Elizabeth Ann ‘Bette’ Cooney Chiampou, 92, had a contagious passion for treating others with kindness

Elizabeth Ann 'Bette' Cooney Chiampou
Elizabeth Ann ‘Bette’ Cooney Chiampou

A vibrant conversationalist, avid reader and wise counselor to many in need of a friend, Elizabeth Ann “Bette” Cooney Chiampou, 92, passed away peacefully the morning of Monday, June 10, 2019, in Virginia Beach, surrounded by family.

Bette was deeply devoted to the Roman Catholic faith. She grieved for her beloved husband of 67 years, Ken, who passed away in December. Bette and Ken retired to Vista Plantation in Vero Beach, Florida, where she enjoyed golf, bridge, the theatre, swimming in the ocean, volunteering as a math tutor and many lively chats with friends and fellow book lovers in her book club. She loved fiction and Impressionist art.

Bette was also preceded in death by her son, Daniel; parents, Catherine and Daniel Cooney; and cherished siblings, Catherine, Daniel and Francis.

A wonderful wife, mother and friend, she is survived by six children, Lisa, Charles (Sandy), Claire (Eric), Kenneth (Craig), Gregory and Katie (Brian). She treasured her nine grandchildren, Madeline (Chris) Charlie (Tobi), Emma (Mark), Emily (James), Maggie (Brian), Glenn (Genevieve), Elizabeth, Jenna and Ally; and four great-grandchildren, Louise, Ted, Grace and Norrine. Mom, Momma B., Gramby, Gramma B. always had time for each and every one of them and will be greatly missed.

An intellectual who happened to be a lot of fun, Bette could easily delve into the deep mysteries of life with you, review a new Broadway play, relax on the beach with family or act out the dog’s antics in spectacular, funny detail. She had a contagious passion for treating others kindly and encouraging love and faith.

Born in Brooklyn New York, Bette graduated from Saint Joseph’s College and was a longtime high school math teacher on Long Island. She said math was like music to her and a way to apply her “leap of faith principle.” Her teaching career was preceded by a life on the stage.

She enjoyed acting during college and later in summer stock around the country. She often danced in the kitchen while cooking, a dishtowel thrown over her shoulder, humming the big-band song playing on the radio nearby or simply in her head! For many years, Bette taught Confraternity of Christian Doctrine at St. Patrick’s in Bay Shore, New York, and was a lector, both there and at St. John of The Cross in Vero Beach. She also worked on St. Patrick’s The Parishioner newsletter and volunteered in the FISH program, helping needy families. Mom believed the world was framed by the hand of God and all one had to do was go out and discover His limits. She was a free spirit in her own way and encouraged her children to embrace challenges and also “discover” what the world had to offer.

A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, June 13, at Rosewood-Kellum Funeral Home, 601 N. Witchduck Road, Virginia Beach. A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m., Friday, June 14, at Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 5345 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the sisters of St. Francis of Assisi or St. Joseph College.

Share online condolences with the family at Rosewood-Kellum Funeral Home.

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