Betty Cunningham Hopkins, 91, of Lula, Miss., passed away at her home in her sleep in the early morning of Wednesday, April 25, 2018.
Betty was the widow of Louie Henderson Hopkins.
Visitation was held Saturday, April 28, 2018, at Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home in Clarksdale. Funeral services were held Saturday, April 28, 2018, at the funeral home chapel with burial in Barbee Cemetery in Lula.
Betty came roaring into this world on June 11, 1926, in London, England. She spent her youth on the banks of Waterford, Ireland, dearly loved by the grandparents who raised her, developing a passion for reading and arguing that lasted the whole of her life. She moved back to London during the height of World War II, and through the terror of being bombed out of her home three times, she met Louie, an American Army lieutenant from Mississippi, who she loved dearly for the rest of her days. They had their first child, Elizabeth, while they were still in England.
After the war ended, Betty followed Louie to America, soon settling in the town that she would call home for the rest of her life: Lula, Miss. She had three more children -- Joseph (Jody), Alice and Jack. She became a United States citizen, something of which she was enormously proud, unless it behooved her to mention her British roots to make herself seem exotic.
She served on the Lula Town Board for 36 years, always a boisterous actor willing to question, needle, confront or make a joke to make her point. She was at times outrageous and shocking, but almost always with a smirk, because she loved to get some kind of reaction; whether a laugh or a rebuke, it almost didn't matter.
She leaves her seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren stories that seem too tall to be true, but nevertheless, they always were. She loved fighting about politics but would always keep an open mind.
She loved to sing along to her vast record collection; she listened to everything from Broadway to Sarah Vaughan to Billy Joel. She was at times difficult and headstrong, traits she passed on in abundance to her progeny, traits of which she was proud. "True grit," and, "And sometimes you have to do something, even if it's wrong," were her mantras, ones that she lived fully as long as her body would let her.
As her health declined, she received constant care and love, spending her last 20 years living in her daughter Alice’s home. That care was aided by Tonia Hardine and her family, who became part of Betty's family themselves. On her last evening, she had a good meal, told Alice she loved her, and fell asleep, comfortable and at peace.
Her life was not always easy, but it was always very full - of noise, of commotion, and most of all, of love. She would not let you leave the house without telling you that.
In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Sean Cunningham.
She is survived by her four children, Elizabeth Artigues (Bert) of New Orleans, Jody Hopkins (Ginger) of Memphis, Tenn., Alice Middleton of Lula, and Jack Hopkins of Longtown, Miss; her seven grandchildren, Paul Artigues, Geoff Artigues (Sara), Ted Hopkins, Jim Hopkins (Mary), Julie Hopkins, Bonnie Hopkins and Maggie Middleton; as well as two great-grandchildren, Trevor Hopkins and Sarah Margaret Hopkins; and two siblings, Lenard Cunningham and Alice Morrison, both of the United Kingdom.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to Spring Initiative, P.O. Box 1759, Clarksdale, MS 38614.
Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home handled the arrangements.