Bette Jean Wilkes (1926-2017)

Bette Jean Wilkes, loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and master gardener, peacefully passed away on Friday, March 10, 2017 at Hays Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in San Marcos, TX. She was 91 years old.

Bette was born February 1, 1926 to Frank B. and Edna (Hodgkins) Neel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bette was a seamstress by trade but her passion and talents revolved around gardening. She was a master Gardner, taught gardening to elementary school age children and worked with the City of Albuquerque in land development and conservation. She was always busy. She helped establish the South Valley’s Growers Market and was known as the “Gourd Lady” because of her painting of gourds which she sold at the market in Albuquerque. Bette loved being outdoors. She enjoyed fishing, hunting and camping. Bette had a great sense of humor which she maintained throughout her diagnosis of dementia. She was always cracking jokes and delighted her physicians. Bette was preceded in death by her husbands; Robert LeRoy Deering Sr. in 1982 and Perry Wilkes in 2006. She was also predeceased by her siblings; Walter Neel, Mildred Foster and Ray Neel.

Bette is survived by her son Robert LeRoy Deering Jr, his wife Mary, her grandchildren Andrea Deering, Glen Deering and his wife Rebbecca. She will also be missed by her great-grandchildren Ryan Deering, Sean Deering, Catherine Deering, Marie Bernadette Deering, Gabriel Deering and Monica Deering.

Friends and family are invited to Harrell Funeral Home 1715 Kirby, in Kyle Texas on Thursday, March 16, 2017 for calling hours between 6 and 8 p.m. with a rosary service at 7:00 p.m. Please join Bette’s family for a memorial Mass on Friday, March 17, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at Santa Cruz Catholic Church ,1100 Main Street in Buda, TX. Interment of her cremated remains will follow at Assumption Cemetery in Austin.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society or to their favorite charity.

Please visit to share a fond memory, photograph, or condolence with Bette’s family on her On-line memorial site.

Funeral and cremation assistance provided by Harrell Funeral Home 1715 Kirby Lane, Kyle, TX 78640 (512) 268-8200

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