Elizabeth Josephine “Betty Jo” Vance


Elizabeth Josephine “Betty Jo” Vance

Elizabeth Josephine “Betty Jo” Vance, age 83, a resident of Los Lunas, passed away on Saturday May 21, 2022.

She was born in Belen to Clayton Vance and Premia Chavez. Betty Jo attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Belen and graduated from Belen High School with honors. She also attended Draughon’s Business College, where she obtained an associate degree in business.

Betty Jo worked for the state of New Mexico in different offices as a secretary. She worked at the Valencia County Courthouse in Los Lunas as a clerk. Betty Jo also worked at the Whiteway Café in Belen, where she held different positions. After 28 years, she retired from Belen Consolidated Schools, holding multiple positions.

Betty Jo grew up on her parent’s farm in Belen, where she happily tended to the garden, animals and orchard. Betty Jo was a member of The Secular Order of the Servants of Mary, Rosary Makers, Girls Scouts, 4-H and the AARP.

After her father’s death in 1994, Betty Jo continued to live with her mother until 1996 when her mother was murdered in her presence by two gang members. After this great tragedy, she sold the family farm and went to live with her sister, Mrs. Marie Trinity Bowles, a retired school teacher in Los Lunas.

They enjoyed living together and being active in the community, the church, surrounded by loving friends and family, celebrating holidays, dancing at fiestas, attending plays at Albuquerque Little Theater and Popejoy Hall, operas in Santa Fe, shows at Kimo Theater, flamenco presentations, and other activities where they had fun together.

Betty Jo and Trinity were always smiling and laughing and making fun of each other. They loved to listen to music and dance around the house together. While in the car together, listening to Sirius Radio, on their last ride together, Elvis Presley’s, “My Way,” began to play, Betty Jo’s favorite song. As the song played, Betty Jo said to Trinity, as she always did, “That song, ‘My Way,’ Trinny, is your life,” to which Trinity would always reply, “It is you, Betty Jo, that made me strong.” Betty Jo would laugh and say, “That’s right, I am your favorite,” with a wink.

She is preceded in death by father, Clayton Vance; mother, Premia Chavez Vance; nephews, Vance R. Futrell and Troyce Howsmon; sister, Maria Lily Howsmon Benavidez (Jack “Apple Jack”); and niece, Carmen Rose Howsmon.

Betty Jo is survived by her sister, Mrs. Marie Trinity Bowles; nephews, Michael (Suzie), Noah, Ryan and Chris Howsmon; niece, Brigette Howsmon Sanchez; first cousin, Joe Chavez, sister, Reyna; and many more family members and friends.

All services will be held on Friday, June 10, at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church. A public viewing will be held at 9 a.m., followed by a Rosary to be recited at 9:30 a.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m., with interment to follow at Our Lady of Belen Memorial Gardens.

After the services, a reception will be held at Eagle Park Recreation Center, 305 Eagle Lane, Belen. Those who wish to bring desserts and pastries to the reception may bring individually wrapped store-bought items only, which need not be refrigerated. Masks are optional to be worn at all events.

Pallbearers will be Sheila Wessels, Dennis Wessels, Danny Galvan, Matthew Sena, Michael Howsmon, Ed Curtis, Noah Howsmon and Ryan Howsmon.

Please sign Elizabeth’s online tribute at romerofuneralhomenm.com. Romero Funeral Home, 609 N. Main St., Belen.

The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.