October 4, 1925 ~ October 21, 2022

Born in: Gastonia, North Carolina
Resided in: Asheville, North Carolina

Elizabeth “Betty” Gopfert West Muench, 97, of Asheville, NC, passed away on October 21, 2022 at Givens Estates Health Center.

She was born October 4, 1925, in Gastonia, NC, to Arthur Gilbert and Lethia Moore Gopfert. Her father was founder and owner of Gopfert Electric Company, a commercial building contractor in Charlotte, NC.

Betty graduated from Harding High School in Charlotte and Mars Hill Junior College in Mars Hill, NC. She worked as a medical technician at Charlotte Memorial Hospital. She later received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens College in Charlotte and the Master of Arts in Teaching from Winthrop College in Rock Hill, SC. Betty taught biology to ninth graders at Alexander Graham Junior High School in Charlotte.

Betty was first married to the late John Franklin West, Jr. of Roanoke Rapids, NC. West was City Manager of Southport, NC and died in 1956 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Betty married the late Frank George Muench of Modesto, CA in 1969 and moved from Charlotte to Modesto where Muench was Professor of Sociology at Modesto Junior College, part of the University of California system.

Betty’s years in California were filled with friends, church work, and volunteer activities. She was a member of Trinity United Presbyterian Church, where she served two terms as Elder and was active in the church’s weekly prayer group, missions, and Presbyterian Women. Betty worked with the Modesto League of Women Voters and supported urban renewal, fair housing programs, and the inclusion of male members in the League. She was an active volunteer with Interfaith Ministries, working with food collection and distribution to underserved populations.

With her husband, Frank Muench, Betty joined the International Friendship Force and traveled to Modesto’s sister city in the Soviet Union. She also traveled extensively in Europe, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Brazil, and Canada. Betty enjoyed needlework and was an outstanding bridge player, often competing in tournaments.

Betty was preceded in death by her parents, husbands, son, John Franklin West, III, and siblings: Joyce Gopfert Howie, Arthur Gilbert Gopfert, Jr., and Everett Frank Gopfert. She is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth West Leonard (Phil) of Asheville, NC; daughter-in-law, Gail Banning West of Sedona, AZ; grandsons, David Andrew Leonard (Michelle) of Chicago, IL, and John Robert West (Andrea) of Seattle, WA; four great-grandchildren; sister, Evelyn Gopfert Mott of Columbus, GA; and a host of nieces and nephews. “Grandma Betty” was lovingly embraced by the Muench family and is survived by step-daughters, Susan Muench Grasberger of San Diego, CA, Merry Lee Muench Watson of Monument, CO, and their children: Katherine Grasberger Cruz (Tim), Rob Grasberger (Andrea), and David Watson (Carol).

A memorial service is planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages a gift in memory of Betty’s life to Trinity United Presbyterian Church, 1600 Carver Road, Modesto, CA 95350, or to a charity of your choice.

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family, and a guest register is available online at www.grocefuneralhome.com.

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