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Submitted by Slyvia Christian
The Green City Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce Mrs. Betty Jeffries has been selected as the July 4 Parade Marshal for 2022. Betty has lived her whole life in Sullivan County and has been in her home, just off the square, for nearly 60 years where she raised her family and continues to run her family’s business.
Betty was born in her grandmother, Claude Miracle’s home in Green City, but grew up south of Green Castle and walked the 3 miles to the Maple Grove Country school for most of her elementary years. She eventually went to Novinger school before starting at Green City R-1 in 8th grade at age 13. The first day she rode the bus to school a young Eddie Ray Jeffries swore he was going to marry her one day.
Eddie Ray and Betty were married on September 19, 1960, during Betty’s junior year of school. Their first son Danny was born in 1961. With the help of her mother-in-law and some neighbors to keep the baby, Betty finished her final high school credits with Mrs. Judd’s English class. Betty smiled to remember, “I got almost a perfect E in that class, and Eddie Ray could have too, after all the nights he spent helping me study and drilling me on homophones and anagrams.”
Betty spent the first years of her marriage and family life working at Ruth Young’s café, and after the birth of their second son, Lanny, the young family officially opened Jeffries Plumbing on October 1, 1963. Hard work was a theme in the Jeffries household as Eddie Ray took the helm of the business while Betty worked at Green City Foods and spent 7 years working alongside her husband in the plumbing business. He would dig the lines and Betty took the lead on laying the lines in for new construction. “I only had 2 leaks on all those years,” she proudly shared. “We were a pretty good team.”
After years of supporting the plumbing business and 15 years of working part-time at the Green City Foods for 3 different owners, Betty launched her own business, and arguably her biggest claim to fame in Green City.
Jeffries Day Care operated out of the Jeffries home for almost 35 years with the help of Eddie Ray, Lanny, and Danny. Betty tried to create a list of all the kids she cared for over the years but can’t remember all of them anymore. “I think it’s probably around 300 kids that I had here all those years,” she said. And with a twinkle in her eye she proceeded to share some stories, that won’t be published here, about the chaos that surely reigned in a house with 10 or more kids every day. Several Green City families have had multiple generations of kids cared for by Betty and her family.
In the midst of raising her own kids and all the daycare kids, Betty and Eddie Ray built a legacy of community service in Green City often volunteering for events and projects in the community. Betty served 6 years on the City Council, and has been a member of the Green City Presbyterian Church for over 30 years. They both committed countless hours to building and maintaining the Green City Rural and City Fire Departments.
After a large wildfire in the late 80s, Eddie Ray became fire chief of both departments and directed the building of brush trucks for the fire departments, acquiring new equipment, training for the volunteers, and an effort to build the fire hall in Green City that still houses the Rural Department trucks. Before the county-wide 911 service and before cell phones, calls for emergency services rang into the Jeffries home, where Betty served as lead dispatcher, and relayed messages across the CB radios to responding volunteers.
Of all her work throughout the years, Betty’s biggest pride and joy is her family. Pictures of them line the walls of her living room and cover the top of the dressers and shelves. Eddie Ray passed away in 2010. Lanny and Michelle have three kids, Chelsea (married to Don Clever), Brenna, and Wyatt. Danny and Chassidy’s family includes Sidney, Katie, Britney and Macy. Each of them are or soon will be graduates of Green City R-1. And she has one great-grandson, Raylan Clever. Randall Wallace has joined Betty’s family in the last years (they initially met at Maple Grove Country School) and photos of Randall’s kids and grandkids have joined the display.
As the 2022 Green City Parade Marshal, Betty Jeffries will lead the parade on the 4th of July at 11:30am. A full schedule of events for the weekend can be found on Facebook and in the Green City Press. Free activities will be held throughout the day with fireworks closing out the celebration at dark. The Green City Chamber of Commerce invites everyone to join in the celebration on the Green City Square.