Life Story / Obituary
Elizabeth Betzler lived a wholehearted life, rich in family and friends. A woman who embodied the principles she believed in, Betty taught by example that kindness, compassion, and service to others were essential personal qualities. She believed in and practiced the "Golden Rule," with unwavering certainty that the more kindness we give to the world, the more we receive. With a generous personality and spirit, Betty lit up every room, embraced her friends as family and every moment as a gift. In doing so, she proved a powerful role model for how to live a full and vibrant life. A devoted wife, mother, Godmother, aunt, grandmother, and friend, Betty will long be remembered and so very missed.
1951 proved a year of increased comforts and exciting new possibilities. While unemployment dropped to 3.3%, the nation additionally celebrated the first direct-dial trans-coastal phone call, easier travel in more comfortable cars and on newly paved interstates, and the premieres of "I Love Lucy," "The Day The Earth Stood Still," and "An American in Paris." Nowhere was the sense of hope for the future more celebrated than in Royal Oak, Michigan as the Wummel family welcomed their newest member, Betty, on August 26th.
Growing up in the Metro Detroit area during the 50s and 60s, Betty's early years were rooted in family values. Her father was a salesman and business owner of school, office, and commercial equipment and furniture, and her mother tended the home. As one of nine children, Betty enjoyed her siblings' good company and a busy home. She spent many hours playing at the local parks and neighborhood friends' homes. Her desire to serve others was influenced by her participation in Girl Scouts and her many hours of babysitting.
As a teen, Betty enjoyed an active social life. Whether playing games of putt-putt golf, cruising Woodward Avenue, or hanging out with friends, Betty was often the source of fun. She was a proud member of the first class to graduate from Bishop Foley Catholic High School in 1969, where she worked on the art team that designed the Foley crest.
After high school, Betty began pursuing her call to nursing by attending Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital School of Nursing and later earned her Bachelor's Degree from Madonna University. Betty genuinely enjoyed all aspects of caring for the well-being of others, especially working with children, and over the course of her long career, she worked in many capacities. While at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan, she and her nursing friends opened a new outpatient surgery department. She also helped deliver two of her sisters' daughters. During her years with Royal Oak Beaumont, she worked in pediatrics, pediatric intensive care, and neonatal intensive care, labor and delivery, and bed management. Betty also worked in home healthcare for a time as a travel nurse and was an unofficial family general practitioner.
It was Betty's nature to anticipate the needs of others and then assure those needs were lovingly and expertly met. Whether officially on the clock or "relaxing" at home, Betty was always on the go, ready and willing to help anyone through whatever was challenging them at the moment.
In 1973, Betty's sister, Mary Ann, hosted a Tupperware party at her apartment. It was at this party that Betty met her sweetheart, Gary Betzler. It was love at first sight for the young couple; they were soon dating and setting their hearts on sharing the future. After accepting Gary's McDonald's parking lot marriage proposal, the happy couple exchanged their wedding vows on June 20, 1975, at Saint Dennis Church in Royal Oak.
Betty and Gary enjoyed camping, road trips, and spending time with their large families and friends. Many wonderful memories were spent with the extended Betzler family hanging out at Gun Lake. Trips to Frankenmuth, family reunions, and going to Yankee candle with Sandy were always a good time for Betty.
Blessed by the births of their sons, Tim and Ryan, Betty devoted herself to her family. When the boys were young, she and Gary enjoyed taking them on long road trips, often centered around important history lessons. One of their most memorable trips was to Missouri to explore the "Little House" where Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up and wrote her many books, which were Betty's favorite. Many trips were taken over the years to special local attractions like Huckleberry Village, Frankenmuth, Boblo Island, Houghton Lake, Lexington, and Caseville, and so many other Michigan treasures. Betty relished celebrating all of her loved ones' accomplishments. She was especially proud when both of her sons achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and enthusiastically supported her nieces' and nephews' accomplishments too. She also felt blessed to be able to share weekend girl trips with her sisters and mother and getting to travel to Vegas with Gary.
As her sons grew into adulthood, Betty continued to support their every endeavor. As her family grew to include daughters-in-law, so too did Betty's joy. Ryan and Christel's wedding proved a great joy, and when they gave birth to her first grandbaby, Abigail, Betty beamed with delight. She loved spending as much time as she could with her granddaughter, teaching her everything there was to teach a young lady. Balloons, finger painting, and sleepovers were some of Abbey's favorite grandma activities. Betty's joy continued to grow when she received the gift of grandson Alex when Tim married Nicole. Betty was a huge supporter of Alex's charity work and was thrilled when he won the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for the state of Michigan in 2020.
Rarely one to be still for long, Betty was always planning and caring for others. Throughout the years, her husband, observing Betty's careful coordinating of all the family's activities, would call their house "Grand Central Station." Whether gathering for the annual 4th of July events on the lake, handing out full-size candy bars on Halloween, or sharing multiple Christmas celebrations with her large families, Betty was happiest when caring for others. It wasn't unusual to find a family member or friend recovering from whatever medical issue they had at her house.
In her leisure time, Betty enjoyed watching favorite television shows, including NCIS, Murder She Wrote, Hell on Wheels, Deadwood, Game of Thrones, QVC, Home Shopping Network. She loved nothing more than spending her quiet time curled up with a book and a diet Pepsi. She carefully built her home library, where Little House on the Prairie, history tomes, and Sue Barton nursing books shared space with Janet Evanovich and James Patterson novels. She never resisted a trip to Barnes and Noble, the library, or a good used book sale. Her creativity was evident in her coloring, painting, cross-stitch, and decorating. Her enthusiasm was reflected in her shopping, clothing, jewelry, decorating, emoji choices, and vast and varied collections. She collected everything from rocks, inked stamps, fashion, shoes, wrapping paper, pens, and CANDLES! A talented gift-wrapping artist, she was always the first one at Hallmark on the day after Christmas to get the 75% off sales. She joyfully stocked up on cards and wrapping paper to make sure she had enough for sending year-long recognitions and gifts to her friends and family. Betty enjoyed the classic songs of her favorite artists, Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, Linda Rondstadt, Carly Simon, Carol King, and Simon and Garfunkel.
Betty loved life, especially the moments she was able to uplift the spirits of her family and friends. She gave a warm welcome to anyone who entered into her life, especially when they entered the family. Whether reading books to the youngsters, teaching them how to finger paint or draw, having whipped cream fights with her brother Chuck, or giving great speeches during large gatherings, she always made the best of any situation. Described by her loved ones as "all of Woodstock in one personality," Betty possessed both a very open mind and a strong personality; she never hesitated to share what was on her mind.
While life feels significantly less certain in the absence of Betty's wisdom, creativity, and compassion, may we find comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying Betty's legacy of love and compassion forward. Whenever we meet a challenge with grace, express our creativity, offer safe harbor to others in the face of life's storms, and enthusiastically open the doors to our hearts and home, we celebrate the many ways Betty gifted our lives. In this way, we keep her beautiful spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
As we cherish our memories of Betty, she will also live on through the 2 individuals she granted the gift of life.
Elizabeth “Betty” Betzler died on Friday, November 19, 2021 in Troy. Preceded in death by her husband, Gary in 2007; brother, Chuck Wummel; and 3 brothers-in-law: Roy, Larry and Ralph Betzler. Surviving are 2 sons: Tim (Nicole) Betzler and Ryan (Christel) Betzler; 2 grandchildren: Alex and Abigail; 7 siblings: Rose Blake, Jim Wummel, Bob Wummel, Marilyn (Art) Kennedy, Mary Ann Rilley, Jean (Ken) Ellison and Bill Wummel; in-laws: Sue Wummel, Rosalie Betzler, Colleen Kirkpatrick, Julie Betzler and Dennis “Bucky” (Joellen) Betzler; and many nieces and nephews. Private services were held with burial at Utica Cemetery next to her cherished husband, Gary. A Celebration of Life will be held next year. Visit Betty’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum.