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Betty Jean Law
November 8, 1928 ~ April 16, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
Betty Jean Freeman Law died on April 16, 2023, in Fort Worth, TX. Betty, known to family as Mom and Grandmother, and as Aunt Betty to scores of missionary kids for decades, remained faithful to God her entire life—living out God’s calling in her devotion to both her career and her beloved family.
Betty was born November 8, 1928, in Fort Worth and raised by her maternal grandparents beginning at age seven, after her mother’s death. From birth, she was led to know Jesus Christ and nurtured in her faith by her family and by the people of College Avenue Baptist Church. During her college years at Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman’s University) in Denton, Betty was active in the Baptist Student Union and experienced there a call from God to serve him in whatever he led her to do. Soon after, she discerned that call to be one of missionary service and began dating Tom Law, who also felt called to be a missionary. They were married in August 1949 and after seminary began serving as missionaries in Havana, Cuba, with the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (now North American Mission Board).
When the US/Cuba relationship became hostile in 1960, Betty and Tom returned briefly to the US, where Tom served as the associational missionary of the Lower Rio Grande Valley (TX) Baptist Association, before being commissioned as international missionaries with the SBC’s Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board/IMB). After language school in Costa Rica, they moved to Spain in 1964 with their four young sons. There they served as church planters, mission team leaders, and seminary teachers in Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, and Barcelona until early 1980, when Tom’s health issues made it necessary for them to return to the US.
Becoming a widow at age 51 did not stop Betty from following God’s call to mission service. Sixteen months after Tom’s death, she accepted a position at the FMB’s headquarters in Richmond, VA, with the Western South America office. Betty’s natural abilities in leading and teaching, combined with her Spanish language skills, afforded her many opportunities to grow there in roles she loved. For the next 12 years, she served the FMB in administrative leadership roles, culminating in her service as Regional Vice President of the Americas from 1990-93. While there, Betty traveled the world, leading, encouraging, and helping missionaries fulfill their own calling as they served God together around the globe.
Upon her early retirement from that role, Betty accepted another call to ministry—assisting with the startup of the Global Missions Office of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Atlanta, GA, and served there until 1996. In 1998, she chose to move back to Fort Worth to spend her retirement years in her beloved home of Texas.
Betty not only served professionally in her career as a minister and missionary; she also invested herself in local churches wherever she lived—using her Spanish-speaking and leadership skills in Bible teaching, Woman’s Missionary Union ministries, and many other areas of missions and ministry. While in Richmond, she was a dedicated member of Richmond’s First Baptist Church; in Atlanta, she attended Dunwoody Baptist. In retirement Betty was an active member at Gambrell Street Baptist in Fort Worth, where she was ordained as a deacon and served as a trustee.
In her deacon ordination testimony in 2007, Betty summarized her life as God’s servant, saying, “Each time I have felt God leading me to make a decision that was certainly not in MY plans, and I have followed God’s leading, I have been blessed in ways beyond understanding.” She claimed God’s promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 as her strength and reassurance in all things: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Betty was deeply loved by a large family and many, many friends who grieve her loss but celebrate her life on earth. She was predeceased by her husband, Thomas Lee Law, Jr., her sister, Dorothy Mae (Freeman) Morrison and by her great-grandson Gideon Levi Stegner. She is survived by four sons, Thomas Lee “Tom” Law III (Linda) of Norman, OK; John Richard “Dick” Law (Laura) of Austin, TX; Charles Rush Keith Law (Janet) of Fort Worth, TX; Stephen Paul “Steve” Law (Jennifer) of Richmond, VA; 14 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service to celebrate Betty’s inspiring life of faith will be held July 15, 2023 at 1pm at Gambrell St. Baptist Church (Fort Worth, TX). In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Betty’s honor to Gambrell St. Baptist Church (Fort Worth, TX).