Deceased Information


    Betty Smolen


    Tuesday, January 04, 2022


    Sunday, January 09, 2022


    2:30 PM




    Meeting ID: 835 9599 0148

    Passcode: 383821



    Betty Smolen passed away Tuesday at her home in Charlotte, NC at the age of 97. Betty (or Betty Jane as she fancifully called herself in her youth) was born to Ben and Fanny Bach in Atlanta, GA on March 6, 1924 and grew up there, later also living in South Orange, NJ and then Charlotte, NC. 

    As a young child, she lost her only sister Blanche Bach to scarlet fever, but maintained a life-long, sisterly tie to her cousin Arlene Karlick. She was the apple of her parents’ eye and remained close to them her whole life.  She briefly attended Duke University, but left at 19 when she married Elliott Smolen, also an Atlanta native, at the Temple in Atlanta. Both 3rd generation Eastern European Jewish immigrants, they were firmly rooted in the Jewish community in both Atlanta and later in New Jersey. Soon after marriage, Elliott left to serve as a US Marine in WWII. 

    Betty and Elliott went on to have four children, Margaret (Peggy) Jaffe Neer, of blessed memory, Sally Gehl (Leonard) of Pittsburgh, Dr. Paul Smolen (Wendy) of Charlotte, NC, and the baby of the family, Susan Horlick, P.A. (Ed) of Cary, NC.  She shared a birthday with both her daughter Peggy and her daughter’s son, Seth. 

    During her years in New Jersey, she ran a knitting business, making and selling beautiful and complex knitted sweaters with her friend Nessa. Her knitting talents were also later appreciated by all her children and grandchildren who regularly received afghan blankets to match any new décor. She was also a voracious reader, avid news-follower, and generally forward-thinking person.  In 1986, following Elliott’s death in 1983, she finally moved back down south away from the cold that she hated, and settled in Charlotte, NC near her son Paul, her daughter-in-law Wendy, and their children. 

    During her years in Charlotte, Betty built a rich and active life for herself.  She volunteered for many years on the auxiliary board at Presbyterian Hospital and later Novant Hospital; served several terms on the homeowners’ board in her housing community; was a long-time member of Temple Beth El in Charlotte; and, as an avid needleworker, co-founded the Stitch and Bitch club in Charlotte.  Betty also volunteered for many years at the Florence Crittenton Home in Charlotte.  A supporter of the arts, she subscribed for many years to the Charlotte Symphony’s classic series and regularly attended live theater. 

    Those who knew Betty describe her as warm, smart, gracious, and respectful to all no matter their position. Everyone was 'honey' to her. This kindness and respect for others won her friends everywhere she went. She is also remembered as a beautiful and eminently classy woman, having a sense of style that never failed, even in her later years. She likely had the only assisted living apartment with fine art lining the walls, a closet of fashion-forward blazers, leopard print shoes, and tops with a pop of color, as well as a modern white, polka dot couch that followed her around. A lover of chocolate, piping hot black coffee, waking up early, shopping, books, daily walks, and chardonnay at 6 pm every day, she was an expert at living a good life. She knew her fair share of grief, with both her husband’s and daughter’s untimely deaths, but her sunny outlook and good humor got her through life’s difficulties and drew people to her. She was known for her wisdom and dispensing of solid advice even far into her elderly years.  

    She is survived by her 3 living children as well as 8 grandchildren: Seth Jaffe of Houston, TX, Jacob Gehl (Suzanne) of Los Angeles, CA, Charlotte Rouchouze (Denis) of Charlotte, NC, Ben Smolen (Seth Morris) of Long Beach, CA, Sarah Smolen Coleman (Collin) of Carrboro, NC, Nathaniel Horlick (Burlington, VT), Sam Horlick, and Josh Horlick, as well as 4 great grandchildren: Zev, Meris, Damien and Elliott.  

    Donations can be made to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center or Florence Crittenton center for young mothers, 

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Betty Smolen

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  • The Dressler Family

    May the memories of our loved ones remain for a blessing.

  • Marion Hogg

    I don't know what I would have done without my second Mom and the entire Smolen family living next door when I was a child. Betty and Elliott never made the children in the neighborhood feel afraid and we were always welcomed in their home . They both were so full of life and of course I credit Sally for teaching me about life long friends and how valuable Peggy ,Paul and their parents were in shaping our lives and how very blessed we were. Fanny and Ben were beautiful people too and such a joy to be around. I wish all children could have a Smolen Family in their lives!!

    January 16, 2022 , 11:05 PM

  • Adrian Fleishman

    Sending my sincere condolences! Betty was my first cousin and I adored her even though she was quite a bit older than my sister and I. I was very close to my Aunts one being Fannie Bach, Betty’s mother. I have such fond memory’s of Betty. She was a Southern Belle with so much charme and love. My sister, Sandy Morrow kept up with Betty long distance wise and visits when we could. She will certainly be missed by many. Sincerely, Adrian Fleishman and Neill, Sandy Morrow

    January 07, 2022 , 03:42 AM

  • Virginia Kunken

    Dear Sally, Lenny and family, Fred and I send you our deepest sympathy for the loss of your mother. You were so lucky to have had her for such a long time, and she was lucky to have seen her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She will remain in your hearts forever. We hope loving thoughts will be a comfort to all of you.

    January 07, 2022 , 02:37 AM

  • Charlotte Rouchouze


    January 06, 2022 , 05:27 PM

  • Philip karlick

    So sorry about Betty passing. Arleen and Betty grew up together as Atlanta natives. She’ll always have Jewish southern blood in her. She was the matriarch of the Smolen clan. Loved her. May her memories be a blessing

    January 06, 2022 , 04:59 PM

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