Thomas Betts

Thomas Betts


The Life of Thomas Betts

Born in Blue Island, Illinois on November 11th, 1953, as the second child to Dorothy and Herbert Betts and the brother to Herbie, Suzie, and Debbie Betts, his mother always described Tommy as a smiley, happy baby with a sweet and curious spirit. From the time he was small, he enjoyed entertaining everyone around him with his particular sense of humor and rambunctious, yet charming personality. Tommy was an artist, quickly taking to the pen and paper when it came to sketching, writing poetry, enjoying music and dance with his friends and family, dabbling in photography and radio building, throwing himself into gymnastics, or turning to the theatre where he could lose himself on the stage and imagine adventuring beyond his own adolescent town of Arlington Heights.

He was accepted to Illinois State University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration & Political Science, and later would attend the University of Chicago for Project Management. He enjoyed singing, and film-making, and was even a self-taught drummer, continuing to enjoy the pleasures of life with little to no abandon. As he grew older, he channeled his passions further into construction management. Through this, he was able to indulge his love for travel, and in 1999, he was blessed with a beautiful daughter, Shaolynn, with his first wife, Rong Rong, after meeting in Shanghai, China.

He would continue his career in construction management for many years with companies such as K.Hovnanian Corp, MEP Design and Engineering, and Kane Construction on a variety of projects in the retail and residential space, working for Pulte Homes in 2016 building clubhouses for major subdivision developments, and eventually finding his way to Georgetown where he met his lovely current wife, Zula. They would later remarry in 2018, creating a life filled with fun, kindness, happiness, and love. Together, they would gain another blessed addition to his family: his stepdaughter, Shuree. As he continued his career, he would leave behind a legacy stretching from the Shanghai Center, to the Los Angeles Unified School District, and finally to Washington D.C., choosing to reside in one of his crowning achievements in the building known as Cameron Station in Alexandria, Virginia. His final project would be for a D.C. nonprofit known as So Others Might Eat (SOME), a 139-unit supportive housing development located at 1515 North Capitol Street. It was completed in 2023.

Tommy would enjoy his free time attending concerts, skiing, playing golf with his wife, and remaining as active and free-spirited as possible, acting as an entertainer amongst his friends and family and always making them laugh. He enjoyed living in the present until his final days, drinking with friends and enjoying wonderful dinners together, watching dynamic action movies or living it up backstage at concert venues, and spending countless nights with loved ones. Tommy was also a spiritual man, having grown up in the Christian faith and placing his trust in God as he continued throughout his life. He was grateful for the opportunities that were provided for him through difficult times and blessed times alike, humbled by the grace of God and always there to declare that He was the most important part of his life, grateful for the support and love from his sisters, daughters, and wife.

He is survived by his wife, Altanzul B. Betts, his daughter, Shaolynn M.C. Betts, and his stepdaughter, Shuree Batbold.

Offer Condolence for the family of Thomas Betts


Cunningham Turch Funeral Home

811 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314


10:00am - 11:00am

Celebration of Life

Cunningham Turch Funeral Home

811 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314


11:00am - 12:00pm


Bethel Cemetery

1300 Wilkes Street, Alexandria, VA 22314


1:00pm -

Condolence Messages

  1. Suzanne Betts says:

    My precious brother Tommy, it’s been 3 weeks today since I witnessed you take your last breath this side of Heaven, I was in shock, to say the least. My grief and loss so great. I remember you daily and keep a candle burning in your name. We have shared some of the most unbelievable events over the years, deep conversations until the wee hours of the morning. Dancing until dawn, singing our hearts out in the car, Indonesia with you eating rocks!!! We had our fair share of disagreements too, over your responsibilities, personal opinions, and even the deepest things of God. But in the end, watching you go, I knew you were finally at peace with all of it. I love you, I am proud of you, I am blessed to know you, the crazy, talented, challenging, zany YOU. I pray you’re settling in, entertaining everyone with your humorous disposition. Give Momma and Daddy BIG HUGS. You are truly missed. I love you Tommy….Be at peace, Your sister, Suzie.

  2. Don Evans says:

    My sympathy to Tom’s wife and daughters, and to his brother and sisters.

  3. Sara Thiel says:

    We love and miss you Uncle Tommy!! I will always remember your charisma and love for/of life. You were and always will be one of a kind 💙

    Thoughts and prayers today and always for Zula, Shaolynn, and Shuree as well as for your siblings, Herb (Dad), Suzie, and Debbie.

    Love you always 💙
    Rest in peace

  4. Herb Betts says:

    I will miss my brother he will always be in my heart
    My prayers are with his family

  5. Lynda E Evans says:

    My heartfelt condolences go out to Tom’s wife, Zula, and his daughters, as well as all the members of his immediate family – Herb, Suzie and Debbie – on the loss of someone with so much to offer gone too soon. He was a man of many talents and a free spirit to say the least. His memory will live on in the hearts and minds of many, including mine. Rest in peace, dear Tom!

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