Willa Jean Beatty (nee Harville) departed this life on August 27, 2021 after a courageous battle with cancer. Willa was the oldest of five children born to Hiram and Irene Harville in 1943 on Halloween, her favorite holiday. Willa was raised in rural Laurel County near London, Kentucky. She attended the two-room Cold Hill Elementary School and Hazel Green High School. Willa attended the Sue Bennett Junior College and finished her undergraduate degree in 1965 at Eastern Kentucky University where she majored in secondary education and was certified in both business education and physical education. She played varsity tennis and placed second in the state tennis tournament.
Willa taught school in Morrow, Ohio and then joined the Great Oaks school system outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. She taught business education courses there and managed the student special needs program for many years, which included finding work opportunities for her students. She also earned a Master's in Education at Wright State University. During her long career she raised her son, Aric Miller, from her first marriage.
She married Jim Beatty in 1990. They retired to Durango, Colorado where they could ski and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. They traveled extensively and skied many times in Europe. They traveled widely with their Durango friends, visiting over sixty countries in every continent except Antarctica.
Willa enjoyed gardening, gourmet cooking, entertaining and achieved the rank of Bronze Life Master as a bridge player. Willa was an exceptionally warm and sincere person, who was steady, kind and thoughtful. She was also fun to be with, adventurous, and athletic, with a gentle sense of humor. She was strong, direct and capable - someone her family and friends depended upon. Willa had a special gift for meaningful friendship, cherishing old and new friends. Willa's grandchildren adored her - she shared her love of games and adventure with them and was a role model to them all.
Willa is survived by Jim, her husband of 31 years, her son Aric (Rhonda) Miller, their two sons, Jacob and Brian, as well as by her stepchildren Jamie Beatty and Jennie (Owen) Thomas and their three children, Hank, Martha and Mae. She is also survived by her sister, Mary Rose (John) Elkins, and their three children, and brothers, Hiram "Buddy" Harville, Gerald (Kathy) Harville, and Terry (Peggy) Harville and their three daughters.
A celebration of life is planned for a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society
or a charity of choice
Published by The Durango Herald on Sep. 2, 2021.