Betty Jean Wideman, 8/15/1967 – 11/22/2020
Betty was a “Military Brat,” born in Akron, Ohio and moved around quite a bit as a youth, as duty assignments for her father periodically changed eventually landing in Detroit where she graduated from Cooley High School at the age of 16 having skipped a grade early on. The family would call her “baby genius” because, being curious and intelligent, she studied, learned and “knew things.”
Her mother was a traditionalist who insisted that girls were to be “ladies.” As such, Betty did not own or wear her first pair of blue jeans until she was 13 years old.
She later moved to Flint to attend college at Kettering University. Betty married Gregory S. Wideman in March of 1994 and began working for the City of Flint in June of that year where she spent the rest of her career. She ended her career as the DPW Transportation Operations Manager.
Holidays were a big deal to Betty and she would go all out to make sure to invite everyone in the family into her home for the holidays. If you lived far away, you were expected to make the trip.
Family lore has it that since Betty was an only child and all her relatives were only children, she decided to break the “family curse” and have more than just one child. Betty gave birth to four. 2 boys and 2 girls, unfortunately, losing her oldest son at a young age. As a result, she was very close and protective of her 3 remaining children, each with one child of their own that she adored. Betty was also raising one of her grandchildren.
Betty also made sure that the neighborhood kids were not left out. She would often remove the seats from the family van, lay down blankets, bundle up, and take all the neighborhood kids to Dairy Queen for a cone. Whenever there was a family cookout in the back yard, she made certain she had enough hot dogs for all the neighborhood kids.
She had a wonderful sense of humor and was just a joy to chat with. Betty genuinely loved people and wanted them to feel comfortable being around her.
Some of her hobbies included reading, watching movies, and crocheting blankets. Betty was devoted to her family and loved spending time with her children and grandchildren.
Betty was a great role model and loved to help people.
She didn’t judge you of your situation and gave everyone a fair chance. She had a large impact on the community and will be loved and missed by many of the people she worked with.
Ashley Everhart, Director, Neighborhood Engagement Hub said “While not knowing Betty well, I do know that the community groups we worked with respected her and considered her a champion of their work. Community members tell me that she was a great asset to improving mobility in neighborhoods – working with many groups to improve or install sidewalks in areas where there had been none. She was direct, kind and forthcoming. In my brief interactions, our conversations were always characterized by the ease, familiarity and partnership. She was an asset to the Community and will be sorely missed.”
Edna Lurvey-Sabucco, Eastside Franklin Park added “I worked with her to replace the sidewalks around the park and she was an absolutely lovely person. She & I rubbed elbows at various events, the one that stands out in my memory is when she attended an FNU meeting. We sat together and had a nice chat about the goings on in the city and our families.”
Sheldon Neeley, Mayor of Flint, memorialized Betty with “It is with a heavy heart and sincere regret that we must inform you that our City of Flint family has suffered another incredible loss. Longtime employee Betty Wideman has passed away.
Betty was a respected and valued employee who diligently performed her duties and responsibilities. Her work ethic was appreciated by co-workers and management alike, and she will be deeply missed. We are asking and encouraging each and every employee along with residents to please keep Ms. Wideman’s family in your thoughts and, if you are so inclined, your prayers.”
Betty leaves behind to cherish her memory her mother and father, Booker T. and Mattie L. Wright Jr., husband, Gregory S. Wideman, children Johnathan L. Oldham, Jasmine M. Oldham and Breanna J. Wideman, three grandchildren, Johnathan L. Oldham Jr., Tristan M. Campbell and Caleb J. Mitts, mother-in-law, Betty J. (Anthony) Wideman, sisters-in-law, Dawn Wideman and Shawn Wideman, best friends, Curtis Armstrong and Lisa Persons, friends, Willie Wilson, Tanina Hairston, Hope Smith, Au Lisa McGovern, Barbie Biggs, Dawn Daniels and many more.
She was preceded in death by her son, Matthew T. Oldham, grandmothers, Helen Wright and Georgia M. Scott-Hall and uncle, Hubert Wright.
Rest in Peace