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Obituary: Betty Gillenwater Clem – Relays Court 1956 – January 6, 2020 –

Betty Gillenwater Clem

Betty Gillenwater Clem was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana on October 25,1935 and passed away peacefully in Houston, Texas on January 6, 2020 surrounded by her loved ones.


She is preceded in death by her parents, Mitchell and Pearl Gillenwater; her son Richard Scott Clem; her brother, Mitchell Gillenwater, Jr.; and her father and mother in law, Lawrence and Estelle Clem.


Betty is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 63 years, Rufus Turner Clem; her son Michael T. Clem and his wife Vanessa, and their sons, Michael II and Ryan; son Kelly D. Clem and his wife Denise, and their sons, Colby and Kyle; daughter Tara Lee Clem and her sons, Austin, Hunter, and Garrett; and son Chris T. Clem and his wife Sarah, their son, Seth, and their daughter, Amy Elyse.


She is also survived by her brother, David Gillenwater and his wife, Freda; sister in law, Dolores Gillenwater; nephews, Todd Gillenwater and Ross Gillenwater, and niece Cindy Gillenwater.


Betty was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother who spent countless hours over the years lovingly supporting her beloved family in all of their various activities. Betty didn’t know a stranger and was a dear friend to many. Her personality was larger than life and she had an incredible sense of humor. Her smile would literally light up a room. Betty was a graduate of Lake Charles High School in Lake Charles, La. where she grew up. She later attended and graduated from University of Louisiana Lafayette (formerly S.L.I.) earning a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. It was there that she met the love of her life, Turner, and they married in Lake Charles, La. on June 2, 1956. After starting their family in Louisiana, they later moved to Texas and established their home in north Houston in 1975. Betty enjoyed traveling, playing golf, and was an avid tennis player and it was during these activities where she made many lifelong friendships. Betty was a member of John Wesley United Methodist Church. She was also a member of the Cypress-Woodlands Junior Forum and served as a volunteer for many years with Northwest Assistance Ministries and Meals on Wheels.


Her beautiful life will forever be cherished in the lives of her family. Her family would like to thank the staff of the Martin House and Loving Hope Hospice for their loving and compassionate care.


A memorial service celebrating Betty’s life will be held on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at John Wesley United Methodist Church. 5830 Bermuda Dunes Dr., Houston, Texas 77069 with Rev. Cheryl Smith officiating. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations in Betty’s memory to be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 8th Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10001; Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, PO Box 608 Downers Grove, IL 60515-0608; or the American Heart Association, 12345 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78753.

Athletic Network Footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas:

Our condolences to the Turner Clem family.

Click here for Betty’s obituary which includes a video of her life.

Betty was the Queen of the 1956 Southwestern Relays.
She is the wife of Turner Clem, four year Track & Field letterman and SLI recorder holder in the shot put.
Click here for his Athletic Network Profile.