Ruby Beatrice “Betty” (Tomkins) Whiteside, who served as administrative assistant to four Abilene Christian University presidents, died Jan. 31, 2018, in Abilene, Texas, at age 89.
She was born May 1, 1928, in London, England, and graduated at the top of her Pitman Business College class at age 15.
At age 20, Betty’s mother encouraged her to move to Texas to help her older sister raise her young children. She met the love of her life, Dr. Lonnie Ray Whiteside (’53), in Abilene while he was involved in the bus ministry at North Park Church of Christ. They married March 10, 1951, in the parlor of McKinzie Hall and worked together at ACU for nearly 50 years. Betty was the executive assistant to four ACU presidents: Dr. Don H. Morris (’24), Dr. John C. Stevens (’38), Dr. William Teague (’52) and Dr. Royce Money (’64).
She received the Outstanding Staff Member of the Year award (1978), the Unsung Servant Award (1998) and was voted by students – along with Dr. F.M. “Doc” Churchill – as co-grand marshals for ACU’s first Homecoming Parade in 1992. In 1996, she proudly became a U.S. citizen.
In her retirement years, she was active in Women for ACU and in the women’s ministry of the University Church of Christ, where she was a member for more than 50 years.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Jack and Ruby Minnie (Silverton) Tomkins, and a sister, Joyce Powers.
Among survivors are Ray, her husband of 66 years; daughters Melanie Whiteside Estes (’81) and Denise (Whiteside ’89) Pevehouse; and three grandchildren.
— Ron Hadfield
Feb. 10, 2018