Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Brazee
Elizabeth May “Betty” (Parrish) Brazee, Overland Park, passed away Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, at Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park at the age of 100. Betty was born Feb. 4, 1916, in Fort Scott, to Harry Ellsworth and America Jane “Meckie” (Baker) Parrish. She studied piano as a child and was an accomplished pianist, as well as a string bassist in high school. Betty graduated from Fort Scott High School and Fort Scott Community College. She received a bachelor’s degree in home economics and education from Kansas State University, completed a post-graduate Smith-Hughes Fellowship. She was a Life Loyal member of Tri Delta Sorority. She then taught home economics in Deerfield and Miltonvale.
While at K-State, she met John Emerson Brazee of Iola, and they married on Sept. 3, 1939 at her parent’s home in Fort Scott. To this union were born four children: Elizabeth Jane “Betsy,” John Emerson Jr., Susan Parrish and James William. John and Betty lived in Chicago and then built a home in West Des Moines, Iowa, where they lived until John was drafted during World War ll. Betty followed John to Macon, Ga., but returned to Fort Scott to teach home ec and music, when John was deployed to England. Following World War ll, they returned to their home in West Des Moines, and then moved to St. Louis in 1950.
In 1957, the family moved to Ormond Beach, Fla., hoping a move to a warmer climate would be beneficial for John’s health, but that was not the case, and they returned to St. Louis. She remained a member of Kirkwood United Methodist Church for over 65 years.
Betty and John loved to travel by car and train, and took their family often. Trips to Michigan, Santa Fe, the East Coast, California, Estes Park (numerous times), and a train trip through Mexico to Mexico City were just some of the adventures they planned for their family. She was a “stay-at-home” mom for her children, but not really, as it seems she was always in her car taking one of them to some kind of activity — dance lessons, swim lessons, piano lessons, horseback riding, cello lessons, sports team practices, clarinet lessons, summer day camps and much, much more. She taught herself to drive at age 11, and drove over 80 years without an accident or traffic ticket.
After John’s retirement, Betty and John began spending winters in Texas or Arizona, and eventually bought a home in Scottsdale, Ariz. Following John’s death in 1988, Betty continued to live in Scottsdale, but later also bought a home in Overland Park, to be closer to her family. Most recently, she had been a resident of Brookdale-Overland Park Assisted Living. She enjoyed many adventures with her children, including trips to Hawaii with Susan and Larry, and an entire summer spent in Alaska with Susan and Larry, Betsy and Don, and two of her granddaughters, Amy Wright and Cory Brazee. When she was 93, she took a trip to the Canadian Rockies with Don and Betsy, and rafted down the Bow River. She continued to travel with Don and Betsy in their RV, to Colorado and to and from Bellingham, Wash., and Phoenix, Ariz., until she moved to Brookdale.
Betty loved the mountains, but also western Kansas, where she could gaze “as far as the eye can see.” She enjoyed reading and watching golf on TV. She loved animals, and over the years, she and her children had several beloved dogs and cats. She loved the color pink and flowers, especially pink roses, so her family always knew what to bring her to give her joy. But most of all, she loved family, and family birthday parties and reunions, which gave her chances to visit often with her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews whom she adored.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband John; a son, John Emerson Jr.; a granddaughter, Elizabeth Marie Brazee; two nephews, Roger Alan Parrish and John Edward “Ted” Parrish; her parents; and a brother, Donald Baker Parrish.
Betty is survived by an extended loving family including:
Daughters: Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” Wright and husband Don of Overland Park and Susan Tucker and husband Larry of Stilwell;
A son: James William Brazee and wife Sallie of St. Louis;
Nine grandchildren: Cheryl Wright Picolet and husband Jon of Santa Fe, N.M., Shanna Wright Ziegler and husband Tom of Perry, Amy Elizabeth Wright of Overland Park, Emerson “Andy” Brazee of Bonner Springs, John Cuinn, Calloway James “CJ” and Conan Paul “Clancy” Brazee of Lawrence, Coralyn Brazee Peirson and husband Jeremy of Studio City, Calif., and Hannah Brazee Gregory and husband Kyle of Gardner, Maine;
Seven great-grandchildren: Matt Picolet and wife Jessica of Tescott, Erin Picolet of Mill Creek, Wash., Michael Picolet of Bellingham, Wash., Lauren and Emily Peirson of Studio City and Camden and Ethan Gregory of Gardner, Maine.
One great-great-granddaughter: Kaylee Lynn Picolet of Tescott;
Her brother: John Dougherty Parrish and wife Amy of Richfield, Minn.;
And six nieces and nephews, and their 14 children and grandchildren: Robert Parrish and wife Anne of O’Fallon, Ill., Joan Parrish Adams and husband Steve of Montgomery, Ala., Amy Sue Parrish-Etheridge and husband Craig of Cambridge, Mass., Molly Parrish of Denver, Colo., Nancy Parrish Kehrli and husband Bud of Middleton, Wisc., and Ted’s widow, Denise Vinger Parrish of Eden Prairie, Minn.
Funeral services are at 1:30 p.m. Friday with visitation starting at 1 o’clock at Feuerborn Family Funeral Service in Iola. Burial will follow in Highland Cemetery in Iola.
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