Betty Gonzalez Vest

January 21, 1927 ~ May 12, 2020 (age 93)


Betty Gonzalez Vest 93, of Kingsport, passed away peacefully Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at home with family after a recent decline in health. She was born in Etowah, Tennessee, and when she was seven the family moved to Kingsport because her father had secured a job with the newly formed company, Tennessee Eastman. Betty called Kingsport home for the rest of her life except for the last three months of declining health.

While attending Hiwassee College in the 1940s, Betty met her future husband Rolando Gonzalez. Marrying immediately upon graduation, they made Kingsport their home. As a young woman, Betty worked for the old Kingsport newspaper located on Market Street, until 1959, when she and Rolando started a family.  She had always wanted to be a teacher, so she obtained her teaching degree a bit later in life than most.  Despite only teaching for twenty three years, Betty had a wonderful career and was beloved by students and parents alike.  She taught first and fourth grades at Central Heights Elementary School in Blountville, from 1969 until retiring in 1992.  She loved teaching and children all wanted to be in her class because she made learning fun. 

Betty had a gentle spirit and was known for her beautiful smile and generous heart, always looking to help others.  She loved playing Dominoes with her special group of friends, "The Domino Darlin's".  They all enjoyed many hours of fun, food, and laughter over the years of playing around her kitchen table.  Betty loved her two rescue "Granddogs" dearly, and they could usually be found sitting in her lap at any given time.

After the death of Rolando, Betty was fortunate to find love once again and married Leon Vest of Kingsport.  They enjoyed their twilight years visiting with family and traveling. 

Betty is preceded in death by parents, Manuel and Nora McDougald; sister, Nell Nichols; and husbands, Rolando Gonzalez and Leon Vest. 

She is survived by daughter, Felina Justin and husband Kevin; three special nephews; two nieces and their families; and four step children and their families. 

On Tuesday May 19 at 1:00, a small outdoor service will be held in the covered Portico at East Lawn Memorial Park in Kingsport.  Friends are welcome to come but we have been asked to practice social distancing at this outdoor service for those who choose to come.  Pastor Tim Hodges will officiate.  Feel free to share a fond or funny memory during this time.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Luke United Methodist Church, 2600 E. Center Street, Kingsport TN 37664. 

Written condolences may be sent to Felina Justin, P.O. Box 242, Woodleaf, NC 27054.  You may leave an online condolence for the family at

A special thank you to the caregivers of Ballad Hospice in Kingsport, and Novant Hospice in Salisbury, NC.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Betty Gonzalez Vest, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
May 19, 2020

1:00 PM
East Lawn Memorial Park
4997 Memorial Blvd.
Kingsport, TN 37664

© 2020 Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA