Services held for former Eastern Kentucky mayor

By Rebekah Pewitt | 

BENHAM, Ky. (WYMT) - The visitation was held Wednesday night for a well known former eastern Kentucky mayor.

Betty Howard served the city of Benham in Harlan County for decades.

She was known for many things but possibly above all, she was known for her character.

“Betty was a fine example of the best of Eastern Kentucky. A strong woman who had a great passion for a community, her city and her region,” said friend, Roy Silver.

That passion drove her and other women who served on the city council to do many things for the city during her 40 years as a clerk and mayor.

“We just had a real good time with her, but she was all business when it came to our city,” said friend Lacey Griffey.

Howard spearheaded projects like Benham's Coal Miner's Memorial Park and the Coal Miner's Memorial Theater.

And all of them were done by a dedicated group of women, who were known by a certain name.

“She could talk anybody into anything, so they called us the petticoat mafia,” said friend Wanda Humphrey.

They also made sure to have a little fun.

“We had a Garden Club, and Betty said we called it a Garden Club because it was better than calling it the Busy Bodies because we didn't do a whole lot of gardening,” said Humphrey.

The Garden Club gained national recognition for its work, and like Howard, left a lasting legacy in Benham.

Howard died Monday morning at the age of 73.

The funeral will be Thursday morning at 11 o’clock at the Tri-City Funeral home.

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