Munsell, Betty Jane


On Friday May 5, Betty Jane Munsell, 68, peacefully left this earth in Blacksburg. She was a beloved matriarch, educator, musician and beautiful soul that will be dearly missed by her sisters, children, grandchildren, other family and many friends.

Jane was born on March 6, 1949 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She spent most of her childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana before moving to Jackson, Mississippi where she graduated from Callaway High School in 1967.

She attended the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Music which set in motion her remarkable career as a public and private music teacher, choral director, and vocal performer.

She was a military spouse for most of the 1970s, living in Georgia, Florida, California, Japan, and Virginia before settling in Starkville, Mississippi and beginning a 30-year teaching career with public schools.

In 1985, Jane moved to Millington, Tennessee and continued teaching music in the Shelby County School System until her retirement in 2012. During her career, she completed two Masters, one in Administration and one in Education from Bethel University and was the lead administrator for music education in Shelby County.

Jane was also a member of First United Methodist Church in Millington where she served as Director of Music Ministry for 20 years. In 2016, she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia and eventually Blacksburg to be with her children and grandchildren.

In addition to her music career, she was an avid reader, lover of theatre and musical productions, artist and craftsperson, skilled decorator, and a top-to-bottom personable individual that made fast friends and brightened a room wherever she went. Jane is preceded in death by her parents Jimmie and Gerry Thompson of Jackson, Mississippi. Surviving to steward her memory and spirit are two loving sisters, Marsha Monroe of Irmo, South Carolina and Anne Fox of Bartlett, Tennessee, her children John Munsell of Blacksburg, Virginia, Scott Munsell of Nashville, Tennessee, and Megan Klenk of Charlottesville, Virginia, and grandchildren, Owen and Charlotte Munsell of Blacksburg, Virginia, Andrew and Luke Baravik of Nashville, Tennessee, and Heidi and Adler Klenk of Charlottesville, Virginia. Also surviving are two daughters-in-law, Erin Sullivan Munsell and Erica Baravik-Munsell, son-in-law Jesse Klenk, and many nieces and nephews and their children.

For all that knew and loved Jane, we invite you to join the family in celebrating her life at 6 p.m. today at the First United Methodist Church at 8029 Wilkinsville, Road in Millington, Tennessee.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in Jane’s name to the music ministry at First United Methodist Church of Millington.