Betty Jo Baker Caldwell

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Betty Jo Baker Caldwell, 80, died Thursday, May 4, 2006, following a brief illness. She was born March 5, 1926, in Calera to Horace Claude and Theresa Aldridge Baker.

She was a 1948 graduate of Alabama College, now the University of Montevallo, where among other achievements, she was president of her freshman class, listed in Who&8217;s Who in American Colleges and Universities and Miss Alabama College during her senior year. She also played piano for her college team, the Golds, and was active in student government. An honors graduate, she earned her bachelor&8217;s degree in secretarial science with a minor in public administration.

From 1948-52, she worked as secretary to Dr. Albert Casey, a pathologist at then-West End Hospital (now Princeton Baptist) and in addition to her regular duties, transcribed much of his historical research on Louisiana and Ireland. She married Tom Oliver Caldwell MD on June 3, 1950, spending her first year of marriage separated from her husband, who served in the Army Medical Corps in Korea. During her married life, she was a member of the Toastmistress Club, an officer of the Jefferson County Medical Auxiliary, a founding member and officer of the Rocks and Rills Garden Club and the Revelers Dance Club, a member of The Club and a founding member of the Shelby County Historical Society. She also worked in the medical records department at Baptist Montclair Hospital and for 10 years in her husband&8217;s pediatrics practice, Tots&8217;n&8217;Teens PC.

In 2000, the Caldwells celebrated their 50th anniversary followed by a long overdue honeymoon to Japan, sponsored by friends, colleagues and family.

A member of Canterbury United Methodist Church, her main interest in life was caring for her family and home, a vocation to which she dedicated her life with gracious hospitality, unwavering service and complete devotion. She also loved the Great Smoky Mountains and enjoyed her annual October trips to North Carolina with her daughter, Cathy.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters, June Baker (George) Burson and Dr. Barbara Baker (Edmund) Roberts.

She is survived by her husband; her daughters, Cathryn Lynn Caldwell of Birmingham, Anna Claire Caldwell of Carrollton, Ga., and Mary Kyle (David) Mann of Jonesboro, Ga.; three grandchildren, Amory, Chelsea and Hannah-Grace Mann; many nieces, nephews and cousins; and an uncle, Earl Baker of Harpersville.

Following cremation, burial will be in Oakland Cemetery in Ensley. Service was May 13 at noon at Canterbury United Methodist Church with visitation preceding at 10 a.m., Ridout&8217;s Brown Service Elmwood Chapel directing.

Memorial gifts should be made to the following: The Birmingham-Jefferson History Museum, 12 Office Park Circle, Mountain Brook, AL 35223; Canterbury UMC, 250 Overbrook Road, Mountain Brook, AL 35213; the new Harpersville Library in care of Harpersville City Hall, P.O. Box 370, Harpersville, AL 35078; or The Little Ones&8217; Memory Garden at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham, AL 35223