|Birth: ||Oct. 14, 1925|
|Death: ||Nov. 7, 2010|
Wilmer Conrad Betts, M.D. passed away peacefully on Sunday, Nov. 7th at Springmoor Retirement Community . Dr. Betts was born in Raleigh on Oct. 14, 1925, the son of Elizabeth Moultrie Drake and Wilmer Zadoc Betts. He began practicing psychiatry in 1955 and was the second psychiatrist ever in private practice in Raleigh. He touched many lives during his years as a physician and continued helping people well into retirement.
Dr. Betts attended Broughton High School and was always active in the Boy Scouts. He was proud to have been awarded Eagle Scout and was elected Best Scout Citizen in 1943. He often told people, "Scouting was a crucial character building experience for me. I learned skills that have always been of value." After high school, Dr. Betts went on to Duke University where he completed undergraduate training, medical school, and his psychiatric residency. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1946. He always said that he became interested in psychiatry because he loved people and enjoyed "figuring out what makes people tick." His heart was always filled with compassion, caring and kind words for others.
After joining the Navy in 1943 and performing active duty in the Navy V-12 program for pre-med students at Duke, he joined the regular Army in 1949. Dr. Betts saw combat duty as a division psychiatrist for the 7th Infantry Division in Korea in 1950-51 and was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service and a battlefield promotion to Major.
After Korea, he returned to Duke to complete his residency and then was stationed at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu as Assistant Chief of Psychiatry. After discharge from the Army, he practiced medicine in New Orleans where he was Director of the Independent Psychiatric Service at Charity Hospital. He returned to Raleigh with his family in 1955 to begin his private practice.
Dr. Betts is a Life Fellow in the American Psychiatric Association. He was a member of the founding Board of Directors at the Healing Place of Wake County and spent many of his retirement years teaching recovery classes there. His devotion was recognized when the Detox Center was named in his honor. He was a founding member of the Raleigh Academy of Psychiatry, was a leader in the NC Psychiatric Association, served as president of the medical staff of the Wake County Mental Health Clinic and taught students in the residency program at Dorothea Dix Hospital for many years. He served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the NC Physicians Health Program for six years, a program he helped develop. Dr. Betts was also on the medical staff at Charter Northridge Hospital from 1986-1994. During this period, Dr. Betts was instrumental in the treatment and recovery of hundred of patients suffering from addictions.
Besides being an authority on addiction medicine, Dr. Betts was also well known for his work in the area of obsessive compulsive disorders and was a pioneer member of the Scientific Board of the OCD Foundation. During the 1980's, he conducted clinical trials on some of the first drugs used to treat OCD. He often explained how heartwarming it was for him to witness the relief patients had from this previously untreated illness.
Dr. Betts always encouraged those around him to have "a high level of acceptance" and to live life "one day at a time." He never focused on himself or complained, but rather was always interested in people and spent his life, even into retirement, helping and encouraging others.
Dr. Betts was predeceased on June 6, 2010 by his beloved wife of 61 years, Georg'Ellen Forbus Betts, and is survived by his four loving children, Ellen Clemmer, and her husband, Tom; Bill and his wife, Monta; Wiley and his wife, Robin; and Thomas and his wife, Becky. He is also survived by nine grandchildren: James Hampton Rowe, Elizabeth (Libby) Rowe Hooker, Scott Eubanks, Eric Betts, Maitlyn Betts, Rebekah Betts, Sean Betts, Rosemary Betts and Drake Betts as well as many devoted nieces and nephew. He is also survived by his sister-in-laws Elizabeth Forbus Adams of Asheboro and Martha Forbus Suski of Chesapeake,VA. He was predeceased by his sister, Elizabeth (Betty) Betts Napier of Louisville, KY.
The family extends special gratitude and much love to Hattie Yvonne Moore who cared for Dr. Betts like one of her own. He loved her dearly. The family would also like to thank all the wonderful caregivers at Springmoor and many caring staff members from ComforCare who helped Dr. Betts in his final years.
Visitation with the family will be held Thursday evening, Nov. 11 from 6 to 8 p.m at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 1701 East Millbrook Road, Raleigh. Graveside services will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 12th at Oakwood Cemetery, with a reception and celebration of Wilmer's life immediately following at The Healing Place of Wake County at 1251 Goode St., Raleigh NC.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to two organizations which were very close to Wilmer's heart. Contributions can be made to The Healing Place of Wake County, 1251 Goode St., Raleigh , NC 27603-2261 or to The Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types at 2616 North Broad St., Colmar, PA 18915.
Published in The News & Observer on November 9, 2010
Wilmer Zadoc Betts (1896 - 1980)
Moultrie Drake Betts (1899 - 1999)
North Carolina, USA
Created by: Michael Hollingsworth
Record added: Feb 06, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 84591335