Betty Lou (Thiessen) Gentleman was born at Beloit Community Hospital on December 2, 1934 to Ernest C. Thiessen and Anna Ruth (Schmeil) Thiessen. She passed from her earthly life and went to her heavenly home on Monday, February 11, 2019 at the Mitchell County Hospital at the age of 84.
Betty grew up on the Thiessen farm near Solomon Rapids, Kansas. She attended Solomon Rapids Country School and Beloit High School in her youth, graduating from Beloit High School in 1952. After high school, Betty attended Denver Women’s College in Denver, Colorado. She then returned to Beloit where she worked in the Administrative Office at the Girls Industrial School.
On March 21, 1954, Betty married Lawrence B. Gentleman. For the next 45 years, Betty and Lawrence made their home on their farm north of Glen Elder. Both Betty and Lawrence were active in their farming operation and enjoyed their life on the farm. Two daughters were born to this union, Sharon and Kathryn.
Betty was a member of the Beloit First Christian Church, where she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior in 1946. While a teenager, Betty taught Sunday School classes at Beloit First Christian Church. After marrying Lawrence, she transferred her membership to Glen Elder Christian Church. Betty was active in the Glen Elder Christian Church Ladies Aid, American Legion Post 143 Ladies Auxiliary, YWCA, and Glen Elder Library Club. She was dedicated to her church, serving as a Sunday School teacher for several years and working many summers with Vacation Bible School. Betty enjoyed sewing, gardening, reading and cooking. She raised chickens, reaping the rewards of fresh eggs and fresh chicken. Her garden yielded plenty of fresh produce that Betty canned or froze to enjoy later in the year. As the farm operation grew, Betty helped Lawrence in multiple capacities, especially during harvest, both driving the trucks to and from the elevators/fields, running for parts, and cooking meals for the family and the high school and college young men who worked for them during the summers. To this day, these young men still attest to how much they enjoyed Betty’s cooking, probably as much as they considered it a privilege to work for Lawrence.
As life on the farm permitted, Lawrence and Betty traveled. One memorable family trip was to New Jersey to visit Betty’s sister, Marjorie and husband Kenny and family. Another memorable trip the two of them took was to Hawaii with Betty’s sister, Carol and husband Jerry. And finally, probably the most memorable trip for Betty, was when the same foursome traveled to Alaska and Lawrence was finally able show Betty Ladd Air Base and Fairbanks, Alaska, where he had been stationed during his years in the Army prior to their marriage.
Anyone who knew Betty knew that she loved her family and grandchildren. Betty made several trips through the years to visit Sharon and Kathy, always helping out with the grandchildren while visiting. Betty made many doll clothes and “performance outfits” for the grandchildren through the years, many of which still remain in the “toy closet” for handing down to the next generation.
After 45 years of living on the farm, Lawrence retired from farming, and he and Betty moved to Beloit, Kansas. Though Lawrence and Betty lived in Beloit, they continued to attend their home church in Glen Elder, affording Betty the opportunity to continue to serve in various capacities in her church. For many years, Betty volunteered at Mitchell County Hospital Health Systems as a Pink Lady. During these later years of retirement, Betty suffered multiple health issues, and Lawrence was always there to care for her.
Betty was a loving wife, mother, sister and grandma. She and Lawrence enjoyed taking in numerous musical performances and events of their grandchildren, following them from elementary school through high school, college and graduate school, in the various states in which the grandchildren lived, always taking great pride in their accomplishments and use of their God-given talents.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Lawrence, her parents, Ernest and Anna Thiessen, two brothers, Bill Thiessen and Vernon Thiessen, one sister, Marjorie (Thiessen) Havel, and her great-grandson, Isaac James Jensen.
Left to celebrate her life are her daughter, Sharon Kay Keister and husband Rex, of Beloit, Kansas; daughter, Kathryn Jo Grabbe and husband Dave, of Southaven, Mississippi; grandchildren: Lauren (Kindscher) Jensen and husband Eric of Golden, Colorado; Allison (Kindscher) Smith and husband Matthew of Lubbock, Texas; Cody Grabbe and husband Josh Harraman of Metuchen, New Jersey; and Kailee (Grabbe) Koehler and husband Benjamin of Brownsburg, Indiana; great-grandsons Samuel, E.J. Jensen and Nathanael Reuben Jensen of Golden, Colorado; great-granddaughters, Ava Constance Smith and Lena Kay Smith of Lubbock, Texas; sister Carol (Thiessen) Darnell and husband Jerry, and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends. Betty will be dearly missed by many.
Funeral services will be at 10:00 AM Saturday, February 16, 2019 at the Glen Elder First Christian Church. Visitation will be from 1-7 PM with family present from 5-6 PM Friday, February 15 at the Roberts Family Funeral Home. Memorials may be given to the Church or Mitchell County Regional Medical Foundation.