Betty Jean McDowell
There’s a new set of wings in heaven as we write this obituary. In the arms and care of her savior Jesus Christ rests our wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother Betty McDowell who passed away February 23, 2020.
When she was told she had little time she opted to leave KRMC and spend her remaining days at home with family and friends at her side.
Betty was born in an old log school house that served as home to Edward and Mirilla Keller, on November 24, 1933. Her preschool years were spent learning the ways of farm life. Helping her folks as much as she could as they eked out a living and built a new home. Her grade school years were spent at the West Valley School. Upon reaching junior high age, she boarded with relatives in Kalispell and attended St. Matthews Catholic School. She finished her education at Flathead High, graduating in 1951.
Betty met her future husband Bud in 1953, while he was on leave from the Coast Guard. Her cousin who was in the Army was also on leave. They had been pals since school days. He mentioned that Betty’s family was getting together at The Blue Moon for an evening of dancing and invited Bud along. The two met that night and had such a great time they spent the remainder of his leave dating. His duties at that time were in Seattle and he was able to come home for many long weekends. Those weekends always found him with “His” Betty. Upon his discharge in early 1954 they knew that their time should be together for always. It was 65 wonderful years.
They were married at the St. Matthews Catholic Church in Kalispell on August 28, 1934. Settling down in Whitefish they rented for several years. Their first two children were born at that time. Rand first and then Linda. By 1960 their new home was finished and moved into. We were really a family now. Later Shawn was born, Betty’s name was changed to Mom. We mostly called her that from then on.
She kept a spotless home. The kids were neat, clean and always had hot food for them to come home to. She canned goods, did the baking, always had something baked to offer when folks dropped in.
In the spring mom got her flowers out. Summers were for picnics, camping, fishing, and the outdoors.
Mom never let a holiday pass without decorating the house. Of course Christmas was her favorite. Always decorating a lovely tree. She also always had each and every gift wrapped to perfection and absolute beauty for all of us.
She never let her home duties interfere with church life and love for God. A staunch believer of the Bible. She was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Whitefish. She served on various committees and had a passion for the young ones. She taught her “little ones” Sunday school for over twenty five years.
Mom was a people person. She loved to be around people, getting to know them. Learning about their lives and families. She never met a person she didn’t like.
After her family was raised she worked in several gift shops in Whitefish. Always meeting new friends. Her last job was at Haines Drug, where she stayed for nearly 30 years. She loved it there and called it her “family of friends.”
Traveling was another passion. With family and friends she was able to see a lot of our country. She was sent with a coworker to NY on a gift buying mission for the store. Quite a treat for a couple women from “wood tick country.”
She would never forget the trip to Italy with her granddaughter and family to visit her foreign exchange family in Milan. They toured places like Rome, Venice, and Bologna. But of all her travel destinations Hawaii was her calling. Several trips were taken either by plane or cruise ship. As health began to decline we made our last cruise in 2016 to the Bahamas. Dialysis was offered at sea. Our entire family, 21 of us, on this trip, making it the best one ever for her.
For the next 4 years she had declining health. She never complained about new poor diagnosis. She would say “things could be worse.” Her visits to dialysis were somehow an event she seemed to cherish. To be with friends there, they were “one happy family.”
Mom, we know you loved life, your family and friends, wanting to live here on earth forever. But the rigors of diabetes, cancer, near blindness and heart failure just wouldn’t let you. We hated to see you go, but your family and friends know you put up a good fight. We love you so much and know you are in a better place now.
Betty was proceeded in death by her parents, Edward and Mirilla Keller. Brothers Charles (Viola), Harold, Floyd (Joan), numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
She is survived by her husband Bud. Sons Rand and Shawn (Elizabeth), daughter Linda Reynolds (Steve) Grandsons Justin Reynolds (Becky) Levi Reynolds (Kathryn) Granddaughter Meghan Brester (Scott) Great Grandchildren Hanna, Logan, Lincoln, Bailey, Emma, Turner Reynolds, Matteo and Meadow Brester. Special sister in law Lee Keller (Harold) and many special nieces and nephews.
We are blessed with good neighbors Casey and Nancy Kelch, Tom Wright, Tom Eisinger, Kerry Knigne, Leon and Theresa McDowell.
Special thanks to NVH doctors and staff. KRMC doctors and staff. The Dialysis Center doctors and staff. The nurses that visited at home and hospital. All the friends that gave rides to dialysis, hospice and Home Options, Pastor Ralph Boyer and Church prayer groups that prayed for our family when in need.
A memorial service will be held 1:00 PM, Saturday, March 14, 2020 at Christ Lutheran Church with a reception to follow. Austin Funeral and Cremation Services in Whitefish is caring for Betty’s family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Betty Jean McDowell, please visit our floral store.