Betty Gregg Cotton, age 76, passed away the morning of Sept. 6, 2021 at Baptist Memorial Rehabilitation in Memphis where she was recovering from a recent fall. She is survived by her son Tyler Cotton, daughter-in-law Joyce Zhao, brother Ronnie Gregg, and ex-husband and friend Richard Cotton.
Betty was born in Clarksdale on Jan. 15, 1945 to J.C. and Willie Mae Gregg. After graduating from Clarksdale-Coahoma High School she spent a short stint at Mississippi State College for Women before she began working at the Bank of Clarksdale. Later, she solved customer complaints in the emerging years of FedEx. Never one to relax, after having Tyler she enrolled at the University of Memphis in her 40s where she pursued a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design, earning recognition and awards for several of her projects. After graduation, she ran her own business designing and decorating homes around the Mid-South.
Outside of her work, Betty was a doting and dedicated mother and took an active role in a wide array of social organizations. She served as room mother for Tyler’s class in lower school at Lausanne Collegiate School, helping plan class events and memorable pool parties. Other childhood friends and their parents will remember Halloween trick-or-treating nights she hosted. As an officer in the Lausanne Parents Club she helped plan the annual school auction on at least a few occasions. Later, she served in the Josephine Circle. Whichever community she called home at the time, she would find her way into some role organizing or volunteering for its homeowners' association. She loved her games, and not only did she regularly bowl a score in the 100s for her ladies’ team into her 60s and 70s, she played with a bridge club for decades. Betty loved gathering with friends. Over the years she hosted informal reunions of high school girlfriends and celebrated holidays with friends old and new. Neighborhood get-togethers were a regular occurrence wherever she lived. The highlight of any year was her annual trip to Cabo San Lucas with a rotating cast of girlfriends, where they idled away the time reading by the pool, walked along the beach at dusk, and feasted on fresh seafood and margaritas at night. Her days off from work and social commitments found her gardening, trying out new recipes, working on crosswords, and catching up with friends on the phone. Once football season began, even if no Mississippi, Memphis, or Tennessee school were playing, a college ball game would be on TV. She will be remembered for her cooking, tenacity, humor, and relentless social streak that made her friends wherever she went.
A memorial will be postponed until the pandemic abates and border restrictions loosen, so her son and his wife can return from Beijing, China for attendance. In remembrance, say a prayer for her or try a new recipe. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your choice of charity or the Les Passees organization in Memphis.
Memorial Park Funeral Home in Memphis is handling arrangements.