Betty Lou McDaniel

May 18, 1944 - January 24, 2024

Birthplace & Residence

Alexandria, KY
Resided In:
Alexandria, KY


Information withheld per family request


Information withheld per family request


Information withheld per family request


We sadly announce the death of Betty Lou Hutchinson McDaniel on January 24, 2024, at the home built by her grandmother Augusta "Nonnie" Sickmeier and her aunt Betty Jane Sickmeier in 1959.

Born May 18, 1944, she touched the lives of thousands of children teaching elementary school in Kentucky public schools after graduating from the University of Kentucky. She received her teaching degree on a home economics scholarship. She understood that above all, a child that feels loved and secure can learn most confidently. Career-long member of KEA and NEA and an elected Site Based teacher representative in the Newport Independent School District for many years, Betty Lou fought fiercely for the rights and well-being of students and teachers. As a mom, she made every moment a teaching opportunity. She told us stories about family history realizing as she told one story about the astonishing volume of pear butter in mason jars produced by her grandparents farm during Prohibition, it just might have been pear brandy selling by the case! Reminiscing, Aaron remembers her coaching him on the importance of cutting meat on a plate properly with a knife and overturned fork because as a child, she dumped an entire plate of chicken on her lap trying to cut the wrong way. Gayle still heeds Betty Lou’s parenting advice, to always nap when the baby is sleeping, even if the baby is fourteen. She taught us the value of a book in hand, reading as a joy and a privilege, and never censored our choice of reading material.

Preceded in death by mother Grace Evelyn Sickmeier Hutchinson and father Bruce Henry Hutchinson, Jr., Betty Lou was born in a house on Riley Road in Alexandria, KY. The year she turned three, she was promised a very special surprise in the spring. She was so excited, thinking she was getting a pony! Her only sibling, brother Bruce David Hutchinson was the surprise, not a pony, a story which she told with great enthusiasm and a bit of salt her entire life.

Survived by her loving husband of fifty-five years, William C. McDaniel, (they still went on dates for their anniversary, biscuits and gravy at Lana's Diner on Monmouth in Newport), daughter Gayle Lynn McDaniel Johnson, grandson William K. Alford (Stephine), great-granddaughter Willow, bonus great-grandchildren Ryder, Ava, and Sawyer, grandson Luke H. Johnson (Destiny), and grandson Maxwell D. Johnson, son Aaron Scott McDaniel (and his very dearest friend Cassie Cropper), treasured brother Bruce David Hutchinson (Tish 1950-2017), five nieces and their husbands, sixteen beloved great-nieces and great-nephews, dear, dear sisters-in-law Carol McDaniel Zanone, Marsha McDaniel Foley (Gary), Jean McDaniel Southern (John), and brother-in-law Jack McDaniel (Mary Francis) and their children and grandchildren.

Betty Lou spent her retirement years reading hundreds of books, enjoying the perfect introvert social life on Facebook, nurturing her cats, and praying for all the creatures, great and small. She volunteered making frantic phone calls and placing pets in foster homes during the slew of natural disasters around the United States over the last ten years.

Starting in 2017, she kept a Love Journal, jotting down important information for us to know "at her last breath" such as:

-seven locations she would like her remains to be sprinkled


-page after page of books to be read

-several suggestions for grudges that should be carried on after her passing

-an idea for comfortable camping with children (camp near a hotel)

-her lifelong dislike of canning vegetables

-a late, late entry of just in case modern survival tactics, emphasizing that her grandparents had been well-prepared for The Great Depression and she too could be ready for anything.

She wrote a long list of her hundreds of pets’ names, gotcha dates and sweet memories, starting with her first kitten Muffet, October 31, 1950, a soggy gray and white tuxedo baby. We always had a parade of strays through our home, mostly cats, some extraordinary dogs including an actual pack of Huskies, two hermit crabs, and even one nervous guinea pig.

"May the suffering be healed,

The hungry fed,

The grieving comforted,

The thirsty given water,

The homeless be adopted,

The abused be rescued,

And the lost be found. Amen."

~Betty Lou McDaniel, undated, Love Journal

To honor Betty Lou McDaniel’s memory, and according to her wishes, an open house Celebration of Life will be held May 18, 2024 at 12 Sylvan Drive, Alexandria, KY 41001 from 11am – 4pm. She specifically told Gayle, “Don’t be cheap with the food.”

Found written numerous times in the Love Journal:

"Me: *looking through a telescope*

Wow. The Universe is so beautiful.

God: *places hands in black holes*

Thanksssss, it has pockets"

@jennifermorrow, X (formerly known as Twitter)

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Frankie's Furry Friends PO Box 289, Alexandria, KY 41001 (Facebook Group Page has PayPal and VENMO available as well). Thank you.

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Posted by:
Mirissa Combs
Posted on:
February 3, 2024
I was one of Mrs. McDaniel’s third grade students at A.D. Owens (2004-2005). She was one of my all time favorite teachers.

I catch myself thinking about all of her stories, her readings from The Boxcar Children books, all the fun class projects we had and my favorite time was the lesson on mushing (Alaska dog sledding). Prayers and love sent to her family. I hope hearing all of the lives she touched brings a smile to your face as she did ours.
Posted by:
Georgia Smith
Posted on:
January 29, 2024
I met Betty at ADOwens. She was so easy to talk to and easy to make a friend.
Posted by:
Gayle Johnson
Posted on:
January 29, 2024
Betty Lou 2 1/2 years old
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