This week, my Aunt Betty passed away. Her funeral will be on Monday in Leesburg, Florida and I will be there. This really represents a change in my family. The Youngblood children born to Marion Jackson Youngblood and Mary Alice Thompson Youngblood have now all passed away. My dad, Franklyn Stephenson Youngblood, passed away on March 14, 2011. He was the baby. Betty was 4 years older than him.
She wasn’t just an older sister. She was EVERYTHING to my dad. She married Billy Bass (yes, that really is his name) when she was young and started a family. Just in time. The Youngblood kids lost their mom in early 1940 to a stroke. Their dad became distraught and then an alchoholic. And with that he became very abusive, verbally and physically. Old man Youngblood didn’t really provide for his family after that. My dad needed someone and some safe place to go. In stepped Betty and Billy (and as well the other brothers and sister, but especially Betty.)
As a kid we stayed at Betty’s house when we went to Leesburg. She was funny, loud, comforting, a mother hen, a cook, a host, a southerner, an outdoors person, a mom, a grandmother, and more I can’t even think of right now. She said what was on her mind. When her kids needed money, she was there. Same for her grandkids. I bet if I had asked, she would have given, no questions asked.
My dad moved back to Leesburg in 1998. He lived in a “retirement community” with lots of fancy “mobile homes”. An OK place to me. But, that’s not why he left Jacksonville, FL. He needed his siblings. My brother, sister and I had moved away and created our own families. My sister and I in Atlanta. My brother on another side of Jacksonville, FL. Right before we brought my dad to Atlanta because of his Alzheimers, my Aunt Betty had a stroke. Not only was that sad for her, but as well it was really devastating for my dad. My dad’s health really declined rapidly after that. They were linked. So deeply that it would seem they were at the bottom of a cave where not one drop of water could find them.
Billy passed away in 2010. He was buried in the Florida National Cemetary, where my Dad is now. He marched across Germany in WW2. Impressive for such a young man. Betty held down the fort in Leesburg. Now, they are together again. And with my Dad. And with Mary. And with Dot. And with Neil. And with James. And with Alice. They’re reunited again.
I’m glad I’m part of this family. I’m fortunate Betty was/is my aunt. And I love her very much.
She is survived by her kids. Bill Bass, Brenda Bass and Robin Bass.
Below, from left to right, siblings, Mary Youngblood, Frank Youngblood, Dot Wisham, Betty Bass.
All the siblings. Girls in front. Alice Orme, Dot Wisham, Mary Youngblood, Betty Younglood. Boys in back. James Youngblood, Neil Youngblood, Frank Youngblood.