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Elizabeth “Betty” Jean Pruden Shannon

Elizabeth “Betty” Jean Pruden Shannon

Elizabeth “Betty” Jean Pruden Shannon passed away Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Jonesboro, at 88 years of age.

She was born Nov. 3, 1923, in Davenport, Iowa, to Lester Pruden and Maria Pelligrini Pruden. Betty received her high school degree from Davenport’s Immaculate Conception High School in 1942.

While still very young, she trained diligently in dance and voice. She was well-known by all in her convent school for her inspiring soprano solos during mass. Due to her dedicated training, her dancing ability became equally well-known, and she was often sought after by professional dance instructors to demonstrate the latest dance steps.

On July 14, 1944, she married William E. Shannon, Sr., a WWII Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross veteran. During their 39-year marriage, they traveled extensively as a result of his military service. In support of her husband, Betty participated actively in the Officer’s Wives Club in Panama, Washington, D.C., and Germany, among other places. All along, despite 42 transfers and moves, she managed to raise 7 children, all of whom benefited from her strength and determination. She successfully encouraged all of her children to seek higher education and wanted each to have the best opportunities in life. She was a much-respected and beloved wife and mother, always looking for the best in those around her. She is sorely missed.  

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Col. William E. Shannon, Sr.; her daughter, Therese Jean Clark; her brother, Allen Pruden, and her grandson, Caleb Matthew Shannon. She is survived by her children, Patricia Shannon, William E.Shannon, Jr., Michael Shannon, Virginia Barlow, Elizabeth Sarnie, and Kathleen Shannon; her brother, Robert Pruden, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Service and Mass will be held Friday, March 16, at 10 a.m., at St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church in Jonesboro, the church where she had been a member for more than 35 years. A gathering of friends and family will follow the service at the church hall next door. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, the American Heart Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, or the Jonesboro Humane Society.