Celebrating the life of

Elizabeth (Bettye) Courtenay Morgan Derst

July 05, 1922 - April 16, 2020

Elizabeth (Bettye) Courtenay Morgan Derst

Elizabeth (Bettye) Courtenay Morgan Derst, 97, passed away Thursday, April 16, 2020 at home with her beloved family by her side. 

Mrs. Derst was a lifelong Savannahian, born July 5, 1922, to David Boston Morgan III and Ella Theo Courtenay. She graduated from Savannah High School and Armstrong Junior College, earning the Silver A Award. After graduation, she was a switchboard operator for the Chatham County Health Department, and later worked for the City of Savannah until the birth of her first child. 

On November 17, 1948, Bettye married Edward John Derst Jr. They were married for over 60 years until his death in 2009. Mrs. Derst was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. 

Mrs. Derst’s passion was her family’s genealogy, ensuring it lived on for future generations to know. She was Past Regent and a 57 year member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (Lachlan McIntosh Chapter). She served as Past President of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (Savannah Chapter #2). She was a member of the Colonial Dames XVII Century (Adam Brinson I Chapter), Magna Charta Dames and Barons, and Daughters of the American Colonists (St. John’s Parish Chapter). 

Mrs. Derst believed in giving back to her community. She especially enjoyed being a Pink Lady at St. Joseph’s Hospital with over 25,000 volunteer hours. She was member of St John’s Church. 

In addition to her parents, Mrs. Derst was preceded in death by her husband, Edward John Derst Jr. and her sister, Courtenay Morgan Griffin. 

Surviving are her sons: Edward John Derst III (Mildred Deal) and David Morgan Derst (Pamela Miltiades); daughter, Catherine Courtenay Derst Miller (George Edward Miller Jr.); eight grandchildren: Kelly JoAnne Derst Hoge, Edward John Derst IV, David Boston Derst, Linda Mackenzie Derst Brannen (Chandler), Elizabeth Morgan Derst Miller (Sean), Catherine Courtenay Miller Dufour (Brian), Elizabeth Courtenay Miller, and Dr. George Edward Miller III (Lisa); three great-grandchildren: Kyle Kirkham Hoge Jr., George Edward Miller IV, Josephine Isadora Miller, and one great-grandchild on the way; like a son Rev. Charles Michael Chastain (Joanne). 

The family of Mrs. Derst would like to give special thanks to her caregivers: Gwen Carbaugh, Lacrissa Quarterman, Lavonia Quarterman, Deloris Donaldson, Brenda Sams, and Betty Rouse for their devoted love and support.  

Due to the coronavirus, there was no visitation. A private graveside service was held for Mrs. Derst in Laurel Grove Cemetery on April 17, 202O, officiated by The Reverend Gavin G. Dunbar. 

Remembrances: Humane Society for Greater Savannah, 7215 Sallie Mood Dr, Savannah, GA 31406 or St John’s Church, 1 West Macon St., Savannah, GA 31404.





Thought and prayers are with the family

- Rusty Holt, Savannah, GA

A candle has been lit!

I am so sorry for your loss!! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this sad time.

- Lynn Odom, Savannah, Georgia

So sorry to hear of your loss. Your mother was such a sweet lady. My father Kelly Forther. Thought the world of all of you. I know you remember him well. Prayers for you all. Linda Fortner Ray

I'm so sorry to hear about Mrs. Derst. I have many nice memories of her from childhood at CAR and C of C and know she knew my mother (Mahla Lee) and grandmother Mahla Wilson) well. Thinking of you all at this sad time.

- Becky Lee West, Alpharetta, GA

Our deepest sympathies. Bestest, susan, jeany & kevin

- susan davis, Savannah, GA

The Doyle and Dorothy Mullis Family-Don, John, Alvin and Douglas send our condolences to the Derst Family for the loss of Miss Betty.

- Doyle "Don" Mullis, Savannsh, GA.

Deepest Sympathy to your families, Sincerely Skip and Linda VonWaldner

- Linda C VonWaldner, Savannah, Georgia

Sorry for your loss. You are in our prayers. I work at the Economy Store and I am Debra Daniels Sister. God Bless and keep you.

- Gloria Dukes, Savannah, GA

My thoughts and prayers are with the family doing this time of sorry.


Thoughts and Prayers. One of my favorite people!

- Joseph E Roberts, SAVANNAH, Georgia

My sincere condolences to the family. I remember Bettye from many years ago when I was a child in Bluffton and Bettye and Courtenay were teenage friends of my aunt, Elizabeth Heyward. My grandmother was Bettye’s aunt. I lived with my grandmother in her last few years and until her death in 1979 she kept up with “Ella’s girls” and passed the news on to me. I know they’re both in Heaven now catching up on the past forty years!

- Caroline Heyward Jenkins, Deland, FL

Condolences and prayers to you all.

- Dell G Smith, Midway, GA

A candle has been lit!

We wanted to share our sympathy with all the family at this difficult time. Please know we'll keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

- Ralph and Judi Woods, Savannah, GA

Edward and family So sorry to hear of your mom's passing. She lived a good life. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Love Chuck and Shirley

- Charles and Shirley Coleman, Ellabell, Ga

A candle has been lit!

Our deepest condolences to the Derst family.

- Claude and Ginger Shore, Savannah, Georgia

My condolences on the loss of your mother.

- Wendy Nelson Bolton, Richmond Hill, GA

She was such an amazing woman who loved her family and brought joy to so many. Your family has suffered a loss but know that heaven has gained an angel who will continue to look down with love.

- The Feus Family, Savannah, Ga

MrS. Derst will be remembered by her sincere kindness and devotion to Thinking of the Derst family with love.

- Alexis wallace, Morelandl, Ga

I remember your mom growing up as kid and she was so kind and loving. You are just like her Cathy. Prayers for your family at this time.

- Beth Brannen Cayce, Roswell, Georgia

Prayers and condolences for your family at this time of their grief. May God give you peace.

- Liz LeCour, Marietta , Ga.

I am praying for all her family and friends. I am thankful for our time we journeyed together on earth. Rest in peace dear friend. Brenda Sams

- Brenda Sams, Savannah , Georgia

Cathy and family - I am sorry to hear of your loss. Cathy, your mother was always such a kind, dignified and admirable woman. She presented herself in a way that we all could look up to with respect and she was a model to strive for in our own lives . Wishing you peace and good memories. Jennifer Whipple Whiddon

- Jennifer Whipple Whiddon, Dublin, GA

Love and prayers to the family. Many memories of your family when I lived on 51st Street. God bless you all.

- Frances Thomson Kennedy, Reidsville. (formerly from Savannah), Georgia

Cathy and Family, We are so sorry to hear about your mother's passing. Please know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

- Bill and Susan Hines, Seven Valleys, PA

Dear Cathy, I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.

- Betty Lynam, Cumming, GA

My deepest condolences on the loss of your Momma, Ed, Cathy, Morgan and family. I wished I could have been there to pay my respects. As our families were neighbors during my lifetime until I lost my own Mother, our family will always remember her with fondness and respect. May her memory be eternal Love you all, Crystal

- Crystal Anestos Nelson, Palm Coast, FL

A candle has been lit!

I am sorry for the families lost, someone so important and special in their life. I’ll be praying for you and the rest of your family. I am glad I had the pleasure of meeting your Mom.


Was so sorry to hear Gavin announce Mrs. Derst's death in Church via live feed. I am thinking of all of you and praying you are comforted in her final rest. I also pray and hope that you all stay well.

- Anne Heyward Mingledorff, Savannah, GA

Dear Ed and family, I am so sorry about your mother. Thoughts and prayers for all the Dersts. Diane, CARSON and HAYES Myrick

- Diane Myrick, Savannah, Ga

Edward and Morgan, I'm so sorry for your loss. You have my deepest sympathy. Cynthia harden

- Cynthia harden, Savannah, GA-Georgia

Our deepest sympathy to the Derst family.

- Fred and Taffy Douglas, Savannah , GA

My thoughts and prayers are with the Derst family. She was a beautiful lady.

- Anne Byerly , Savannah, Ga

Cathy and family, please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother. She was a very sweet and lovely lady whose influence was passed on to her children, grandchildren, and others who had met her. You and your family are in my heart, thoughts and prayers during this time.

- Donna R Brown, Lawrenceville, GA

Services under the direction of:

Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel

  • Services Will Be Private