Betty Jean Garland's musical talent was something that came naturally to her, those who knew her said.
The Langley native taught herself to play piano. She was so good by the time she turned 11 that her church, Langley Pentecostal Holiness Church, asked her to be their full-time pianist.
Music was a career she wouldn't leave behind. She and her first husband, Arthur "Red" Ingle, formed a gospel group in 1970 and took their act and their children on the road soon after.
"I remember riding in the back of an old station wagon," her daughter Susan Overcash said. "We played all over. We played at churches of all religions, anywhere they booked us."
Mrs. Garland, 68, died Monday. The funeral was Friday at Langley Pentecostal Holiness Church, with burial in Langley Cemetery.
Mrs. Garland filled in at other local churches and sang at funerals. It was something she took seriously.
"I remember she called me one time looking for a certain song that a family had asked her to sing at a funeral," said the Rev. Gene Brown, pastor of Langley Pentecostal Holiness Church. "She was about to worry herself sick because she couldn't find it. She knew that song meant something to that family."
Mrs. Garland was rarely paid for her talents. She did it out of the kindness of her heart, the Rev. Brown said.
"I like to find the good in people," he said. "But Betty Jean was an extraordinary person."
Other survivors include her husband, Eugene Garland; two sons, Gary Ingle and Mark Ingle; a daughter, Donna Daniels Boone; a stepson, Chris Garland; two brothers, Felix Lawton Busbee Jr. and Raymond Busbee; three sisters, Thelma Hughes, Margie Myers and Rachel Strang; seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Hatcher Funeral Home, Langley, is in charge of arrangements.
Reach Jennifer Hilliard at (706) 823-3220 or email@example.com.