Thirty years ago, a local realtor, mother of five, and community servant named Betty Reagan was approached to become the first woman to serve as a Brentwood City Commissioner. Her first comment, when asked, was “You must mean my husband, Joe.” But, while Joe would eventually follow in her footsteps and serve the city for 18 years, it was at that time Betty that they wanted.
“When she was convinced she was the one who was wanted,” said Mindy Tate, a good friend of Reagan, and Executive Director of Franklin Tomorrow, “I think she saw herself as representing many like herself — a professional woman who had God, family and her community at heart.”
Serving as a commissioner from 1989 until 1993, Reagan was known for her research on every topic brought before the council, and her professionalism.
“As a commissioner, she would always collect all of the facts pertaining to a city issue and then make her decision,” said Linda Lynch, retired Brentwood Community Relations Director. “She voted on what she thought was best for the city and the citizens whether her decision was popular or not.”
Lynch noted that Reagan always said that she incorporated many of her personal qualities derived from being a mom into both her career and being a city commissioner. She loved working with people and volunteering in the community long before she ran for office.
“She served on the board of the Brentwood YMCA and the Endowment Development Committee of the YMCA Foundation,” said Tate. “A communicant of Holy Family Catholic Church, she served on the committee created by former Bishop James Nledergeses to establish the Brentwood parish in the late 1980s.”
She was also known in the community professionally as a highly successful realtor. According to Tate, she was the 1995 president of the Williamson County Association of Realtors, as well as past president of both the Nashville and Williamson County Women’s Council of Realtors, which she founded. For her work, she received the first “Distinguished Service Award” from the Tennessee Women’s Council of Realtors in 1995. She was also honored as Realtor of the Year in 1992 by the Williamson County Association of Realtors.
Because of her business and volunteer work in the community, she knew many of the other commissioners before being elected in 1989. Her professionalism and love for the city made her a prized member of the commission, especially when an issue was related to parks and quality of life.
“Betty first and foremost was about family,” said Tate, “and she shared that in her service to the city by putting quality of life first, whether it was creating a new park or expanding services and the facilities at the library…[S]he served on the Williamson County Economic Development Council and the city’s library board.”
Reagan passed away in 1993, and her husband, Joe, took on her position on the council and her devotion to quality of life in Brentwood. He stepped down from the commission in 2010.
“Most of all,” Tate shared, “Betty believed in the power of kindness and service.”
“Betty was a wonderful role model and mentor,” added Lynch. “She was a great asset to the city and the community.”