It was early morning on Christmas Eve that Betsy McOmber passed away. Her family was there and she was in no pain so that was good. Even if the Morgan Car thing was predominantly Gene’s she was always a vibrant presence at the MOGSouth gatherings. If she wasn’t there, her absence was always noted. ‘Where was Betsy’, everyone would ask. Betsy loved her music, her Church and she loved to play the piano and sing. It really is difficult for us, as a community, and we cannot adequately express our feelings of loss. But, we still have the many wonderful memories of car meets, road trips, omelet parties, racing trophies, the house in SC, the house in FL, the family and more. These we will not forget. A true and wonderful friend to us all and she will be greatly missed.
The Obituary in The Sarasota, FL Herald-Tribune is reprinted below.
McOmber, Betsy Lane Thomas – Mar 7,1940 – Dec 24, 2018
Betsy was raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan by her parents Byron R. and Mildred Stein Thomas.
Betsy graduated from Grosse Pointe High South in 1958 and went on to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. She graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science Degree and in 1966 with a Master of Arts Degree. She was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota Musical Fraternity.
Betsy taught 3rd grade at Westwood Elementary school in Kalamazoo from 1962-1967. In 1963, she married Gene LeIsle McOmber of Allegan, MI. Their first son, Thomas Clair, was born in 1967 at which time Betsy began giving piano lessons in her home in Westwood. Two more sons were born in 1970 and 1978 – Richard Morgan and Robert Thomas.
While living in Kalamazoo, Betsy was very active in the Kalamazoo Orchestra League and also her church – 1st Church of Christ, Scientist. She enjoyed selling advertising for 5 years to the Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper. Betsy loved opportunities to play piano background music for various social events and singing in Jan Berghorst’s Women’s Choral group. She greatly admired her parents’ musical talents, both of whom were professional musicians. Her mother was her first piano teacher and instilled in her a deep love of music.
In 1994, Betsy and Gene retired to beautiful Keowee Key in Salem, SC where they lived for 17 years and enjoyed sharing their deck boat with family and friends. Betsy continued her musical involvements by singing in the Key Koraliers and joining a piano group called The Piano Connection where she played solos, duets, and quartets. Betsy and Gene were both very active in the Blue Ridge Art Center and Betsy became coordinator of an art program called Picture Person involving eleven elementary schools. At the 1st Church of Christ, Scientist in Seneca, she was Keyboardist for many years.
In 2011, Betsy and Gene re-retired to Sarasota, FL to be closer to their son, Tom, his wife Melissa, and their grandson, Cole. More musical opportunities opened up for Betsy as she joined the Village Walk Singers and two piano groups – Piano Friends and Musical Friends. At Third Church of Christ, Scientist, she was the music coordinator.
Being married to a car enthusiast, Betsy was an active member of The Foothills British Car Club in SC, the Suncoast British Car Club group in Sarasota, and the Morgan Owners Group South. Betsy loved sharing her husband’s interest in cars and touring in their Morgan. Supporting Gene’s 47 years of racing a Morgan was a highlight of her life.
Betsy’s most favorite hobby was playing the piano and sharing her talent with others. She also was very devoted to writing – keeping in touch with friends and helping them through tough challenges consumed much of her time. She valued each person who came into her life.
She also loved remodeling homes with her husband, doing yard work, entertaining, and going to concerts and plays. Sharing musical time with her grandson, Cole, in Sarasota was especially meaningful to her. Betsy’s husband, three sons, two daughter in laws, and three grandchildren made her very proud and she will be forever grateful for their loving attention to her.
Betsy was predeceased by her parents and only sibling, Terrell E. Thomas, of Mt. Dora, Fl in 2017. She is survived by her husband Gene McOmber and Thomas & Melissa (Sarasota, FL), Richard (MI) Robert & Francheska (UT) Grand children Morgayn, (NV) Cole (FL), Camilla (UT).
“A Celebration of Life” will be held at the Turtle Rock Community Ctr. (8500 Turtle Rock Blvd. Sarasota 34238) on Friday evening January 18th from 5 to 8 PM.
An open house is to be held at the Turtle Rock Community Ctr., 8500 Turtle Rock Blvd. Sarasota 34238 on Friday evening January 18th, from 5 to 8 PM. Please bring your British car (weather permitting) if possible.
Suggested Hotels: Comfort Suites Sarasota Siesta Key: 5690 Honore Ave. Sarasota, FL 34233 (941)554-4475, Holiday Inn Express and Suites Sarasota: 5730 Gantt Rd. Sarasota, FL 34233 (941)925-0631
Memorials to: Gator Wilderness Camp School, 44930 Farabee Rd
Punta Gorda, FL 33982 http://www.gatorwildernesscamp.com/