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Bettie Mae Wegner, 86, of St. Paul, died March 14, 2018 at Brookefield Park after a very courageous year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Services will be held at St. Paul Presbyterian Church 11am Tuesday March 20th. Phil LaRoe will officiate. P.E.O. rites will be presented by P.E.O AP Chapter. Burial will be in the Elmwood Cemetery in St. Paul.
Visitation will be at the church 4pm-6pm Monday March 19th. Jacobson-Greenway Funeral Home in St. Paul is in charge of the arrangements.
Mrs. Wegner was born on January 15th, 1932, in St. Paul, the daughter of Carl and Sophia (Haruda) Christensen.
She grew up in St. Paul attending St. Paul Public schools, graduating in 1949. She attended two years of college at the University of Nebraska Lincoln before returning to St. Paul to help her mother.
She was united in marriage to Gilbert (Gib) Wegner of Palmer, on March 8, 1953 after Gib returned from Air Force duty in England. The couple made their home on their farm south of St. Paul where Bettie began her more than full time job of a farmer’s wife. This involved cooking three full meals a day for Gib and his hired hands, feeding the 40 plus cats and several dogs, gathering eggs, tending to the calves, laying irrigation tubes and running to town on the fly for parts. After her two daughters arrived this added other duties like making costumes for dance recitals, shuttling to piano lessons, Brownies/Girl Scouts, band competition, chorus performances, 4-H, swimming and supporting all activities until each left for college. Her home was an open door to all for a wonderfully cooked meal at any time of the day. This open-door policy also extended to a “summer camp” for all the nieces, nephews and family friends who over the years, would stay for weeks at a time.
Caretaking of loved ones became another job, or rather labor of love for over 40 years. Bettie lovingly cared for her mother, uncle, aunt, brother, father-law, and husband as well as other elderly friends. The caretaking of her mother led her to becoming President of the Hospital Auxiliary in the early 1980s, where she initiated the installation of hair washing sinks for patients.
Bettie was a life time member of St. Paul First Presbyterian Church where she served many roles over the years; Deacon, Session, Elder, Thanksgiving Dinner Committee Member, Sewing Class teacher and most recently Memorial Committee Member pivotal in bringing in the Cross Labyrinth to the church.
She was a member of Eastern Star for over 25 years, Grand Matron in 1971, and the only woman chosen from the local chapter for the State Convention.
As both of her girls were Honored Queens of Jobs Daughters, she was also involved in supporting them and their chapter. Additionally, she was with daughter Julie when she attended 1972 Grand Bethel in Lincoln. In 1976 Bethel #71 presented her with commemorative quilt blocks stitched by each Jobs Daughter for her role as Bethel Secretary.
In 2017 she was recognized for her 40-year membership in P.E.O. AP Chapter. (Philanthropic Educational Organization- a Sisterhood supporting thousands of women through educational grants and scholarships). She held various offices including President. P.E.O. has been a very important part of her life during these years; so important that she was honored by both of her daughters becoming chapter members last April.
Bettie became involved in the “Save the Brick Street” initiative in 2014 feeling very strongly the importance of preserving the century plus old brick main street.
Although she has been involved in many community organizations, family has always been the most important part of her life, never forgetting a birthday, anniversary, or special event of her immediate and extended family with cards, presents, phone calls, and most of all love.
Words cannot do justice to the impact Bettie has had on all of those who have known her throughout her life. But during the fight of her life with pancreatic cancer she touched all those who saw her with her lesson of not only how to live life but how to prepare for death. She was truly an inspiration to all.
Gratefully sharing in her amazing life are her two daughters; Julie (Mike) Shadley of Omaha, Linda (Peter) Virene of Lancaster, OH, dear grandson; Taylor Virene; step grandchildren; Tim (Joy) Shadley and Tracy Shadley; step great grandchildren, Kaleb, Kyren, Cailee, Ansley and Barrett, nieces; Connie Christensen, Annie Bollmeier, Kathy Thompson, Jill Green, Jenny Dillon, nephews; Carl Christensen, David Bollmeier, Dal Kiburz, Paul Bollmeier, Doug Kiburz, and Ryan Wegner.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Alvin Christensen, sister Arlene Bollmeier and husband Gib Wegner.
Memorials are suggested to family’s choice; Bettie Wegner P.E.O. Chapter AP Memorial Scholarship Fund or St. Paul First Presbyterian Church.
Condolences and tributes for Bettie may be signed at www.jacobsengreenway.com.