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Betty Griggs Royer remembered for faith, love

COLUMBIA — The day before she turned 15, Betty Royer proclaimed Jesus Christ was her savior, and she lived to bring love and faith into the lives of her family and friends.

“Nobody was unlovable to my grandma,” her grandson Stephen Haldeman said. “She constantly lived for others."

Betty (Graham) Griggs Royer of Fulton died Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. She was 86.

Mrs. Royer was born on April 5, 1925, in Eolia to Patrick M. and Addie Agnes (Hewitt) Graham.

She started attending Sunday school at age 10 and began teaching in children’s ministry at 16. She continued for 68 years until her health began to fail. As a teen, she dropped out of high school to work in a box factory and later a glove factory to help support her aging, widowed mother.

In 1948, Mrs. Royer married Fred Griggs in Wichita, Texas. They had two children, Fred Alan Griggs and Judy Haldeman.

They moved to Columbia in 1965. Mrs. Royer was an active member of the First Assembly of God Church, sang in the choir and was also involved in nursing home ministry. She started a daycare that continued for 22 more years in her home.

"She was like a grandma that was close by," neighbor Honey Wehmeyer said. "She even fed our dog all of her scraps."

She said Mrs. Royer began watching her when she was only 6 weeks old.

“She was the most kind, patient person I’ve ever met. She had such a huge impact, even just in the first year of my life,” Wehmeyer said.

Wehmeyer's parents did not attend church, so Mrs. Royer asked them if she could start taking their daughter along to her church. The two went to church together every Sunday.

“Trying to thank Betty for introducing me to the Lord would be like trying to thank someone for finding a cure for cancer,” Wehmeyer said.

Even after Mrs. Royer moved away from Columbia, she and Wehmeyer wrote letters for more than 20 years.

Fred Griggs died in 1987, and she moved to Fulton. There she went back to school and earned her General Educational Development diploma.

On May 24, 1989, she married Earl Royer. She began supporting two children in Latin America and gave monthly donations to pay for their food, clothing and Christian schooling.

She attended First Assembly of God Church in Fulton.

As well as being a wonderful Christian woman and mom, Mrs. Royer was an excellent cook, her daughter, Judy Haldeman, said. She and her son Stephen remember Mrs. Royer's fried chicken and pies.

“I’m going to spend the rest of my life looking for someone who can make chocolate chip cookies and broccoli cheese casserole as good as grandma’s," Stephen Haldeman said. "I don’t think I’ll find anyone.”

Mrs. Royer is survived by her children, Fred Alan Griggs and his wife, Carolyn, of Tom Beam, Texas, and Judy Haldeman and her husband, Michael, of Fulton; seven grandchildren, Stephen Haldeman of Waxahachie, Texas, Matthew Haldeman of Liberty, Michael Haldeman of Fulton, Andrew Griggs of Bonham, Texas, Aaron Griggs, Bethany Griggs and Hannah Griggs, of Tom Beam, Texas; and two great-grandchildren, Lauren Griggs and Jesse Griggs, both of Bonham, Texas.

Her husbands; 10 siblings, Margaret Cote, Charles Graham, Grace Seeley, Zelma Patterson, Evalena Fisher, Florence Ransdell, Ida Sly, Bessie Frakes, Walter Graham and Bill LaRace, all died earlier.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the funeral home.

Donations may be given to Latin American Child Careor First Assembly of God Building Fund, both 605 Old Jefferson City Road, Fulton, MO 65251.

Tributes can be posted at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.

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