Opp victim described as ‘exceptional lady, friend’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friends of Opp’s Betty Bottoms said one could find “no sweeter Christian lady.”

Bottoms died Thursday in what was described as a “freak accident,” when she was struck in the head and killed by a falling tree limb.

Bottoms and her husband of nearly 57 years, Herbert, were active members of the First Methodist Church of Opp, where she was chairman of the council on ministries.

“Betty has been a dynamic member of her church,” Evelyn Larigan said. “Her organizational skills were quickly recognized, when she was asked to (become chairman).”

She was a beloved teacher of the Crusaders Sunday school class for years.

“She always made each lesson a personal testimony,” Larigan said. “It was a privilege to hear her pray.”

Larigan said Bottoms did everything wholeheartedly.

“To her family, she was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother,” Larigan said. “She embraced them all and always looked out for their well-being.”

Bottoms leaves behind her husband; her son, John; his four children, Brandy, Zoe, Zanna and Miranda; her daughter, Melanie Hilliard; her daughters, Mary Ann and Lashona; and great-grandchildren Aiden and Kylee.

“She was an exceptional lady in every sense,” said Linda Bundrick. “She was a big part in her entire family. There was no sweeter Christian lady.”

Bottoms worked as head teller at the First National Bank, which later became SouthTrust Bank, until she retired.

Former bank co-worker Anita Ellis remembered Bottoms as a great person for whom to work.

“She was thoughtful,” Ellis said. “She was a wonderful co-worker. I enjoyed my time working with her.”

Before coming to Opp, the Bottomses were active members at Westside Methodist in Geneva, where she was honored as one of the Outstanding Young Women of America. She was also active in the Girls Scouts in both cities, helping organize both chapters.

“She was a role model for every age,” Larigan said. “She will be sorely missed.”

“If everyone was as kind, considerate and as Christian as she was, the world would be a better place,” family friend Virginia Dowling said.

Funeral services will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, and burial will follow at Peaceful Acres Memorial Gardens.