Bettie Weir McEwen was a well-recognized and well- respected female business executive during the time when few women held that role. In one of her first leadership positions, she served as president and treasurer of the McEwen Funeral Home in Mint Hill, NC. She became president of McEwen funeral service when her father died in 1953, and she held that position until her retirement in 1980.
Born December 31, 1921 to Minnie Bell Mann McEwen and Carl Johnson McEwen and the youngest of their four girls, Bettie was very active in the life of the Mint Hill community and especially in the business, civic, and religious activity of the town. Bettie attended Bain Academy where she was a basketball star. She attended Peace College and left to enlist in the Women’s Army Corps, serving in World War II from 1943-46. As a member of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church she served as the first female deacon and the church treasurer.
Bettie was a true philanthropist, using her time, resources, and talents to assist others. She served on the Board of Directors of Charlotte Memorial Hospital, (now Carolinas Medical Center), and she served on the advisory board for insurance companies and on a study commission for the North Carolina Burial Association. Bettie was a founding member of “Good Friends,” a charitable organization that meets annually to raise funds for the Charlotte community. She was a member of the Metropolitan Business and Professional Women’s club (MBPW), and she was active in establishing the Mint Hill Business Association. She was named “Outstanding Charlotte Working Woman” by the Chamber of Commerce.
It was through her association with a business woman’s organization Altrusa International Club that she met Miss Bonnie Cone. Bettie became a founding patron of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She encouraged her family members to establish the Mr. and Mrs. Carl J. McEwen scholarships at UNC Charlotte in memory of her parents. In Bettie’s honor and for more than 50 years of service to the Altrusa International Club, the Club established the Bettie Weir McEwen Altrusa endowed scholarship in 2009.
Bettie was best at recognizing when others needed assistance. She often silently gave a boost without any personal recognition; she was a friend to many. Bettie assisted students who would not otherwise have had an opportunity to attend the university. Her desire was for students to earn a degree to improve their chances of making a better life for themselves and their families. Through her generosity, Bettie helped many adult, nontraditional students to achieve their academic goals.