Obituary of Betty McGovern
Betty E. McGovern, 80, of Tracy City, Tenn, passed away on June 13, 2018. She died
peacefully at the hospital in Sewanee with family by her side.
Betty is survived by her daughter, Kelly Held and son-in-law, Bob Held of Marietta, Georgia; her
son, Keith McCeney and daughter-in-law Janese McCeney of Franklin, Tennessee; and by her
grandchildren Elliott McCeney, Christopher Held and his wife Hannah, Caleb McCeney, and
Betty was born Betty W. Elliott on her parents farm in Tracy City. She loved that farm, the
mountain, and the people that lived on the Cumberland Plateau. She was fortunate to be able
to live out her days on that very same farm. In between, she lived a full life and touched many
After graduation from Grundy High School, where she excelled as both a student and an
athlete, Betty attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she met her first
husband, Benjamin McCeney of Silver Spring, Maryland. Together, they raised two children,
Kelly and Keith. Betty earned her Bachelor’s degree in teaching from MTSU and then spent a
career teaching elementary school in Maryland.
During her time in Maryland, in addition to her teaching and raising Kelly and Keith, she loved
being involved in community theater and traveling.
In the early 1980’s, after her first marriage ended, Betty was lucky enough to be reunited with
her high school sweetheart, Bill McGovern. Though their initial paths in life had taken them in
different and satisfying directions, they rediscovered their bond and their love. They were
married in January of 1985. Although Betty had always been a warm, happy, and gracious
person, her family had never seen her happier than when she married Bill and began that
chapter of her life.
Not only did Betty and Bill share a love of each other, they shared an intense love of Grundy
County and the mountain they grew up on. They were able to fulfill a dream and move back up
to the Elliott farm in 1990. Tragically, we lost Bill in 1992, but Betty was able to stay on her farm
and would do so for the rest of her life.
While living here, Betty renewed old friendships and found many, many new ones. Those
friendships were dear to her and only strengthened her bond with this mountain and it’s
Typically for Betty, her love of and bond with this mountain and its communities led to action.
She worked with the Arts Council, Adult Education, the Tracy City Business Bureau, and the
Grundy County Historical Society, as well as numerous activities in Sewanee.
Betty will be heartfully missed by all of us whose lives she touched, but she leaves us all better
for having known and loved her, and she leaves each of us with our own sweet and comforting
memories of her.
Services will be held at Cumberland Funeral Home in Monteagle, Tennessee on Tuesday, June
19th. Visitation will be from 1 pm until 3 pm and a memorial service will be held at 3 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that friends consider making a donation to the Grundy
County Historical Society, one of Betty’s favorite of her many projects. Their website is
Cumberland Funeral Home
207 Mabee Avenue
Monteagle, Tennessee 37356
Phone: (931) 924-2381
Fax: (931) 924-2354
Foster & Lay Chapel
96 Clair Street
Tracy City, Tennessee 37387
Phone: (931) 592-3691
Fax: (931) 592-4500