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Joanna Wells Betz, of Nicholville

Watertown WWNY-TV logo Watertown WWNY-TV 10/9/2020 Submitted by funeral home
a woman smiling for the camera: Joanna Wells Betz, who loved to be known as Mrs. Edward S. Betz, died peacefully on October 8, 2020 in the presence of her family. © Provided by Watertown WWNY-TV Joanna Wells Betz, who loved to be known as Mrs. Edward S. Betz, died peacefully on October 8, 2020 in the presence of her family.

NICHOLVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Joanna Wells Betz, who loved to be known as Mrs. Edward S. Betz, died peacefully on October 8, 2020 in the presence of her family.  Called “Joey” by her friends, she was the mother of five children, grandmother of 28, great grandmother of 50, and known as “Grandmother” by multiple generations in the North Country.

Born in Jamaica Plain, MA, in 1925, she then moved to Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, where she graduated from high school with outstanding student awards for music and French, along with winning the Westchester County award for best student in spoken and written French.  She attended Barnard College, then graduated cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany with degrees in French and English.  She subsequently received a master’s degree from Middlebury College in French.

She married Edward S. Betz in 1951, and has lived in New York State since then, in the Capital Region for several years teaching Junior High School, then in Syracuse raising her children while her husband attended medical school.  She then lived in Glens Falls, until moving to the North Country in 1996.

She was devoted to her husband, who predeceased her in 1981, as well as her children and their families.  From her school years on, she has loved the country of France and its language, classical music, and English grammar.  She traveled to France almost 20 times and spoke French like a native.  It warmed her heart that so many of her children and grandchildren also acquired her interest and love of France and French.  While she played the cello in her youth, it was the piano that became her lifelong musical instrument.  She could play by ear with sophisticated harmonies, complementing her perfect pitch.

She taught Music and English at Saint Therese’s Academy in Nicholville from 1996 to 2012, ensuring that its graduates are among the few in this century who can diagram sentences.

A convert Roman Catholicism before her marriage, she became a parishioner of churches in the Society of Saint Pius X and was a faithful communicant of Saint Therese’s Church in Nicholville since its founding.  Generous in so many ways, she donated almost 11 gallons of blood during her life.

She was predeceased by her son, Andrew, and is survived by her children, Polly (Mike) Lewis of Potsdam, NY; John (Donna) Betz of Dagsboro, DE; Carl (Suzie) Betz of North Lawrence; Sister Marie Reginald of Walton, KY; Andrew’s wife, Kim Betz of Dripping Springs, TX; along with her 28 grandchildren and 50 great grandchildren.

She will be resting in repose at St. Therese’s Church, 68 County Route 55, Nicholville for visitation on Sunday 2-4 and 6-8:00 PM.  A Requiem Mass will be celebrated on Monday 10:00 AM at Our Lady of the Immaculate Heart Chapel, 337 Trippany Road, Massena with burial following in St. Therese’s Cemetery, Nicholville.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to St. Therese’s Academy, 68 County Route 55, Nicholville, NY  12965.

Arrangements are with the Donaldson-Seymour Funeral Home, Potsdam, where friends can share memories and offer condolences online at

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