Obituary of Betty Russell Ragen
Betty was a loving and devoted daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, friend and mentor and went to be with her LORD and Savior Jesus Christ and loved ones that preceded her on Monday, May 1, 2023. She was born in the early morning hours on Halloween 1927 at a home located on Lee Highway in Fairfax,Va which is how she got her middle name, Lee. She graduated From Fairfax High School at the age of 16, moved to Annandale upon graduation and worked at the Pentagon for 7 years. She became a “Homemaker Extraordinare” after the birth of her first child and had 3 more children in the following 5 years. This was unequivocally her life’s passion and occupation as she completely and totally embraced being a wife and Mom. She did, however, work in the cafeteria as a baker at Woodburn Elementary School and also at Fairfax Hospital as a Nurses’ Aide upon completion of her classroom training at Woodson High School.
In February of 1948, Betty met a young man from Groveton, VA named George Robert (Bob) Ragen while attending a dance at Social Circle in Centreville. For Bob, it was love at first site….It took a bit longer for Betty. They didn’t see each other again until August of 1948 at Turner’s Arena in Washington, D.C. Bob was so smitten that he wanted to run away and get married that night; but, Betty wasn’t having anything to do with that. However, every Saturday night they would meet each other at Social Circle and by October they were engaged. Four days after Bob’s 21st birthday, they were married and they honeymooned in the Poconos. Upon returning, they lived with her parents in Annandale until they moved to an apartment in Arlington.
After marrying Bob on April 30th, 1949, they built their own home in Annandale in 1951-1952 on land which they purchased from her parents which is where they resided for 64 years. This, in addition to their four children, was their pride and joy and a loving home that hosted many happy family gatherings and celebrations over the many years. She was an active member of Friendship United Methodist Church as well as a charter member, having joined the church in 1956 when it first met at Woodburn Elementary School presided by Reverend Carroll Fink. Betty lived her life fully and joyfully. Her beautiful and selfless life will be forever cherished by her family and friends. She is known for her outstanding culinary skills (her homemade pies were legendary), her passion for gardening and canning, being an avid Redskins Fan, her skillful jitter bug dance moves and the exhibition of extraordinary loyalty to her family, friends, fellow church members, neighbors and her Savior Jesus Christ. She loved spending time with her family her entire life, was involved in their activities and encouraged them in all of their interests and passions in any way she could.
She is preceded in death by her beloved, husband, George Robert (Bob) Ragen, her parents, Lesby (Les) and Samuel (Sam) Russell, her brother, Rollin Russell and her sister, Imogene (Jean) Russell Johnson.
She is survived by her three daughters, Brenda (Glenn) Etheridge, Lesley (Tom) Willcox, Kathy (Victor) Montes and a son, Tim (Cynthia) Ragen. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren, Michael (Tania) Etheridge, Courtney (Chris) Young, Caitlin (Grant) Nofzinger, Tommy (Sarah) Willcox, Matt Willcox, Nick (Krystle) Montes, Chris (Erika) Montes, Daniel (Michele) Montes, Megan Montes, Sean (Bethany) Ragen, Chelsea (Brian) McHugh, three sister in-laws, numerous nieces and nephews and 14 great grandchildren. Her 15th great grandchild is due in September 2023.
Betty’s mentorship and loving presence will be missed; but, we know her life had an effect on many that cannot be put into words. She was a true blessing to those she knew and met. Her life will live on in the countless people she encouraged and loved. We know she is with the LORD and we will live our lives knowing we shall see her again. She was a good and faithful servant.
The family wants to thank those devoted caregivers at Crystal Gardens in Springfield, VA who lovingly cared for her since June of 2022. We are eternally grateful for their love, kindness and compassion.
Please join us for the Celebration of Life for Betty on Saturday, May 6th, 2023 at Friendship United Methodist Church located at 3527 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA 22042 at 1 pm. A brief grave side service and interment will take place at National Memorial Park in Falls Church, VA following the funeral service. Friends and family are invited to return to the church for a reception in the church’s social hall. The family will also host visitation at the church on Friday,May, 5th from 6-8 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Betty Ragen to Friendship United Methodist Church or the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).
One thing is truly certain – Betty will be sorely missed by all of those that were honored and privileged to have known her. She has left an indelible mark on us all…..And, until we meet again, May GOD hold her in the palm of His hand.
Your Mother is Always With You
She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, birds you see, the fragrance of life itself. She’s the cool hand on your brow when you are not feeling well, she’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow, she is Christmas morning. Your mother lives inside your laughter. She’s the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She is your first love and your first and forever friend and nothing on Earth can separate you. Not time, not space…not even death…because all of the wonderful and cherished memories you have will live in your heart and soul forever.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Betty Ragen, please visit our Tree Store