Saying goodbye to Betty Buckles – ‘The Mother of Monroe’

By Michele Thrasher, granddaughter of Betty Buckles

Betty Buckles passed away on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. There will be a visitation from 6 – 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 31, 2022 at Meadows Funeral Home located at 2128, 760 State Highway 11, Monroe, GA 30655. A funeral service will take place at 1 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022 at First Baptist Church of Monroe. Interment will follow at Westlawn Cemetery. Following the service, the funeral procession will proceed through downtown Monroe between 1.40 and 2 p.m. on Monday for townsfolk to say their goodbyes to a Monroe icon.

Betty Buckles, aka ‘The Mother of Monroe’ contributed photo

Betty Buckles was a true local icon. She was born in January of 1930 in Zebulon, Georgia. Her father Albert would pass away when she was just the tender age of 4 years old, but her mother Bessie, strong willed as ever, went on to raise Betty and her brother Roland by herself, working two jobs and sewing at night for extra income. Betty was determined to graduate high school and further her education in business making all her mothers efforts worth it. She enjoyed being on the varsity tennis team and was exceptional at basketball. Her high school coach would refer to her as “little, but fast and fierce”. She went on to graduate college with an associates degree in business from Griffin Business School in 1950. While in college all the local teens would gather to eat at a diner called Sams Café. One day as she was walking to class, an extremely rude, but handsome fellow came rushing out of Sams Café and plowed into her, knocking her and all the books she carried to the ground. He rushed off, never apologizing. Three days later as she sat in Sams enjoying a milkshake with friends, that same handsome fellow approached her, asking for a date. Of course she scrunched her nose and turned away while replying a very harsh “NO”, but Gene Buckles wasn’t giving up. He was so persistent for weeks to come that she gave in and said, “Yes”. And the rest as the saying goes, is history.

They married and Gene ran the local Buckles Hardware in Griffin, Georgia with his brother while Betty gave birth to Craig and worked for Atlanta Light and Gas company for the next 17 years. Gene and Betty would move to Monroe, Georgia in 1972 and became the proud owners of their own Buckles Hardware Company. Gene died suddenly in 2000 and the family questioned what might become of the business, but without hesitation, Betty with the help of son Craig, kept the well-oiled machine rolling right along. The love for her employees and customers was inspiring to be around, lasting an astounding 43 years. She went on to win many accolades throughout her career. She served as Treasurer of the Downtown Development Authority and was a long running member of the Merchants Association. Her proudest title being, “The Mother of Monroe”. Anyone that had the privilege of knowing her knew she took this job title seriously.

Betty always enjoyed her time with friends and many travels with the ladies of the First Baptist Church of Monroe. On one of those trips, totally unsupervised, the ladies somehow ended up on a Harley Davidson, one of Betty’s best kept secrets.

Her love for the church and the Lord helped her teach for many years and bring so many people to walk with Christ. She will make her last ride through Downtown Monroe on Monday. We invite everyone to stand on Broad street between 1:40 and 2 p.m. as the processional makes its way to West Lawn and Betty gets to say goodbye to the Hardware Store and all her beloved people one last time on Broad Street. She loved you all so much.

Photo gallery courtesy of family photos from Michele Thrasher

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply