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Betty J. Friesen

January 28, 2021

Always cheerful, always smiling and filled with laughter, Betty left us early morning on January 28.

She was buried next to the love of her life and husband, Karl, at Greenwood Cemetery on January 30 in a private ceremony attended by family and friends, and with the participation of family in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Denver, Colorado; Shawnee and Lawrence, Kansas; Baltimore, Maryland and  Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania via FaceTime and Zoom.

Betty was born at Axtell Christian Hospital in Newton, Kansas. She was the daughter of John Unruh, a blacksmith; and Sophia Frerking Unruh, a homemaker and quilter; and the younger sister of Natalie Unruh Hill. She attended McKinley Elementary School, Santa Fe Middle School, and Newton High School. For many years she was a member of First Mennonite Church along with her husband, parents, and children.

A conscientious objector during the Korean Conflict, her husband Karl served in Selective Service at a hospital in Evanston, Illinois.  While there Betty learned bookkeeping working for an accounting firm. These skills served her throughout her career at Montgomery Ward’s, Holstine Motors, Doctor’s Park, Presbyterian Manor, Newton Medical Supply, and Newton Medical Center. She served on the Kansas Blue Cross Blue Shield board, the Warkentin House board, and the Newton Convention and Visitors Center Bureau.

Betty was an avid and accomplished fabric artist producing many hand-hooked rugs in the primitive style.  She provided demonstrations at area craft shows, taught lessons, and mounted a retrospective exhibit at the Carriage Factory Art Gallery in Newton.  Her work was featured in trade publications.

For many years Betty and Karl ran the Old Parsonage Bed & Breakfast, hosting and entertaining interesting guests including the President of Stanford University, musicians from Mannheim Steamroller and the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi among many others. The Old Parsonage was decorated with antiques and collectibles acquired over many years of enjoying antiquing and collecting as a hobby.

Betty loved Christmas, and enjoyed listening to Christmas music year-round. Throughout her life her heart remained filled with the sense of awe and wonder of Christmas time, and the sense of seasonal joy and delight was always with her.

Betty’s parents, husband Karl, and son Michael passed before her. Her family will hold dear her memory, and cherish the love and laughter she shared with them: son Gregory (Genevieve), and grandchildren Gabrielle and Galen in Colorado Springs; grandchildren of son Michael (deceased) Brooke, Anna and Andrew in Denver; son Russell (Andrea), and grandchildren Noah, Hannah, Sophie and Sam in Shawnee; son Darrin (Linda), and grandchildren Grant, John Karl, Elise and Gretchen in St. Louis; sister Natalie in Wichita; five nephews (John and Jerry Hill, Kevin and Bradley Friesen, Nathan Voth), three nieces (Julie Hill Songer, Stacey Voth Schwartz and Jennifer Voth Roland), and four great grandchildren. She will be missed by Karl’s brother Ron (Jeanette)in Loveland and sister Luanna (Karl) Voth in Newton.

The family extends their heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the love and care provided to Betty by her friends and neighbors, and wonderful people at Newton Home Health. They are especially grateful that throughout her residence at Asbury Park, including during COVID, the many dedicated and loving caregivers were at her side.

“Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.”



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3 thoughts on “Betty J. Friesen

  1. That was beautiful. I’m so glad that we finally got to see all my cousins. I just wish it was under different circumstances. Your mother and father will always be in my thoughts. My wife Schelly said that you all were very kind to her and made her feel like part of the family. Was reading a poem about funerals and it said that if it rains during a funeral it means god is crying with joy to welcome one of his home. She is with uncle Karl now where she has wanted to be for a long time.
    Some day we will all be together .fishing with grandpa and eating grandmas coffee cake .looking at all the beautiful things your dad has made with his woodworking skills and wrapped up in a quilt that your mom and grandma made .tell everyone hello and I love them. Until next time we talk take care.

  2. I will miss Aunt Betty as I have missed Uncle Karl. They have always had a special place in my heart. They both loved me unconditionally and spoiled me rotten when we had time together. My love and prayers are with all her family and friends. I can’t wait to hug her again in heaven! The service was beautiful and I was honored to be there.

  3. I worked with Betty when she worked the front desk at Newton Medical Center. We got to talking about christmas & she wanted a Charlie Brown Xmas tree for the counter, I made one for her from just a twig & 1 red ball & glued to a small board, she was so surprised when I brought this to her. We always had a good chat. Nice lady

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