Cover photo for Betty Heiby's Obituary
Betty Heiby Profile Photo

Betty Heiby

Betty or Betty Lou as she was known as down south, was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. As the youngest of three sisters, she was spoiled by her family, especially her father who often took her to the French Quarter on his Saturday afternoons off from work. She loved riding the street cars, attending Mardi Gras parades, enjoying French Quarter Beignets, Chicory coffee, Muffuletta and Po’ boys and visiting the levee to gaze at the ships on the Mississippi River.

During World War II, she went to work for the War Department in New Orleans. After the war she took a job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). At a dance, she met the love of her life, Ernie Heiby, who followed her home on the street car so that he could find out where she lived. In 1950 they married. Almost immediately afterwards, they drove to the D.C. area in his new Studebaker where they both took federal government jobs—in her case still with the USDA. They eventually settled in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, where they built their home in 1965.
In December 1963 Betty and Ernie adopted two boys – David who was 4, and Paul who was 3 – from the Presbyterian orphanage in Lynchburg, VA and she left the federal workforce to be a full-time mother.

While raising her sons, she took up art, a passion since a young girl, and attended classes at The Art League of Alexandria, The YMCA and later at the Northern Virginia Community College. Her drawings and paintings won numerous awards and she often exhibited at shows and was hired to paint pieces for government agencies, businesses and friends. Still life and landscapes were her specialties with scenes of her beloved New Orleans or of her church, The Old Presbyterian Meeting House, where she was a member for over 63 years, among her favorite subjects.

As her sons grew older, she returned to the federal work force at the Defense Supply Agency (now DLA) which was then located at Cameron Station in Alexandria. While there, she earned several commendations and awards. She retired from the government with a total of 35 years of service to care for Ernie, who was struggling with Parkinson’s Disease.

They took numerous trips together around the country until the disease robbed him of his ability to travel. Her devotion, care and love of him was evident to all who met them during his illness.

After Ernie passed away in 2002, she spent time visiting and hosting friends and family. The last six years of her life, due to declining health, she lived in her home with a caregiver, Maggie Ford, and they became best of friends.

Betty passed away in her sleep on January 25th, just two months shy of her 93rd birthday. She is survived by numerous relatives in New Orleans and Hammond, LA and in Ohio and Indiana, where Ernie was from; her two sons, David and Paul, their wives Christine and Tina, two grandchildren Amy and Adam, and of course, Maggie!

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Betty Heiby, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, February 1, 2018

10:30 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Old Presbyterian Cemetery

Alexandria, VA

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Celebration of Life

Thursday, February 1, 2018

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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