June 21, 2013
Betty Stokes was the first person to greet students on their way in to school and the last one to see them off at the end of the day. For the past forty years, Stokes worked as a crossing guard for Charlottesville City Schools. Up until May of this year, the 83-year-old worked at Jackson-Via Elementary. In her four decades with City schools, Stokes didn't miss a single day of work.
"Rain or shine, it didn't make a difference," said her son, Dennis Stokes. "She was going to be there to make sure her kids got home safe."
Stokes died on Sunday. A funeral service held Friday morning in Keswick included a full Charlottesville Police processional and was attended by several of her former colleagues. Along with caring for thousands of Charlottesville school children, Stokes raised three of her own.
Stokes' son, Dennis, said everyone always knew where they stood with his mother. "I look back on life and I know I wouldn't be the man I am today if I hadn't been raised under a strict hand, but loving hand."
Known for her tough talk and funny jokes, Stokes was often the last one to leave the dance floor at weddings. Her favorite dance move was her own creation, called the "High Kick". Her son describes the move as "Rockette-like" with Stokes clapping her hands under her legs.
"She was well known for it and she willingly demonstrated it whether you asked her or not."
Stokes was born in Charlottesville in February of 1930 and lived in the city her entire life. She is survived by her son, two daughters, four grandchildren and one great grandchild.