In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Betty Mae Vaught, 92

Betty Mae Vaught, 1929-2022. IMB Photo

Betty Mae Vaught, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Hong Kong, died Sept. 9, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia. She was 92. 

Betty was born Nov. 30, 1929, in Krebs, Oklahoma, to the late Erastus Francis Vaught and Myrtle Elizabeth Vaught. She graduated from McAlester High School in McAlester, Oklahoma. 

She worked for 14 years as a secretary at Long-Bell Lumber Company in McAlester. She studied at Oklahoma Baptist University’s extension campus in McAlester. She also worked as the church and pastor’s secretary at First Baptist Church in McAlester.  

At First Baptist, Betty also served on the building committee that introduced and led the plan to build a new $560,000 auditorium. She held many positions at the church. She taught Sunday school, served in the church library, held the position of secretary of the adult choir, served as a Bible study leader for the Woman’s Missionary Society and was the general secretary for the church’s Woman’s Missionary Union. 

In her letter seeking missionary appointment, Betty wrote that she was interested in the Missionary Associate Program since its inception.The MAP program was open to people who may not have had all the educational requirements for a career missionary position.

“[I] have always felt that this was a great opportunity for people with special skills to enter into an extremely challenging avenue of service,” Betty wrote. “From the time of my initial contact with the Foreign Mission Board, I have become increasingly aware that I am placing my life where the Lord wants it to be.” 

In 1970, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed Betty to serve as a missionary in Hong Kong.  

During her service, Betty served as a secretary, treasurer and business manager for the Hong Kong Baptist Mission. The pastor of Taipo Baptist Church, a Cantonese-speaking church, invited Betty to teach and lead an English-language Sunday School class. The class grew from 10 to 15 people to 35, and Betty helped lead the class to become an English-language church plant of the church. The church served Hong Kongers who wanted to worship in English and English-speaking expatriates, including people from Myanmar, Malaysia, the U.S., Canada, and a Chinese family who once lived in Wales and a Chinese woman from Panama.   

She served for 35 years before retiring from missionary service.  

Betty was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Lucile Vaught Thomas and Dorothy Vaught Wells Pyle; brothers Orin, Lyle, Raymond and Sherman Vaught; and a great-niece. 

She is survived by nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and many friends. 

A viewing was held at Woody Funeral Home in Richmond, Virginia, on Sept. 19, and another viewing was held at Chaney-Harkins Funeral Home in McAlester on Sept. 22. Her graveside service was held on Sept. 23, 2022, at Oak Hill Cemetery in McAlester.   

Read an obituary here.