Betty Jo was diagnosed with metastatic liver cancer in April 2022 and lost her battle with the disease on Feb. 22, 2023, at Bethany House. She was 89. Betty Jo was born in Opp, Alabama, at the start of the Great Depression, the first child of Woodrow and Addie Pearl Tisdale. When she was a young child, the family moved to Auburn, and she attended Auburn City Schools.

At a mere 15 years old, she married Forrest Long, five years her senior. They had two children, Charlotte and Randall, and were married 65 years until his death in 2014. As a young woman, Betty Jo kept children in her home for a number of years, and later worked at Gayfers for several years.

After Forrest passed, she married Pete Nelson. They were married three years until his death in 2018. She was preceded in death by a sister and brother-in-law, Lavonne and Dr. Crews Askew.

Survivors include her children, Charlotte Long Bennett (Al) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Randall Long (Beverly) of Auburn; granddaughter Tara Bennett Meadows (Joe) of Chattanooga; great-granddaughter, Brielle Meadows; two sisters, JoAnn McGahey (Johnny) of Moundville, Alabama, and Sandra Leonard (Billy) of Opelika; Cathy Spates Clark, Sharon Torbert and Greg Nelson.           

Betty Jo was a longtime member of First Baptist Church in Opelika, where she loved singing in the choir, church trips, her Sunday school class and all-around fellowship.

For the many visits, flowers and candy, the family would like to thank her longtime friend Jo Jones, loving cousin Cheryl Cooper, new friend Jeri Earnest and special Auburn student, Matthew. Many thanks also to her out-of-town friend Gloria Casey, who sent cards and well wishes too numerous to count.

Many heartfelt thanks to Bethany House and Compassus Hospice for making her last days easier.

Betty Jo’s wishes were to be cremated and not to have a service. The family appreciates all your kind words, thoughts and prayers.


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