Floral 09
Official Obituary of

Bettie Jo Speights-Sabb

March 20, 1941 ~ February 19, 2024 (age 82) 82 Years Old


Bettie Jo Speights-Sabb was born on March 20, 1941 in Kingstree, South Carolina.  She was the daughter to George McCrae and Josephine Cooper.  She was raised on a 69-acre farm that her family owned in which they grew cotton, tobacco, and fresh fruits and vegetables.  This farm would eventually be bequeathed to her, and she was happy having that ownership. The farm had cows, pigs, horses, and an array of other animals.  Bettie had a cousin who was like a mother figure named Annie Speights who was instrumental in her well-rounded upbringing who Bettie’s children affectionately called “Grandma Iya.” During her childhood, Bettie was given the option to do household chores rather than work in the field on the family farm.  It was during this time at the age of 9 that Bettie would learn how to cook and prepare many of the family meals and evolve into the great cook that everyone knew her to be.  She attended Tomlinson High School in Kingstree where she was a high achieving student who would participate in theater productions at her school.  She relocated to Brooklyn, New York shortly after graduating from high school.

She worked at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York in various positions.  While working there, a nurse introduced her to Freddie Sabb, as he was the brother of the nurse.  Freddie and Bettie had an immediate interest in each other, and they would enjoy 55 years of marriage after a 5-year lavish courtship. Bettie made a career change and began working for the New York City Department of Health at various locations before eventually working for over 25 years at the location on Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn.  She was an Executive there for the remainder of her career before her retirement in June of 1998.  She would enjoy many accolades and accomplishments associated with her career with the New York City Department of Health, which included becoming the employee of the month for all 5 New York City Boroughs in December of 1990.  Immediately after retiring, she and her husband moved into their dream home built in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Bettie was a loyal and dedicated member of The First Baptist Church of Crown Heights while living in Brooklyn, as well as a member of Wake Chapel Church in Raleigh.  She was known as the “Prayer Warrior” among family and friends, and many knew her for her powerful and moving prayers.  In addition, she was known for her positive words, being a source of inspiration, being a great listener, as well as having a kind spirit and the Gift of Vision from God. 

Bettie had a love for cooking and entertaining at her homes in Brooklyn and Raleigh. Her and Fred’s homes were often the spot for countless luncheons, cookouts, and dinner parties through the years, as she enjoyed throwing fabulous, festive events.  She was known to be a great gourmet cook by hobby, as well as a great baker, as many would purchase her famous cheesecakes.

Bettie always put her family first.  She had a close-knit family both immediate and extended.  Although she had 2 daughters, her grandson, Michael, was always the apple of her eye and her heart.  She and her grandson had a unique and special bond since the day that she witnessed his birth 32 years ago.  Her husband, Freddie, always treated her like the Queen that she was. Her daughter, Charlene, often lovingly referred to her as “Queen.”  She enjoyed extensive traveling, and she was an international traveler along with her husband.  She loved to dress in designer fashions from head to toe, as well as getting her hair and nails done on a regular basis.  She was known to be a very avid and serious shopper.  She loved to decorate her homes, and she had a keen eye and knack for interior decorating. 

She is survived by her husband, Freddie Sabb; her daughters, Beverly Speights and Charlene Sabb; her grandson, Michael Sabb; her great-granddaughter, Chyna White; her sister, Georgia Mae Green, along with a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

Wake:  6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Tuesday, February 27, 2024 at Lea Funeral Home Chapel, 2500 Poole Road, Raleigh, NC.

Interment:  12:00 PM, Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetery, Goldsboro, NC.

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February 27, 2024

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Lea Funeral Home Chapel
2500 Poole Road
Raleigh, NC 27610


Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetery
164 Longs Plant Rd.
Goldsboro, NC 27534


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