Longtime Westhampton Beach resident Barbara Gill “Bebe” Betts died at home on November 6, with her twin children, Bobbie and Whit, by her side. She was 95.
Born April 3, 1920, she was the youngest daughter of William Augustus Gill and Lucy Gair Gill and was raised in Llewellyn Park, West Orange, New Jersey, and spent her summers at her parents’ vacation home on Dune Road. She attended the Beard School for Girls in Morris County, New Jersey, and graduated from Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, in 1938.
She was at the Dune Road home as theꞌ1938 Hurricane approached, but fortunately a caretaker managed to get her on the train from Westhampton to New York City before the hurricane struck. She became a local celebrity as a result of being listed in the New York newspapers the next day as “missing.”
The year following the ’38 Hurricane, her parents sold their Dune Road home and purchased the historical Main Street homestead built by the Howell family in 1742.
In January 1942, she married Derick W. Betts of Englewood, New Jersey, and Quogue. During World War II, while her husband served in the U.S. Navy, she resided with her parents at the Main Street homestead and volunteered as a nurse’s aide at the hospital in Riverhead.
After the end of World War II, she and her husband built a home on Homans Avenue, Quiogue, and became full-time local residents.
Subsequent to the death of her husband in 1969, she embarked on the last phase of her life with the independence, energy and zest for which she was widely known and admired, survivors said.
She won the women’s golf championship at the Westhampton Country Club in 1979, the same year that her son, Gair, won the men’s championship—a mother-son feat yet to be replicated.
She was active in sports almost to the end. In her 90th year, she was still playing 18 holes of golf, bowled a 200, and each morning walked a mile or 2 on the treadmill at SportTime.
She is survived by her four children, Rick, Gair, Bobbie and Whit; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Her husband, Derick W. Betts, and two siblings, Robert E. Gill and Mary Gill Roby, predeceased her.
Memorial donations may be made to the Westhampton Beach Historical Society, Box 686, Westhampton Beach, NY 11978, or East End Hospice, Box 1048, Westhampton Beach, NY 11978.