“Betty” DeHardit, 88, of Gloucester, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013.
Betty was born to the late SF author Will F. (Murray Leinster) and Mary Jenkins on April 2, 1925 in the first floor bedroom of the historic “Clayebank.” When her older sister, Mary, began home instruction by tutor Miss Margaret Muse, Betty–three years her junior–became her classmate. As a result Betty graduated from Botetourt High School in 1940 at the age of 15. Due to her age, she subsequently enrolled at the Collegiate School in Richmond.
At the onset of World War II, the Jenkins returned to New York where Betty enrolled at Columbia University. She transferred to Adelphi University where she became a student of the renowned Hanya Holm, founder of modern dance. Betty received a BA in Fine Arts and Dance from Adelphi in 1947. After graduation, she became Assistant Director of Adelphi University’s Children’s Theater.
In 1957, Betty resigned her position with Blue Cross-Blue Shield in New York, moved to Gloucester to wed Gazette-Journal editor, William M. “Bill” DeHardit. She assumed a position as caseworker-in-charge with the Gloucester Office of Social Services and resigned when she and Bill began their family. She joined Bill, who had founded the Glo-Quips, a bi-weekly newspaper with a focus on the history of Gloucester County. Betty became Editor and Publisher following Bill’s death in 2011.
Throughout her adult life, Betty was well known for her commitment to the promotion and historical preservation of Gloucester history. Ivor Noel Hume, former director of Colonial Williamsburg archaeological research program, acknowledged Betty’s “valuable historical information as well as her constant and vigorous assistance” in excavations at Clay Bank.
The Gloucester Board of Supervisors honored her with a lifetime membership in the Gloucester Historical Committee for her role in establishing “the foundation of the future of the Committee.” Betty was a charter member of the Committee as well as its first Chair. The board also appointed her to the Dragon Run Committee and the Horse Racing Committee. Serving as its chairwoman, the Committee spearheaded efforts to bring a racetrack to Gloucester.
Betty and Bill, along with their daughter, Beth, founded the Pocahontas Foundation and Museum and enjoyed their visitors both young and old throughout the years.
Betty is survived by her only child, Elizabeth DeHardit Richardson; her son-in-law, Kenny Richardson; grandchildren, Amy Richardson and her fiancé Tom Moyer of Washington, D.C.; Katherine Richardson of Richmond, and Alexandra Richardson of Gloucester. She is also survived by two sisters, Billee Stallings of Moorestown, N.J., and Jo-An Evans of Dulwich, England; along with many nieces, nephews and friends.
Hogg Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.