Who was Betty Heminger?
Betty Heminger was the first and only wife of the famous singer and television host Tennessee Ernie Ford. She was born on October 6, 1923, in San Bernardino County, California, to Charles Dallas and Jessie Etheline (Lynch) Heminger. She met Ford in 1942, when he was a radio announcer in San Bernardino, and they married on September 18 of the same year. She was 19 years old and he was 23.
Betty Heminger supported Ford in his career, which spanned from country and western music to pop and gospel genres. She also raised their two sons, Jeffrey Buckner “Buck” Ford and Brion Leonard Ford, who were born in 1950 and 1952, respectively. She was a devoted wife and mother, who stayed out of the spotlight and preferred a simple and private life.
How did Betty Heminger die?
Betty Heminger died on February 26, 1989, at the age of 65, in Santa Clara County, California. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered, according to her wishes.
Betty Heminger had faced some challenges and tragedies in her life. She had suffered from rheumatic fever as a child, which damaged her heart and affected her health.
How did Tennessee Ernie Ford react to Betty Heminger’s death?
Tennessee Ernie Ford was heartbroken by Betty Heminger’s death, as he loved her deeply and depended on her. He had been suffering from poor health and depression for several years, and her death was the final blow. He said that he had lost the only thing that made him happy, and that he wished to die too. He buried her in a simple grave near their home, and wrote a brief epitaph that read: “Mrs. Josefa Carson, died April 23, 1868. Aged 40 years. A good and true woman. May God bless her.”
Tennessee Ernie Ford did not live long after Betty Heminger’s death. He died of a ruptured abdominal aneurysm on October 17, 1991, exactly a month later, at Fort Lyon, Colorado. He was 72 years old. He was buried next to her, and his epitaph read: “Kit Carson, died May 23, 1868. Aged 58 years. A famous scout and Indian fighter. May God have mercy on him.”
What is Betty Heminger’s legacy?
Betty Heminger’s legacy is that of a loyal and loving woman who stood by her husband’s side for almost 50 years. She was a woman who shared his joys and sorrows, his successes and failures, his dreams and fears. She was a woman who gave him two sons, who inherited his talent and spirit. She was a woman who lived and died with dignity and grace.
Betty Heminger’s story has been told and retold in various media, books, and films. However, there are no authentic photographs of her, only two different portraits that were donated to the Kit Carson Museum in Taos in 1970, and that have been disputed and debated ever since.
Betty Heminger remains a mysterious and elusive figure, who challenges and intrigues us with her life and death. She was a woman who loved and was loved, who suffered and endured, who lived and died, in her own way.