Betty Jane Waltlen Petree Bright

I have spent my whole life in Midland! I was born at the old Western Clinic. My Dad, E.J.
Walden, was also born in Midland in 1913. My Grandmother and her family came here in 1898.
I love Midland, but have often wondered what it would be like to live somewhere else.


Attended North Elementary, Sam Houston, San Jacinto, and Midland High.
I grew up at 725 W. Louisiana, which was directly across the street from the Pepto Bismol
house. However, at that time it was white with either dark brown or black trim. The people who
lived there then were the McGee’s. Down the block lived Patsy Aday, Von Dean Herrien,
Charles Giesey, Tony Logsdon, Lidge Turner, Allen Hitchcock, and Hope Russell. To the north
of Louisiana were Ruth Ann Erskine, Margaret and Mike Scobey, Shirley and Sharon Watts, and
probably more that I don’t remember.


I married Jesse Petree my senior year. He was in the class of ’57. I worked at the Ellis Funera

Home for sixteen years, beginning in 1957. Jesse worked for George Eliot, Eliot Interiors. The
Eliot’s daughter is Ann Eliot, class of ’57 and son, James Eliot, class of ’60.

Jesse and I have two children. Toni Petree Isbell, MHS class of ’81 and Rusty Petree, class of ’84. Our children are our greatest accomplishments. We have seven grandchildren from ages 23 to 7 months, three girls and/four boys. My daughter Toni lives in Midland and my son, Rusty lives in Houston.
Jesse and I started our own business in 1966 which ended up being in real estate. We had
commercial buildings, mini warehouses and residential properties. In 1997, our family developed
a sub division in Midland and I got my real estate license. In 1999, Jesse and I divorced after
nearly 41 years of marriage. We were great business partners but the marriage didn’t make it.
I played tennis/or well over 20 years. Competing in USTA tournaments in Texas at the 4.0 level.
Loved the game, but had to have a hip replacement in 2007 so the tennis days are over.
I remarried in 2001 to Bill Bright. Bill owned an oil field chemical company in Midland. His
kids attended Lee, so even though we both had lived here a long time, I had never met him. A
realtor friend introduced us and it was a great ride. We traveled a lot and went to Europe on our
honeymoon. Our best trip was an Alaskan cruise.
We owned thoroughbred race horses and traveled to San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma
City and Louisiana to watch them run. We had one really nice stakes horse that won quite a few
races. Bill also introduced me to deer hunting. He has a small ranch at Eden, Texas and I soon
learned to love hunting as well as watching deer. In a deer blind at 4AM by yourself watching
the sun come up is a spiritual and exhilarating experience. We have been separated for a year and
in the process of divorcing. One of the hardest things about getting the divorce is the fact that I
lost my deer lease to boot. So here I am a two time loser!!! I guess you can teach an old dog new
tricks after all.
My son, Rusty, worked for Schlumberger overseas after graduating from Texas Tech. One of my
most memorable trips was going to visit him in Papua New Guinea, which is known as one of
the last frontiers. First I flew to Australia and visited Sydney and Carnes, then on to New Guinea.
We flew from Port Moresby to the outback on a bush plane and stayed at Amboa Lodge and then

on the Karawari Lodge in the river area. Papua New Guinea is still known as the land of the
headhunters. Another time, I met Rusty in Paris and we went on to London.
Rusty graduated with an MBA from MIT in 2000 and lived in Boston and New York for several
years. So, I got to go there and visit all the historical places, great restaurants, and see all the
sights of the cities.
My daughter Toni and her husband James have a construction and development company in
Midland They have built over 60 houses. She is smart, beautiful and my best friend.

If I could live my life over, I probably wouldn’t change a thing!! God has blessed me in so many
ways! I am looking forward to seeing everyone and hope we recognize (if you can still see well
each other. Mrs. Grant once told me, after we were grown, that our first grade class at North Elementary was the most successful group of people she had ever taught and I believe she was RIGHT ON!!

One thought on “Betty Jane Waltlen Petree Bright

  1. Anonymous June 14, 2022 / 8:48 am

    Wow what a ride. Please continue to join us. John McElligott MHS 1963

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