Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Remarkable Betty Drury

In June of 1995, some twenty-four years ago, Betty Drury retired from the staff of the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce after 13 years of service to the group. Here is the text of a departing message she presented to the chamber membership via the organization's newsletter. 

Click on the images to make them larger.

"When I came to Covington in 1977 to live and finish educating the last of my five children, Dot Kehoe, a friend mentioned an opening to manage the Greater Covington Chamber office, replacing Pat Wascom, as a sole employee. 

"The office was on N. Columbia next to Kentzel Printing and the Chamber was to relocate three more times. Norman Foxworth was the Chamber President who hired me and thus began a 13 year relationship with the Chamber. Nettie Galatas came on board as a part-time assistant, soon after.

"I left for an interim period during which time Patricia Clanton was hired to take my place. The Board of Directors gave her the title of Executive Director and the Chamber began to gather momentum.

"Darlene Holden, the Director in 1986, rehired me, and I adjusted to many upscale changes. In 1988, the new Execu­tive Director, Diane Winston, introduced even more advanced office projects under the direction of the Board of Directors. New events and activities multiplied rapidly. I saw businesses growing and expanding as was the member­ship. When I started in 1977, we had a membership of 125. In the beginning of 1995, we had approximately 900 members.

"Each year a new President, and a new Board of Direc­tors, and an increased number of key volunteers expanded on the successes of those volunteers from the year before, building the Chamber into the vital organization it is today — entirely deserving of its excellent reputation.

"My work has been enjoyable, informative and the busiest of my professional life. I thank all members who responded to my many marketing calls. I leave an able Cheryl Thomson to take over many of my duties, and wish her and the Chamber continuing successes.

"I take away many friendships with members who were part of our many committee activities and special events. And I blame my super-talented and impressive boss, Diane Winston, for the many times I tried to retire. She made it very difficult to stop following her leadership — making me stay so long!

"Upon leaving I look forward to re-entering the Interior Design world from whence I came and worked for 25 years. I intend to offer design classes and consultation, networking with as many Chamber resources as possible, of course. But first, I will visit my eight grandchildren and hold tight those I can catch. The best of futures for all."

In honor of her service to the business promotion organization, a plaque was given to her at a special meeting of the chamber. 


 Norman Foxworth tells the story of how he first hired Betty

Carrying boxes during one of the three chamber re-locations

 Diane Winston's comments on Betty's retirement....

 Dear Betty,
Once in a while, some people are lucky enough to encounter a soulmate — a person temperamentally suited to another. You and 1 are so different from each other that, had it not been for the Chamber, I doubt we would have ever connected. And how fortunate lam — the Chamber is — that we did. Our mutual love for the job and mutual respect for each other kept us stimulated, productive, and on a constant mission to be newly creative. What a joy it has been to work with you and learn from you.

I will always appreciate your generosity, your sharing of insights into human behavior, your infectious humor, and your unfailing loyalty to the Chamber and me. Thank you.
Your Soulmate, Diane


Betty Drury passed away April 23, 2008 in LaGrange, Georgia, following a battle with cancer. She was 83 years of age. During her career, she had worked throughout the New Orleans, Covington, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast in a variety of capacities over the past decades, including Medical Technologist, Interior Designer, Marketing Director, and with the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce. 

According to her obituary, "She never met a stranger, and everyone who knew her instantly fell in love with her warmth and unique charm. Each and every one of her friends became family to her, and her love for them remained steadfast in her heart throughout her life. "