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Betty S. Segal

December 17, 1931 May 8, 2023
Betty S. Segal
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Obituary for Betty S. Segal

Betty S. Segal died peacefully at home in Rantoul, Illinois on May 8, at the age of 91.

After retirement from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga, Betty joined the community of Hope Meadows in Rantoul in 2003. Drawn to Hope by its mission of building a caring community of seniors and adoptive parents working to support each others’ needs, both practical and emotional, she was active from the start: writing grant proposals to secure ongoing Hope funding, mentoring kids, acting as crossing guard, spearheading a community garden, and acting as an all-around know-it-all. Her final act of community support came during the pandemic, when she used her Federal CARES Act and ARPA funds to start and maintain a food pantry for Hope residents, in conjunction with Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

In the broader community, Betty was an active member of the Champaign County League of Women Voters, editing “Who’s Who in Champaign County”, and serving as a League observer at county Sanitary District board meetings. She also served three terms on the Champaign County Board of Health.

Betty was born December 17, 1931 in Selma, North Carolina, to Alma Rowland Stancil and M.L. Stancil, the owner and editor of the local newspaper, The Johnstonian Sun. After graduating from Selma HS in 1950, she earned a BA in psychology from the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC-G) in 1954. Betty went on to pursue graduate work in Experimental Psychology at Duke, UGA, and University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where she met and married Arthur C. Segal, giving birth to their two children, Daniel Francis Segal and Paul Ethan Segal in 1961 and 1963.

Betty loved gardening and nature above all else, and wanted loved ones and well-wishers to honor her in death as she lived: plant a native tree or wildflower garden, or support an organization dedicated to restoration of natural habitat. Or support the education and mentorship of disadvantaged youth.

Betty is survived, and dearly missed, by her two sons, Daniel and Paul, her daughter-in-law of 32 years, Barbara Segal, and by her surrogate grandchildren, Nan and Amanda Hugh. Her ashes will be interred, without permanent marker, in a private ceremony at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary near Asheville, NC, at GPS coordinates: 35.41729900, -82.56375000, adjacent to Jo Pye Trail (her favorite plant).

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