Mrs. Betty Lee – Born, raised, and thriving in Morrisville

by Assunta Anzalone Deliman, M.Ed.

I had the opportunity to meet recently with Mrs. Betty Lee, a woman that is a staple in the Morrisville community. I must admit, on the drive to her house, I called several of my former classmates and told them where I was going. Every response was the same…“You are going WHERE?” “Call me on your way home!”

You see, Mrs. Lee was our seventh-grade math teacher. She was the quiet teacher in front of the classroom that expected us to behave, so we did.

She expected us to be kind to each other, so we were. It has been many years since I was in her classroom.

For the last 20 years I have been a fellow member of Delta Kappa Gamma Alpha Nu, an international society whose members are outstanding educators.

Still, I cannot get the name “Betty” to come out of my mouth when I am with her, even though she has repeatedly told me to do so. Children often believe that teachers live in their classrooms. When Mrs. Lee began telling me about her life, I was in awe of the life she has lived.

Mrs. Lee was born in Morrisville and lived in the Manor Park area until her father’s job relocated the family to Buffalo, New York. After World War II, her family returned to Morrisville.

At that time, houses were hard to find and building was nonexistent. At the first opportunity, her dad purchased a home on Central Avenue.

She lived there through her elementary education at the Case School and continued her education at Robert Morris High School, later the site of M. R. Reiter Elementary School.

Mrs. Lee graduated from West Chester College. Upon graduation, she was offered a job at the “new” school being built in town: Morrisville High School.

It was there that she taught math for 34 years, and met Dick Lee, her future husband. Dick taught Social Studies at the school and was a coach for every sport.

Their son, Rick, was also educated in the Morrisville School District and was competitive in all sports. Mrs. Lee’s commitment to education extended beyond the walls of her classroom.

She was president of the Morrisville Education Association for three terms. Wherever Mrs. Lee was needed by her principal, Mr. Wood, she was there to help.

She could be seen at the bowling alley supervising the team, at a student government meeting, or National Honor Society gathering.

Along with fellow Alpha Nu member and retired Morrisville teacher, Ruth Graves, Mrs. Lee volunteered one day a week for over 20 years at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Levittown. On these days, her responsibility was making a food report to improve the well-being of over 100 visitors.

Her close friend, Ruth, counted the baby food bottles and checked the expiration dates. Service to others and camaraderie changed her long days into special memories.

Scholarships have always been a great passion of Mrs. Lee. She was a member of the Yardley-Makefield Business Professional Women’s Club for decades. Members collected food for families in need.

Scholarships were given to those that dreamed of a better future, but needed financial assistance to be successful.

Mrs. Lee holds a strong belief that support and encouragement can make a great difference in the future of a young person. For 10 years, Mrs. Lee awarded a Morrisville High School scholarship in memory of her husband.

Although Mrs. Lee retired in 1991, her love for teaching did not stop. She held long-term teaching and substitute positions at Holy Trinity School until the pandemic closed schools in 2020.

She was a Eucharistic Minister for over 10 years. In the halls of Holy Trinity School, she is referred to as a “treasure.”

When Mr. Jeffrey McCusker, principal at Holy Trinity School was asked what Mrs. Lee has meant to HT, he responded, “Mrs. Lee is a consummate professional. She served our school community as a loyal and dedicated substitute for many years. She was always kind and nurturing to the children from all levels, K-8. She also worked with some of our students in small groups for math instruction over the years. Whenever we needed a sub, we knew that we could always count on Betty.”

Mrs. Lee’s contribution to Delta Kappa Gamma Alpha Nu spans over 49 years and counting. She joined the association in 1975, eager to become a member of the professional group. She was enthusiastic to participate in community building.

At that time, Alpha Nu was in the foundation years of its membership in Bucks County. Again, her leadership was evident as she became president of Alpha Nu for two “bienniums” (82-84, 96-98).

In her tenure, she held positions of treasurer, second and first president.

This association supports many Bucks County community support services: literary programs, scholarship opportunities, and food drives to serve those in need.

Mrs. Lee represents her school district as a member of this organization.

There is just something about growing up “Morrisville.” No matter if you move away permanently or move back, the small-town feeling stays in one’s heart. Mrs. Lee’s last line in our conversation was a telling statement of the modest way she has lived her inspiring life.

She said, “Every day is a new day – make the best of it.”

As I was driving home, my phone started ringing. Each former classmate asked the same question – “How was it?”

My response was always the same…it was an honor.

PHOTO CAP: Mrs. Betty Lee

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