American Legion Auxiliary Past Department President Betty McElderry was a member of the Oklahoma Girls State staff since 1975 and served as Director for 19 years.
Betty was a former teacher and a charter member and past president of the Purcell Public School Foundation. She also served on the Nigh Institute Scholarship Committee.
Betty was a distinguished record of activism and public service. She served in the administrations of six governors. Her state boards and commissions included: The State Advisory Committee on Aging, Oklahoma Economic Development Council, State Health Coordinating Council, Governor’s Task Force on County Government Reform, and the State Advisory Council on Library Services.
The Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame was established when she was chairman of Governor Nigh’s Commission on the Status of Women and she also was a member of Governor Walter’s Commission.
Betty was particularly proud of the twelve years she was Chairman of the State Election Board. During that time Oklahoma became the first in the nation to computerize the election system and since then, no election has ever been overturned.
She was a member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the League of Women Voters (LWV) and served on the state and national boards of each organization. She testified before the U.S. Senate Labor Committee on women’s pension rights when she was state president of AAUW. She directed a Ford Foundation grant for LWV on education finance reform which contributed to the passage of the landmark education Bill 1017.
A past state chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, Betty was the National Committee Woman for Oklahoma. She attended every national Democratic Party Convention since 1980. She represented the United States on official visits to Greece and Taiwan to each about our political party system.
Betty was honored by Campaign and Elections magazine as one of 74 outstanding women who have positively changing America. The award was given to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the Constitution giving women the right to vote.
Betty is preceded in death by her beloved husband Neil and resided in Purcell until the Lord called her home as. She and Neil were the grandparents to twin grandsons and their granddaughter has been a junior member of the American Legion Auxiliary since birth. Neil attended Oklahoma Boys State and was Purcell’s American Legion Post Commander. Their two sons also attended Boys State.
Betty McElderry passed away on July 26, 2019. She was loved by so many and impacted the lives of more young women than we can count. While her life has come to an end, her legacy will live within each and every one of us.
“Sprightly, brightly, and quietly.”