When Betty Wyatt was nine years old, her father moved their family from Newport, Arkansas, to Detroit, Michigan so that he could find work in the automobile industry. For the first year that they were in Detroit her father, James Wyatt, was looking for work but during the depression years times were hard and jobs were scarce.

When Betty Wyatt was nine years old, her father moved their family from Newport, Arkansas, to Detroit, Michigan so that he could find work in the automobile industry. For the first year that they were in Detroit her father, James Wyatt, was looking for work but during the depression years times were hard and jobs were scarce.

Betty said, “On my first day of school in Detroit, I was in the second grade and my dad walked me to the school. When school was out, he was not there to pick me up. I had no idea how to get home. I walked around up and down and around blocks for two hours and I was lost and frightened. Then, thanks to God, I looked across the street and there stood my brother who had been out looking for me.”

Betty’s family started going to a prayer group that met in different homes around their neighborhood. One night they held the meeting in their home and her father accepted Christ as his Savior. A year later James Wyatt got a job at one of the factories there in Detroit. On his first night at work he fell into a large piece of machinery and was killed. His funeral service was held in their home and his casket lay in the exact same spot where one year to the day earlier he had accepted Jesus.

Betty’s mother, Addie Dell Woody Wyatt had three older sons besides Betty. Not long after her father died, Betty was taken to Missouri to stay with an aunt and uncle. Her mother stayed in Detroit with two of the older boys to settle affairs there and then she moved back to Arkansas. The two older boys stayed in Detroit.

After a couple of years, Addie married again. Betty said that her new step father was very good to her. They were living in Grubbs, Arkansas, which was a very small town, but later they moved to Jonesboro. Her mother opened a small hamburger joint with a juke box. Jonesboro was a college town and lots of students came in to eat and dance.

Betty said, “When I was fifteen and working in the café one day, this guy drove up on a motorcycle. He came in holding his eye. I gave him a wet cloth so he could wash it. After that he came in serval times a week.” They started going out together but never alone. Usually her brother and sister-in-law went with them. After about two years Betty and James Coleman were married in Jonesboro.

“There was a German prison camp behind the college in Jonesboro,” Betty said, “The prisoners would work in the cotton and corn fields for farmers who lived in the area. But I never went over near the prison camp.”

Jim was in the army already when they were married. In 1949, he was sent to Fairbanks, Alaska. Betty said, “I loved Fairbanks. It was cold but beautiful. Our first home was a one room house called a ‘Wanagan’. It was made of wood and about 12’x18’ built on skids. We had an oil burning stove for heat and cooking and a ¾ size bed to sleep on. Jim had made a closet out of a wooden mattress box where we kept our clothes. It was warm and cozy and we loved it. Our first son was born there. In the summer growing season they grew vegetables that were big and so good and the flowers were unbelievably beautiful! There were lots of things to do: We saw dog sled races; we went ice skating; we saw the Aurora Borealis; there were movie stars that came to the base to put on shows for the service men and their families. One day our land lord and his wife took us out on the lake in a boat and the water was so clear that we could see to the bottom of the lake.”

Over the years the Hight family lived in several different places. “When we were at Fort Rucker Army Aviation Center in Enterprise, Alabama, they had a helicopter training school. They would put a big skirt around the bottom of the helicopters and do a square dance in the sky. It was fascinating to watch,” Betty Said.

In Jimmy’s last years in the army he had an infection in his chest. They did surgery but said that he was okay.

Jimmy had inherited some property from his parents in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and when he retired from the army they moved and have lived in Shawnee for about sixty years.

After they had settled in Shawnee, Betty got her real estate license. She started selling for Bob Crothers and Century 21, and later worked for Carolyn Harris for a few years.

Betty and Jimmy had four children, one girl and three boys. One son was carrier Marine Corp. The second son an engineer and lives in Tulsa. Their youngest son is an ordained minister who travels in the U. S. and foreign countries speaking and doing chalk drawings. His wife travels with him and sings. Betty and Jim’s daughter is a registered nurse and taught at Gordon Cooper Vo-Tech.

Jimmy died in 1991. After his death, Betty moved to a smaller house in Shawnee. She spent her time volunteering at the Shawnee Hospital. She said that she loved every bit of the time she spent there helping the people.

Due to failing health, Betty moved to Primrose Retirement Community in 2014. She said, “I love it here and I love the people.”

Note: Story submitted by Pat Gaines on behalf of Primrose.