Thursday, March 16, 2017

The obituary and visitation arrangements for Bettye Sue Baylor (1932 - 2017).

Brother Donald (l), sister Jean (r) and baby Sue (circa 1933).

Diana and I thank you yet again for the many kind thoughts, condolences and memories. As was her habit, my mother left clear instructions for how she wanted arrangements to be made, and I've done my best to comply, with only a couple of judgment calls required. Following is the obituary I wrote. You'll find information about arrangements at the end.


Bettye Sue Baylor, 84, of New Albany, Indiana died on Sunday, March 12, 2017.

Sue was born on October 9, 1932 in Henderson, Kentucky to Elva and Anna Allen. Her father was a successful farmer, and her mother a one-woman farm household management team. Sue was the youngest of eight children. She had four brothers and three sisters, one of whom (Jean Halbert of St. Petersburg, Florida) survives her.

Elva and Anna were determined that their children would have the opportunity for higher education, and one after the other, they departed Henderson for Lexington and attended the University of Kentucky. Sue graduated from UK with an education degree in the spring of 1954. She quickly accepted a job offer from tiny Georgetown High School in Indiana, and began her career teaching home economics – primarily cooking and the art of the kitchen.

Shortly after Sue arrived in Georgetown, a mischievous town matchmaker arranged a date for her with Roger G. Baylor (1925 – 2001), noted local baseball player and a veteran of World War II. Soon they were married, and in 1960, their son Roger A. Baylor was born. By the mid-1960s, the Baylor family had settled permanently on the east side of Georgetown, in a house on a wooded hill overlooking the former reservoir. Sue remained there until 2014, when she downsized to the Villages at Historic Silvercrest in New Albany.

Floyd Central High School began operations in 1967, absorbing Georgetown’s grades 7 – 12. Sue moved with them. Her new home economics department was state-of-the-art, and the “natural” order of the curriculum set in granite: girls took home economics, and boys took shop. She advised a sizeable Future Homemakers of America chapter, and found time to earn a master’s degree at Spalding.

As Sue’s teaching career progressed, times changed and home economics gradually was de-emphasized. Nonetheless, to this very day, hundreds of Sue’s former students shop for groceries, prepare meals, set their tables and even wash dishes according to lessons learned from her. It’s a remarkable legacy, and in response to popular demand, here is one variant of Sue’s recipe for no-bake cookies, which so many of her students recall with fondness.



2 cups sugar
¼ cup cocoa
½ cup milk
½ cup peanut butter
1 stick butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oats

Mix sugar, cocoa and milk in saucepan and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Then add peanut butter, butter, vanilla and oats. Mix well. Drop onto wax paper.


As an educator, Sue was efficient, highly organized and relentlessly professional. Each day, she came to class ready to teach. These traits carried over to her life at home, but she also enjoyed hobbies like flower gardening, reading and travel.

In addition, the colors blue and yellow played a major role in Sue’s life away from the classroom.

From Adolph Rupp through Anthony Davis, Sue cheered for her alma mater’s basketball team, the “Big Blue” Wildcats, never refraining from her rooting interest even when completely surrounded by throngs of Hoosiers and Cardinals.

Sue also resolutely followed in the footsteps of her father, referring to herself without fail as a Yellow Dog Democrat, i.e., someone who’ll vote for a yellow dog before even remotely considering a Republican. For decades, she supported and made donations to many educational, environmental and social justice causes.

It was a fine run for a farm girl from Western Kentucky, and Sue’s family is grateful to Silvercrest’s staff members for their kindness and consideration during her final illness, with thanks also to Hosparus for its timely assistance.

Bettye Sue (Allen) Baylor is survived by her son Roger A. Baylor and his wife Diana (New Albany); sister Jean; and an extensive network of nieces, nephews and their families, far too numerous to list here. Sue was equally fond of her longtime neighbors in Georgetown, who really were like family to her.

Sue chose cremation, and her ashes will be buried along with those of her late husband in a private service later this spring at Wolfe Cemetery in Georgetown.

There’ll be a public visitation from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, at Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home, 7420 Highway 64 in Georgetown, Indiana (812-951-2131).

In lieu of flowers (please), donations are requested to support the Imagination Library Project in Floyd County. The project provides monthly, free books to children from birth to age 5, fostering an early love of reading.

Checks can be made to the New Albany-Floyd County Education Foundation, with “Sue Baylor” in the memo line: NAFC Education Foundation, 2813 Grant Line Road, New Albany IN 47150. On-line, go to for a PayPal link, and don’t forget to designate "Sue Baylor" in the notes section.


Goliath said...

A very fine tribute to a remarkable woman. Good job.

The New Albanian said...

Thank you.

bnsears said...

She was a great lady, Roger. I have lots of great memories of the countless days and nights spent at your house with that great view of the farm and valley below. She was always kind and welcoming, not to mention the many days she would stop and pick me up so you and I could ride to school together. Will never forget the box of cookies she baked for us for that Driver's Education trip to Cincinnati (I think we're safe to make that trip public knowledge now...ha, ha).

Both your parents were a big part of my childhood and into my teen years. May she and your dad rest in peace together now.

The New Albanian said...

Thanks, Barry. She was very patient, too, considering some of my antics.

Debbie Homemaker said...

I actually called Mrs Baylor at her home several years ago. She had taught us once of freezing dough, I was unable to find anything on the internet. Never thinking she would remember me, or thinking she was talking to a crazed person, I was met with the same Mrs Baylor from FC. So kind, and she did remember me. We ended up having a lovely chat, and for the first time, I was able to tell her how much she impacted my love of cooking, and by far, was always my favorite teacher. I was able to get a small example of the person she was in our conversation, some 33 years later. You are so blessed to have had her as your mom. I can only imagine you went through your life knowing the love only a caring mother can give. I only wish I had the opportunity to spend time with her as a friend, rather than a teacher. Wonderful wonderful woman. May she walk in the beautiful fields I believe heaven to be.

The New Albanian said...

Debbie, thanks so much for this.