Robbie Bettis was known as “the scarecrow queen” and so much more to the residents of her beloved Hoschton and Braselton.
Her death at 68 years old on Monday, April 13, “was a real, real loss to this whole area,” said her lifelong, close friend, Martha Martin, on Wednesday, April 15.
A memorial service for Bettis, who was also the owner of the Braselton Antique Mall, has been scheduled for Aug. 1 at Lawson Funeral Home Chapel in Hoschton, “if all this (coronavirus pandemic) has gone away by then,” Martin said.
If so, the date is fitting, as it falls on Bettis’ birthday.
A longtime teacher, she also had a passion for history and the arts, starting the Hoschton Heritage Arts Council.
“She had such an insight to things,” Martin said. “She could just come up with all kinds of ideas.”
One of her most notable efforts was an attempt to break a world record for the most scarecrows in one area.
With more than 5,000 homemade scarecrows scattered across town in 2008, she had beaten the previous record of 3,314 in Cincinnati, but fell short of the goal because Bettis wasn’t told they “all needed to be in one place,” Martin said.
Another attempt was made several years ago, “but it was just hard to come up with enough numbers,” she said.
“She wanted to make Hoschton the scarecrow capital of the world,” Martin said.
Jennifer Scott, Braselton town manager, also spoke highly of Bettis, noting that she had started her antique business “when our downtown didn’t really have anything else.”
“She was involved in festival planning, the redevelopment of our downtown and Jackson County politics since before I started working for Braselton in 1997,” Scott said in an email. “She was a doer and a volunteer for almost everything that went on in West Jackson County. She will be greatly missed.”