Dr. Bet­tie R. McKaig

The News & Observer (Sunday) - - Obituaries -

The world sud­denly and un­ex­pect­edly lost Dr. Bet­tie R. McKaig, den­tal leg­end, world trav­eler, beau­ti­ful “Bride,” en­er­getic “Be Be,” and dy­na­mite “Aunt Bet­tie” on Fe­bru­ary 3, 2020.

Her pro­fes­sional achievemen­ts are nu­mer­ous as she de­fined the word “trail­blazer” in the oral health pro­fes­sion. Dr. McKaig ran a suc­cess­ful den­tal prac­tice for over 30 years. She was the first fe­male pres­i­dent of the North Carolina Den­tal So­ci­ety (NCDS) (1995-96), the first fe­male pres­i­dent of the NC State Board of Den­tal Ex­am­in­ers and be­came the first fe­male world­wide col­lege pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Col­lege of Den­tists in 2019. Not only was she a vi­brant leader within the en­tire den­tal pro­fes­sion, but she thrived on her teach­ing mo­ments as an Ad­junct As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor with fu­ture den­tists at the Univer­sity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Den­tistry. There are too many ac­co­lades to list, how­ever it is note­wor­thy to men­tion her 2011 Dis­tin­guished Alumni Award from the UNC Den­tal Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion and the 2012 Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Scroll Award for her ser­vice to the den­tal pro­fes­sion from the NCDS.

Not only did Dr. McKaig em­bark on a renowned pro­fes­sional jour­ney, she also em­braced the phrase “liv­ing your best life” to the fullest. She mar­ried the love of her life 23 years ago and they lived hap­pily ever af­ter. They had ad­ven­tures all over the world. Some of their most mem­o­rable trips were to Bali, Greece, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, China, In­dia, Myanmar, Patag­o­nia and Ire­land. She also loved trav­el­ing with dear friends, es­pe­cially their re­cent trip to the Gala­pa­gos and Si­cily. Fam­ily ad­ven­tures in­cluded sum­mit­ting Mount Kil­i­man­jaro, hik­ing in Bhutan and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the life of an Aussie in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia. Dr. McKaig was an avid snow skier and skied Vail, Colorado’s slopes for many years. Her en­thu­si­asm for UNC basketball was le­gendary. And above all, her fa­vorite place was Wrightsvil­le Beach where you could find her at peace amidst the sand and the waves.

De­spite Dr. McKaig’s busy life, she knew the im­por­tance of en­joy­ing time with fam­ily. She soaked up ev­ery mo­ment to chase around her grand­chil­dren with her hus­band, pro­vide coun­sel to her spe­cial niece, and cher­ish mo­ments with her sib­lings.

Left with decades of beau­ti­ful mem­o­ries are her beloved hus­band, Dr. Ross Vaughan of Raleigh; sib­lings Vicki Hanna (Andy) of Wen­dell and Glenn Ray­bon (Melissa) of York, SC; sis­ter-in-law Martha Jor­dan of Arkansas; step-chil­dren, Gor­don Vaughan (Holly Fulp) and Sarah Vaughan (Michael Creech) of Colorado and Scott Vaughan of Durham; niece Jen­nifer Har­mon (Steve Ed­dins) of Chapel Hill; and neph­ews Jesse Ray­bon and Don­ald Gil­roy of York, SC and Stu­art Ray­bon of Durham; and her adored grand­chil­dren Carter Ross and June Anglin Creech of Colorado. She is also sur­vived by other fam­ily and friends, too nu­mer­ous to list but not for­got­ten.

Dr. McKaig is now re­united with her par­ents, Mar­garet and Haywood Ray­bon.

Bet­tie McKaig’s story was still be­ing writ­ten, but we will re­mem­ber her con­ta­gious smile, her ex­u­ber­ant en­ergy, her pas­sion for life, and her strong love for fam­ily and friends. She touched the lives of many in­clud­ing her stu­dents, col­leagues, and pa­tients. This in­cred­i­ble woman will for­ever be missed as a wife, aunt, sis­ter, friend, grand­mother, and trail­blazer. We will hold on tight to our mem­o­ries till we meet again …

A cel­e­bra­tion of Dr. McKaig’s life will be held on Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 15 at the Carolina Club, 150 Sta­dium Drive, from 12-3 p.m. Our fam­ily asks that you con­sider do­nat­ing to the Bet­tie McKaig Schol­ar­ship Fund she es­tab­lished at the UNC-CH Adams School of Den­tistry:

https://giv­ing.unc.edu/gift/ bmrs

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