Brown Wiley Morton was born on October 9, 1928 in Bristol, Virginia, to
Dr. William Scarff Wiley and Susan Elizabeth Brown Wiley.
She was one of four children and had three older brothers. Betty attended Sullivan College in Bristol, Virginia, for two years before transferring to the University of Kentucky where she graduated with a teaching degree and a double major in Biology and Physical Education in 1949. While at UK, Betty was president of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority.
Betty shared the story on how she met Bill Morton during an interview with Jean Craft. Their families had known each other for a long time before Betty and Bill met. Betty's Uncle Ewing Brown worked for Sterling Hardware Company in Hazard and her Uncle William Brown ran the Lennut Coal Company near the L & N Yards. (Lennut is Tunnel spelled backwards). Betty's mother used to visit her brothers in Hazard and rode horseback, once riding to Hindman and back. This was in the early 1920's.
During the Christmas holiday of 1947, Betty's brother, George came to Hazard to talk to Bill's father, W. P. Morton, about the lumber business. He was part owner of Home Lumber Company. Betty, her mother, and two other brothers traveled with George to Hazard where they had lunch at the Morton family but Bill was not there. He was helping take inventory at the lumber yard.
In the fall of 1948 Bill was told he should look up Betty and he did. They started dating and the rest is history. "The best day's work I ever did was on September 10th 1949. That's when I married Betty Wiley from Bristol, Virginia," Bill said during an interview with WSGS. They were married three months after Betty graduated from college, a union that lasted nearly 70 years.
They first lived in Versailles, Kentucky, where Bill managed a lumber yard owned by Home Lumber. In 1950, the Korean War took them to Ballston Spa, New York, when Bill was recalled to active duty in the Air Force. By this time they had a son, Peyton. In June of 1952, after Bill was discharged, they returned to Hazard where they made their home for the duration of their long marriage. Betty was only two weeks from delivering her second child, Frances, when they moved to Perry County.
In 1954, Bill and Betty built the first house on Skyline Drive in Hazard. A short time later L. O. Davis built LaCitadelle Motel on top of that mountain and other homes followed.
Betty taught at Hazard High School for two years and she also worked for the state as an Arts and Crafts coordinator for 20 counties. She traveled back roads and up the hollows to find quality crafts that could be sold at the state resort parks. She was a long time member of the 1st Presbyterian Church. Betty said that the three most important things in her life were her church faith, family and friends.
Betty said that her goals in life were to marry and have children. She said that her mother was her inspiration by being the strong woman she was. Betty's father died when she was only two and her mother had to work hard to raise four children.
Betty and Bill Morton had five children, Peyton, Frances, Susan, and then in 1968, Betty produced identical twin boys, Wade and Allan. There are now 6 grandchildren and a great grand son.
Betty was a member of the Rotary Club, served on the Ethics Committee of ARH and the Red Cross board, the Performing Arts board, and was a volunteer for Family Health Services. Her hobbies were gardening, reading and antiques.
The Morton family traveled to France, Germany, Belgium, England and Scotland. They went horseback riding in Montana, camped in the wilderness in Wyoming, and traveled to Canada several times.
The Mortons spent a lot of time at their 140 acre farm in Leslie County that featured a cabin built in 1810. The family enjoyed many 4th of July celebrations there which sometimes included 200 friends and family.
Betty has gently left her mark in myriad ways on the town of Hazard and upon the many people whose paths have had the good fortune to cross with hers. She wanted to be remembered as a person who cared about other people, especially family.
Betty Morton, the wife of former Hazard Bill Morton, and former owner of Home Lumber Company, died on Monday at the age of 90. Visitation will be held on Sunday from 1-3 PM at Maggard's Mountain View Chapel in Hazard. A memorial service will be held at 3 PM on Sunday at the chapel.