Bettye Medlock Wiggins, 93: Fourth generation Atlantan

All Bettye Medlock Wigginshad to do was travel a few metro Atlanta roads to glean a sense of family history.

DeKalb County's Medlock Elementary was named in honor of her grandfather, the late William Parks Medlock. Other spin-offs from the family name include Medlock Road -- part of an intersection in Decatur that includes Scott Boulevard and North Decatur Rd. -  and the Medlock Shopping Plaza.

In Gwinnett County, Medlock Bridge Road in Duluth was named for Mrs. Wiggins' great uncle, the late Robert Medlock. Back in the day, he operated a ferry and charged customers a nickel to cross the Chattahoochee River.

Mrs. Wiggins was born in the area around the Medlock school, one of eight children to James Wade and Myrtice Wilson Medlock . She was a fourth generation Atlantan, the great-grand daughter of Atlanta pioneer families such as the Medlocks and the Wilsons.

Through the years, she hosted numerous family reunions and gatherings when she lived in Lithonia and Snellville. Four years ago when she moved to Clairmont Oaks, an independent living facility in Decatur, good times didn't cease.

"She was the most gregarious person," said nephew Wade Medlock of Clarkston. "She had a grin a mile wide, was loud and loved a good joke. She was always ready for a great party. Always. We even had reunions at Clairmont Oaks."

Two months ago, Vilenah Elizabeth Medlock Wiggins was diagnosed with abdominal cancer. She died Friday from complications of the disease at her home in Clairmont Oaks. She was 93.  Her funeral will be 1 p.m. Tuesdayat A.S. Turner & Sons, which is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Wiggins graduated from Commercial High School and made her mark in the insurance industry. She worked for the Dan McIntyre insurance agency on Piedmont Avenue and bought the company after his retirement. She and a partner renamed the business Pryles-Wiggins Insurance Agency and relocated to Briarcliff Road.

When she retired from the insurance business, she worked at Emory University doing administrative work.  Mrs. Wiggins was married twice -- to the late J.T. McDonald and Walter Wiggins.

In 1996, the Waffle House lover served as an official greeter for the Summer Olympic Games held in Atlanta, said a niece, Jane Disbrow of Cumming.

"They gave her an outfit to wear that was inappropriate for someone her age," she said. "So they just told her to wear some slacks."

Mrs. Wiggins traveled extensively and once flew to Las Vegas to see an Elvis Presley performance. She enjoyed growing flowers and dressed in bright colors paired with lots of jewelry. She took interest in what others wore, too, but not to criticize.

"She noticed jewelry, a blouse or your hair," her niece said. "People were drawn to her. She wasn't president of IBM or anything, but what made her unique was her personality. She was a character like that."

Additional survivors include a brother, Thomas Wesley Medlock of Atlanta; a daughter, Sue McDonald Thompson of Conyers; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.