Betty Cate Lytton, a lifelong advocate for individuals with disabilities, died peacefully on November 9, 2020 at the age of 96. A memorial service will be held on Sunday November 15 at First Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 1528 Presbyterian Dr., Humboldt, Tennessee, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Burial will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery. Due to COVID-19 precautions, visitation will not be scheduled, however, the church will be open to guests 30 minutes before the service.
Betty was born on February 12, 1924, to the late Joseph Nelson Cate and Bess Dykes Cate of Knoxville, Tennessee. Betty exhibited courage and determination that she displayed throughout her life. As the eldest child in her family, she cared for her brothers while her parents worked to support their family during the Great Depression. As a young woman, she became an airline stewardess for one of the first commercial airlines in the United States, affording her the opportunity to meet people and see our great country. In 1948, she married her beloved Jim Lytton. Betty and Jim raised three daughters, Betsy, Jeannie and Jamie. Jamie was born with Down Syndrome in 1958 when children with this diagnosis were often placed in institutional care. Despite her reservations, Betty could not accept this future for Jamie. She then brought Jamie home and this began Betty’s life purpose of advocating for all people with disabilities, but especially those with Down Syndrome. She was a tireless advocate, supportive and loving wife, mother and friend and, at times, a thorn in the side of those who resisted positive change. Betty was full of energy and purpose and that spirit spilled into all areas of her life. She was playful, fun and socially engaged. She loved aerobics, sewing circle, book club, church and could make any gathering a party. As a classically trained dancer, Betty taught tap, ballet and jazz for many years to local children. She was known to break into dance at the first note of a favorite song, especially in her later years.
Betty is survived by her daughter Jeannie Lytton Luckey (Ken) of Humboldt, Tennessee, and son in law, Edward O. Crandell of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Surviving grandchildren are Bethany Crandell Goodier (Chris) of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, and Paul Lytton Seneker (Suzannie) of Nashville, Tennessee. She is also survived by four great grandchildren, Carson Elizabeth Goodier, Grayson Gill Goodier, Samuel Lytton Seneker, Henry Paul Seneker. Betty was preceded in death by her husband, James O. Lytton and daughters Elizabeth (Betsy) Lytton Crandell and Jamie Catherine Lytton.
The family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the Special Olympics of Tennessee at : give.specialolympics.org/tennessee, or First Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 1528 Presbyterian Dr. Humboldt, Tn. 38343.
Arrington Funeral Directors, 148 W. University Parkway, Jackson, Tn., 731-668-1111.