Dr. Bettie R. McKaig
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: