Betty Jean Harper, a longtime resident of Montclair, died suddenly on Sept. 30, 2021. She was 84.
Mrs. Harper was born in 1937 in Louisburg, North Carolina, the daughter of the late Carrie B. Perry. She attended Franklin County Training School and Spalding High School, from which she graduated in 1955.
Upon graduation from high school she moved to New Jersey and was employed for a short time with RCA; soon after she began work at Overlook Hospital in Cedar Grove, where she worked for 30 years until her retirement.
She met the love of her life, Lonnie Joe Harper, while working for her uncle, George Perry, at Perry’s Cleaners on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. They were wed in 1958 at the family home at 85 Lincoln St., Montclair; they remained married for 51 years, until he died in 2009, and she lived in the township for a total of 66 years.
Mrs. Harper walked in her faith, having been baptized at Lettuce Hall Baptist Church in North Carolina; in the Sixties she joined St. Paul Baptist Church in Montclair. She was an active member of the St. Paul Missionary Society, where she would join in Bible study and worship service for the seniors at Arbor Glen Center in Cedar Grove.
She also served with the Two Fish Five Loaves Ministry and assisted with sending meals to seniors, the sick and shut-ins. Annually she would have service with the women at Walter Hoving Home. She was also a dedicated member of Little Lad Food Ministry, where she served meals to her church family.
Mrs. Harper had a vivacious smile, a warm spirit and a zest for life. Her love first and foremost was for family.
She is survived by her sons, Dwayne P. Harper and Glen S. Harper (Kelly), both of Montclair; her daughter, Janise Collins of North Carolina; two sisters, Doris Earp of East Orange and Judy Stanley of Sims, North Carolina; a sister-in-law, Lillian Harper of California; niece Lesly Robyn Harper-Devereaux (Les); Candace Harper; “Trixie”; friends Elma, Linda, Tammy; eight grandchildren; two great-grandchildren and a host of other nieces and nephews.
Besides her mother Carrie, and her husband, Lonnie, she was predeceased by three brothers, Bobby, Billy and Garland Earp, and a sister, Thelma Earp Washington.
Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 8, at St. Paul Baptist Church, 119 Elm St., with a service to follow at 11.
Arrangements were by Martin’s Home for Service.