Pearl Beatrice "Betty" Cross, 92, died Tuesday, March 25, 2013, at her son's home in New Brunswick, New Jersey, following a long struggle with pulmonary problems.
She was born on May 7, 1920 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the oldest of six children of Carl Otto Pack, Jr. and Pearl Edythe (Weston) Pack.
For most of her childhood she was raised by her much loved grandmother and step-grandfather, Mary Margaret ("Nanny") and William Smith. She was raised in the Presbyterian tradition; her faith in God remained a deeply held part of her spirit throughout her life. She graduated from Irvington High School in New Jersey. On November 21, 1940, Betty married the love of her life, Richard S. Cross, with whom she shared her life for 53 years, until his death in 1992.
Betty and Richard lived for many years in New Brunswick, New Jersey, before retiring to Florida in 1978. Following her husband's death, she lived for several years in Madison, Wisconsin, to be close to her daughters and grandchildren, before moving back to New Brunswick in 2009 to live the rest of her life with her son.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by two sisters (Mary and Zelma) and one brother (Otto). She is survived by her three children, Roger Cross of New Brunswick, NJ; Nancy Cross Dunham (Michael), Pamela Cross-Leone (Steve Leone, who loved her as if she were his own mother) all of Madison, WI; five grandchildren, Lisa Yandow Olson (Dan), Richard Yandow (Jennifer), Dante Leone, Cassandra Leone, and Lani La Forge Cross; and four great-grandsons, Ethan Olson, Keller Yandow, Quinn Olson and Archer Yandow.
During their courtship and early-married years, Betty and Richard loved to ballroom dance. They were always a very classy couple. She spent many years working as a bookkeeper for small businesses; a profession that she dearly loved. At home, she loved to work in her yard and flower gardens. Never having had the opportunity to reach the goal of obtaining a higher education for herself, she strongly encouraged her children in getting their college degrees.
Other things that she had dearly loved were swimming in the ocean at her beloved Jersey Shore, riding rollercoasters, sweets, and drinking her coffee, black. Betty had strong political opinions and, up until the very end, she actively followed news and current events on television. She had always wanted to travel the world; and in her later years, she would watch travelogues on television, as the way to fulfill that dream.
She dearly loved each and every one of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and, in her final years, enjoyed following their exploits and adventures from afar. She was a unique personality. The best of her will be carried on by those whom she has left behind, including a love of learning, a love of fun, interests in travel and adventure, family picture-taking and albums, gardening and - most of all - a strong sense of family.
She will be laid to rest next to her beloved husband, Richard. A small, family graveside burial service will be held at 3:00 pm, Saturday, March 30, at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, followed by a family memorial dinner.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that small donations be made to either the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison to honor her love of gardening, or to the United Way of Dane County, with funds directed specifically toward programs that help the elderly and disabled to live independently in their homes.