them not to come because she preferred to do things for herself.

Before going to the hospital two weeks ago, she insisted that she keep her appointments to have her hair and nails done. Even as she accepted that this life would end and that God promised a better world after this one, she regretted that she did not get more done.

Mother was pre-deceased by her parents and her sisters Jimmie Rose Murphy and Joy Jean Bruce, her husband Paul Wilbanks Wiseman in 1996, her second husband Clester Faye “Bill” Ledbetter in 2007, and her stepson James Ledbetter, whose care she managed until his death in 2013.

Mother is survived by her four children – Cynthia Sue Wiseman (Linda, Ivan), Rose Marie Hughes (John), Paul Laurens Wiseman (Lindy), and Keith Gore Wiseman; three grand-children – Angela Marie Wells, Robert Paul Tardio, and Erin Alexandra Joseph (Dwayne); and six great-grandchildren – Jason Paul Wells, Madalyn Justice Reese, Jaxson Hunter Matthew Joseph, Xela Lara Joseph, Phoenix Betty Delia Joseph, and Roux Evie Sue Joseph.

Expressions of sympathy or memorial contributions in Mother’s memory may be made to Interfaith Compassion Ministries, 1918 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655.