In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Betty Louise Hart, 89

Betty Louise Hart, 1930-2020

Betty Louise Hart, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among American Affinity Peoples in Chile, died June 18, 2020. She was 89.

Hart was born Sept. 9, 1930, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to the late Essie Mae Stewart Hart and Paul Emerson Hart. She grew up and attended school through the sixth grade in Sandy Hook, Mississippi. She graduated from Columbia (Miss.) High School in 1948. She received the Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi Woman’ s College (now William Carey University), Hattiesburg, in 1952 and the Master of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, in 1954. During the summer of 1953, she attended the University of Havana in Cuba.

When seeking missionary appointment, Hart wrote that she first began wondering what God would have her do with her life after writing a paper on foreign missions during her senior year in high school. Having a roommate from the nation of Colombia her senior year in college made her begin to wonder if God wanted her as a missionary in South America.

Hart began her professional career in Midland, Texas, where she started a Mexican kindergarten. From 1956 to 1964, she was employed by the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) at Toledano Mission Good Will Center in New Orleans. But she continued struggling with God’s call.

“While I was riding on a train returning from a week of [Girls in Action] Camp in the summer of 1963,” she wrote, “God gave me once again His assurance in that ‘still, small voice’ that He wanted me as a missionary in Latin America.”

In 1964, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed Hart as a missionary to Chile. She attended language school in Costa Rica from 1964 to 1965 and served in Chile from 1965 to 1996.

Upon her retirement after 31 years of missionary service, Hart returned to Sandy Hook and later moved to Columbia, where she resided for the next 20 years. A highlight of her retirement was assisting in establishing a Hispanic mission in Sandy Hook. She was a member of Sandy Hook Baptist Church.

Hart is survived by two first cousins, Shirley Smith (Robert) of Bush, Louisiana, and Geraldine Smith (Jim) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and other cousins.

A graveside funeral service was held on June 26, 2020, in the Sandy Hook United Methodist Church Cemetery.

Memorials in Hart’s honor may be made to Iglesia La Familia En Cristo, SBC, Hispanic Mission, Sandy Hook in care of Richard Beal, 903 High School Avenue, Columbia, MS 39429.

Read an obituary here.