Elizabeth Brown Couey

elizabeth couey

JUNE 1, 1924 – JULY 31, 2022

Betty Brown was born in North Holston, VA on June 1, 1924 to Millard and Grace Brown. She grew up in Decatur GA and attended Decatur Girls High. She received her nurse’s cap from Georgia Baptist School of Nursing and met James H. Couey, Jr. while serving as his nurse. They married on September 19, 1945. Together they had two daughters, Bryn and Caryn, and, after a twelve year gap, a son Jay. When Jimmy Couey died suddenly in 1971, Betty and son Jay moved to Birmingham AL where she lived until 2019 when she moved to Atlanta to be closer to family. Her granddaughter remembers her this way.

For Grandmommy

“Upon the untimely loss of her beloved husband James “Jimmy” Couey in 1971, Betty immersed herself in the role of family Matriarch, establishing herself and young son Jay in the Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook. Ever the vision of a truly modern, independent woman, Betty exuded cool sophistication. Whether hosting her bridge club or socializing at the The Birmingham Country Club, no evening was complete without her favored Jack Daniels with a splash.

Betty’s truest legacy was family. Over the years, she shared her love of the beach with us, and many summer vacations were spent together along the Florida panhandle. The drive South was never complete without a stop for baskets of peaches and turkey sandwiches from Bates House of Turkey. Together, we enjoyed time scouring the beaches for seashells, building sandcastles and floating out to the nearest sandbar. During the hottest part of the day, and in the evenings, she taught all of the grandchildren strategy, spelling and counting through furiously competitive games of Scrabble, Hearts and Rummikub. Known for her intelligence and wit, we learned all the best moves, which is pretty good training for life, as it turns out. Betty introduced us to delicious fried green pepper and feta cheese sandwiches made while the cousins churned fresh peach ice cream on the porch for dessert. No trip was complete without boiled shrimp and West Indies Salad. These vacations were truly, heaven on earth for a young family.

Betty was a pioneer of modern female leadership as she navigated the world on her own terms. As a single mother of a growing boy, she connected with the Birmingham Ski club in an effort to find a common interest. She shared her love of skiing with her son and her grandchildren. She served on the Ski Club Board for many years.

Betty’s love of travel permeated our lives. She would tell awesome tales about her trips to see some of Nature’s finest gifts: the Galapagos Islands, Ibiza, the South Pole, rafting the waters of the Bíobío River in Chile and the Salmon River in Idaho. These stories lit the flame for those of us who were excited to explore the world around us. Together, Grandmommy led us on family trips to France and Italy; sponsored numerous trips across Europe by land and around the world by water as part of the Semester at Sea program.

She was absolutely a beacon for higher education, travel, respect for medical science and the natural world, and women’s independence. Higher education was a top priority for Betty. As a trained nurse, her belief that the human experience could be improved through our understanding of science and the natural world translated into higher education opportunities provided to every child and every grandchild in addition to cherished extended family members that desired to grow through formal schooling. As a direct result of her support, we have numerous highly regarded professionals who are strategic independent thinkers in their chosen field.

All accomplishments aside, Betty built a firm foundation of loving generosity and intelligence for our family and will be remembered with reverence and love. She will be missed deeply. “
Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Jimmy Couey; her Brother, Millard Brown; and her sister Mary Sue Divilio. She is survived by her 3 children – Bryn Daniel (Ross), Caryn Wood (Gil) and Jay Couey (Diane). Also survived by nine grandchildren, six great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A private interment will be on September 28, 2022 at Crest Lawn Memorial Park alongside her husband and her parents. In lieu of flowers a donation to your favorite charity would greatly please her.

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  1. Diane Couey says:

    What a beautiful obituary.
    Betty was a truly amazing lady, and passed down so many wonderful gifts, and cherished memories. I feel blessed to have married into the wonderful Couey family and had 20 years to love her.

  2. Anne Chambers Snyder says:

    I am so sorry to hear this. My love and prayers go out to the family and especially Jay. I have many memories of your Mom. She was such a wonderful lady and beat everyone at scrabble. Hugs to all.

    • Jennifer Daniel says:

      What a lovely tribute to an amazing spirit and human. She loved and was loved, which proof of a life well lived.

  3. Julia Dube says:

    An extraordinary woman, indeed. She was one incredible woman, and my heroine ♥️ Via con Dios, Grandmommy.

  4. Suzanne Coppenrath says:

    What a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman. I know her only through her daughter Caryn and feel her spirit has passed on through the generations. I sure hope we can all leave such a sweet and adventurous mark on the world. We need to join her voice of support for science and humanity. Deepest sympathy to her family and congratulations for having such a force in your family line.

  5. Peggy Sandlin says:

    I met Betty through the Birmingham Ski Club in 1974 and remained fast friends until she moved to Atlanta. We skied together, played bridge together and just had fun together. I loved her like a second mother. She was the BEST!!

  6. Edi Guyton says:

    I never knew Betty, but probably met her while Bryn and I were at ASC together. I did get to know her some through Bryn during the last years when Bryn was her mother’s caregiver, and Bryn and I played internet bridge. Bryn’s love and respect for her mother was palpable, and Bryn kept us informed of her mother’s progress and her strong personality. May she Rest In Peace.

  7. Paula Fines says:

    What a legacy Betty left! Sorry I never knew her. So sorry for the family’s loss.

  8. Jessellan Dunn says:

    My love and prayers are with you Bryn, Caryn, and Jay. Though I never met any of you, I feel I know you from the wonderful, loving stories your mother told about you. I played bridge with her and visited her when she was in the retirement home in Birmingham. Loved hearing about Caryn’s house in Europe, Jay’s many new adventures, and the family gatherings at Bryn’s. She had a wonderful sense of humor (dry wit). She loved cats, even that mean, enormous, Elvis. She touched many of our lives and for her life we thank God.


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