Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Rea Proctor
COLUMBIA — Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Rea Proctor, formerly of Columbia, died Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Denver, Colo. She was 95.
She was born Dec. 16, 1915, in Indianola, Iowa, to Ernest Rea and Nelle Marlatt. She grew up in Des Moines, Iowa.
She married Charlie Proctor of Columbia on Dec. 16, 1939, after his service as a captain in the Army during World War II. The couple raised their two children in Columbia and remained there until Mr. Proctor's death in 2003.
Her daughter, Bettina Proctor, said her mother spent her free time writing letters.
"She was up there with Thomas Jefferson as far as letters sent," Bettina Proctor said.
She said her mother wrote letters of thanks and appreciation to famous politicians, such as former Irish president Mary Robinson and Prince Charles of Wales, and occasionally she received responses from the politicians' secretaries.
Mrs. Proctor's letter to Robinson led to an invitation to have tea with the president in Dublin.
Proctor said her mother enjoyed networking with people and said she had correspondences with strangers and friends, many of which lasted for years.
"If she were technologically savvy, she would have thousands of friends on Facebook," Proctor said.
She said her mother was involved with the MU peace studies departmentand the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology.
Mrs. Proctor also enjoyed reading so much that she started a group called Booklings for friends and serious readers in Columbia. Carole Patterson, friend and fellow member of Booklings, said Mrs. Proctor really supported literature.
Patterson said the group would talk about issues at its meetings, and just hours later, Mrs. Proctor would have a book or article about the issue discussed.
"She was really an incredibly brilliant woman and wonderful human being," Patterson said. "She was one of the most thoughtful and cheerful people in the world."
Proctor said her mother took nothing for granted.
"Every dinner was the best she ever had," Proctor said. "Her appreciation of things large and small filled everyone around her with wonder."
Mrs. Proctor is survived by her daughter, Bettina Proctor; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Her husband and a son, Leslie Proctor II, died earlier.
A private celebration of Mrs. Proctor's life will be held in Columbia in August. At that time, her ashes will be buried in the family's plot at Memorial Park Cemetery, 1217 Business Loop 70 W.
Cards can be sent to Bettina Proctor, 2261 Hudson St., Denver, CO, 80207. Donations can be sent to the Friends of Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway, P.O. Box 1267, Columbia, MO, 65205, or the MU Friends of Peace Studies, 243 Walter Williams Hall, Columbia, MO, 65201-1200.