Bettie Marie Speck


Bettie Marie Speck, Fairhope, Alabama, died peacefully Apr. 27, 2024, the result of a bad fall and concussion. She was born January 17, 1935, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to James Blanton and Ida Orall Harris.

Bettie was a graduate of Southport High School. She worked as an executive secretary and office manager for a number of businesses and doctors’ offices, finishing her career at the Mobile Housing Board. She was an accomplished pianist and organist, playing at church services, weddings, and funerals for much of her life. Bettie was a member of St. James Episcopal Church, where she assisted in the office, sang in the choir, and occasionally played organ. She finished her music career as the organist for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Magnolia Springs.

She and her husband William Speck were married Oct. 19, 2002, at St. Paul’s. Bettie loved to dance, walk the pier in Fairhope, have lunch with her many friends, plant flowers, and feed birds.

She is preceded in death by her parents; her brother, James Robert; sister, Frieda Evangeline, her husband and father of her children, Roderick P. Pennell, Jr.; and second husband, Vincent J. Caleskie.

Surviving family members include her husband, Bill; her sons, James R. (Greta) Pennell and Don R. Pennell; her daughter, Celia Marie Baker; grandchildren, Cara (Steven) Meadows, Stephanie (Lewis) Perrine, and Rainbow Pennell; five great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.

A celebration of life was held Tues., May 7, 2024, in Fairhope, at St. James Episcopal Church in the chapel at 4:30 PM, followed by a reception at 5:00 PM in Green Hall.

A graveside service will be held at Mount Vernon United Methodist Church Cemetery, in Bethpage, Tennessee, Mon., May 13, 2024, at 1:00 PM, where Bettie will be buried next to her parents and siblings.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the St. James Episcopal Church Concert Series at  Please note that the donation is for the “Concert Series in Memory of Bettie Speck.” Hughes Funeral Home, Daphne, AL, is assisting the family.