Obituary for Betsy Dee Kessler of Jackson Springs

Betsy Dee Kessler, age 71, of Jackson Springs, NC, a beloved wife, sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, and friend, passed away on the morning of Sunday, December 3rd, 2023, in Durham, NC.

Betsy was born on March 19,1952, in Philadelphia, PA, to Jeanette and Joseph Kessler. She was a shining light in our lives, and her legacy of love, compassion, service and unwavering dedication to those around her will forever be etched in our hearts.

As a dedicated resident of Durham, NC, for over three decades, she wholeheartedly embraced the diverse communities that make this city so vibrant. One of Betsy’s many accomplishments was her role as the very first employee of DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center). For the past 15+ years, she contributed her passion and expertise to enriching the cultural fabric of our city. Her commitment to DPAC reflected her love for the arts and her desire to bring joy to others through the theater. Betsy loved Duke basketball and Durham Bulls baseball. She had a passion for cooking and was the Head Chef for the Durham Bulls players during the late-90’s. 

Betsy volunteered at both the Cub Scout Day Camp for Occoneechee Council, BSA and the Whippoorwill Youth Athletic Association for nearly a decade. Her commitment to nurturing young talent in the community reflected her passion for sports and her belief in the power of teamwork and dedication. Betsy also volunteered to help Carthage Rotary Club by catering their meals and founding interesting speakers for their meetings! She loved helping with fundraising and giving back to the community! Betsy’s family was her greatest source of joy.

She is survived by her loving husband Junior Ward, her only son David Bagley (Lachelle), sister Amy Bofman (Sam), step-children Kris Ward (Cris), Amanda Tickle (Justin), Sam Ward (Bethany). Betsy was a proud aunt to Jeremy Bofman (Melanie), Lindsay Guerra (Brian), and devoted grandmother to eight grandchildren.

Betsy had an extraordinary ability to touch the lives of everyone she met. She shared a special bond with her son David and grand-daughter Zora, and her love for them was a testament to her compassionate heart.

A celebration of Betsy’s life is being arranged for early 2024 and will be announced when confirmed.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Ashton’s House of Hope, P.O. Box 452, Carthage, N.C. 28327

The family would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Zani and the incredible Surgical ICU team at Duke University Hospital. Your tireless efforts and unwavering dedication gave Betsy a fighting chance, and for that, we will be forever grateful. Your compassion and commitment to patient care made an immeasurable difference in our lives during a challenging time.

Betsy Dee Kessler’s legacy of love, kindness, and service will continue to inspire us all. She touched the lives of countless individuals with her warm smile and caring heart. As we bid her farewell, let us remember her with love and gratitude for the extraordinary woman she was. Rest in peace, dear Betsy, you will be deeply missed and forever cherished in our hearts.

Fry & Prickett Funeral Home is assisting Betsy’s family. 

If you would like to leave a condolence or share a favorite memory of Betsy you may do so at 

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