Friday, February 26, 2016

Betty Jean Van Dyke, 1922-2016

My grandmother, Betty Jean Siefer Van Dyke, passed away last night. She was ready, and it was peaceful. In memoriam, here is a blog I posted for her 90th birthday, slightly updated.

Here are a few pictures - from her wedding day to my grandfather, and from recent years.

Engagement, Spring 1943
She grew up on a farm in Nebraska during the Great Depression and went to college at Hastings College, where she met my grandfather. She left after two years to teach - during the war they needed teachers and she needed money.

Wedding Day, May 14, 1944
After the war, she and my grandfather raised three children. When my mom (the eldest) was in high school, Grandma went back to college to finish her BA, then went for her masters while teaching elementary school. Eventually, she was a reading specialist (like my mother) and taught for 20 years. She is the daughter of a school teacher, her daughter was a  teacher and librarian, and my cousin is a teacher. Who knows what the next generation will bring (now at six), but I bet a teacher and/or librarian will be among them!

Beating my mother at Yahtzee. But she had help!

After she and my grandfather retired, they spent many years traveling the world, having adventures hiking and bird watching. She even hiked the Grand Canyon in her 60s, twice, and floated down the Colorado multiple times as well!

She was always stylish!

When each of us grand kids was old enough, we got to spend a week with Grandma and Grandpa, alone, doing fun things with them. On my trip, we rode the steam train up to the Grand Canyon and went on hikes around Sedona, where they lived. It was a wonderful gift of time and love.

With Grandpa and my mom at my college graduation in 2001
I am so grateful that Malcolm got to meet her and she him; I am hopeful that he will be able to remember her when he is grown. Grandpa and Grandma's hiking backpacks with all the patches from their many adventures hang in his room, and he is carrying on their love of birds whenever we fill the bird feeders and spend time just watching out the window.

Goodbye Grandma Betty! Thank you for all the love and support you gave me over the years - I am so blessed to have known you.

1 comment:

harvola said...

What a lovely retrospective. Great job Hope. So very sorry for the loss of this very special person.