Betty Jo McBride Franklin Smith

Betty Jo McBride Franklin Smith, 96, of Bradenton, passed away on January 12, 2023.

Left to cherish her memory are daughters Judy McMullen (John) and Jane Muckenthaler (Jim), grandchildren Laird McMullen (Robyn), Glenne Wortham (Jason), Lauren Gibbons (Ken), Lindsey Jackson (Brian), James Muckenthaler (Nicole) and Bryan Muckenthaler; and 14 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her beloved sister, Ruth Fortney of Bradenton, many nieces and nephews and was close to her 2nd husband’s grandson, Jason Amerson (Erica) and their 2 sons. Betty was predeceased by her parents Vienna and Walter McBride and husbands Glenn Franklin and Derelle Smith.

Betty was born in Tampa on July 21, 1926, and lived in Seminole Heights until her family moved to Bradenton when she was 11 years old. Betty started singing on the radio when she was about 4 years old. Radio station WMBR broadcasting from the Floridan Hotel in downtown Tampa, hosted a Children’s Hour talent program every Saturday morning at 11:00 am. Betty sang on the program, entered talent shows and said, "Sometimes I won!" The first song Betty sang on the radio was Jesus Loves Me. In addition to the radio performances, Betty, also was a tap dancer, was part of a children’s troupe singing regularly at movie theaters and civic organizations around town. The theaters were packed with relatives who came to watch and support the children so the performances helped generate business during the Depression years.

Betty graduated from Bradenton High School in 1944. After completing her freshman year at Florida State (FSCW), Betty and several of her college friends and became stewardesses with National Airlines. She was based in Miami, met and married Glenn Franklin in 1947. Glenn was in the insurance business and they followed his career eventually settling in Pompano Beach, FL.

Betty was widowed at a young age and with 2 daughters to raise she returned to college and graduated from the University of Florida in 1972. Always a huge Gator fan, Betty remained in Gainesville after graduation and worked in the Career Placement Office at U of F. In 1978, Betty moved back to Tampa to be closer to family and advanced her career becoming Assistant Director of USF’s Placement Office.

After Betty retired, she reacquainted with former classmate, Derelle Smith, whose wife had passed away. Betty grew up only a few blocks from Derelle and though she visited Bradenton often especially as her parents aged, their paths never crossed in over 44 years! Thus, began a 4-year courtship. Betty and Derelle were in their late 60’s by this time but they didn’t want to rush things. They married in 1995 and Betty once again moved to Bradenton where Derelle had always lived.

A Memorial Service, celebrating Betty’s life, will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2023, at 11:00 am First United Methodist Church. 

To honor Betty, please consider a donation to First United Methodist Church 603 11th St. W. Bradenton, FL 34205.