Mary “Bett” Speir Stroud - TribPapers

Mary “Bett” Speir Stroud

Marshall – Mary “Bett” Speir Stroud, 75, died peacefully on Sunday, February 14, at Elderberry Health Care in Marshall, N.C. She was born in Ayden, NC, in 1946 to Alton Speir and Susan Cumar Branch Speir, who predeceased her.
Bett moved to Weaverville with her husband, Walter, and daughter, Rachel, in 1972, where she embraced Weaverville’s natural beauty and community values. For many years, Bett was a regular jogger and walker, logging many miles on Weaverville’s sidewalks. She was an avid reader and in her 40s pursued her college degree, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Art History, as well as a two-year concentration in Accounting, from Mars Hill College in 1991.

A desire to make a difference and contribute to enriching the quality of life in Weaverville led Bett to serve the town for 20 years beginning in 1989 as a town council member and then, beginning in 1993, for 16 years as Weaverville’s first female mayor. She was dedicated to enhancing the small-town atmosphere of the town she loved, making trees, sidewalks and greenspaces her priorities. During her tenure the town saw a landscape transformation at Lake Louise Park, early phase implementation of the Main Street Nature Park, construction of the Ivy River Water Treatment Plant, as well as new municipal facilities for the Town Hall, Public Works, and the Fire Department and the development of Northridge Commons, where a boulevard now bears her name. Bett enjoyed working with the town administration, especially long-serving Town Manager Michael Morgan and with the town commissioners, especially Vice Mayor (and later Mayor), Dottie Sherrill. Bett also enjoyed working with other government and non-profit officials in Buncombe Co. When Bett retired in 2009 some of her friends asked her if she stopped because things had gotten too contentious. Her quick answer was always the same, “I loved every minute of it.”
Bett loved trees and chaired the town’s Tree Board for nearly two decades. On her watch 1,085 trees were planted and Weaverville received 19 consecutive awards as a Tree City USA. In 2004, the National Arbor Day Foundation honored Bett in Nebraska City, Nebraska, as recipient of its Lawrence Enersen Award, which recognizes individuals whose life’s work exemplifies commitment to tree planting and conservation in community improvement. Bett relied upon industrious Tree Board members who helped make every tree project a success. She especially appreciated the dedication of Board members Carol Kendall, who went on to chair the Tree Board after Bett’s retirement, and horticulturist Wilma Penland.

Bett was especially proud of her family and always encouraged them in their endeavors. She is survived by Walter, her husband of 57 years; daughter, Rachel, and her husband Drew Hunsinger of San Diego, CA; sister Bernice and her husband Robert Cannon of Ayden; and many nieces and nephews and their families. The family wishes to thank numerous people for their thoughtful care, assistance and friendship these past few years, including Care Partners, Susan Malter, Dr. Virginia Barnhardt, and the care team at Elderberry HealthCare.
No public memorial service will be held. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in Bett’s memory to the Bett and Walter Stroud Endowed Scholarship Fund at Mars Hill University, P.O. Box 6792, Mars Hill, NC 28754.