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1921 Betty 2015

Betty Wright

May 6, 1921 — April 15, 2015

Betty Wright, 93 of Chappell, Nebraska passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning, April 15, 2015 at the Miller Memorial Care Center in Chappell.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 A.M., Tuesday, April 21, 2015 in the Chappell United Methodist Church with Rev. Ezekiel Koech and Pastor Jim Nichols officiating. Burial will follow in the Chappell Cemetery.

Friends may call from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M., Monday at the Holechek Funeral Home in Chappell with the family present.

Memorials have been established to the Miller Memorial Care Center.

Elizabeth (Betty) Virginia Johnson was born on May 6, 1921 in Haywarden, Iowa, the only daughter of Walter and Myrtle Johnson. When Betty was 3, the family moved to Davenport, Iowa where her father attended the Palmer School of Chiropractic. They then moved to Telluride, Colorado where he opened a barber shop and chiropractic office. To save money on their long trip from Iowa to Colorado, Dr. Johnson cut the back rest of the front seat of his Model T Ford so it could be laid back to make a place for him and Mrs. Johnson to sleep. He hung a hammock across the car for Betty to sleep in. (This was one of her favorite stories to tell of her childhood.)

Betty started school in Norwood, Colorado and attended school in Grand Junction and Palisade, Colorado, (her father was “a wanderer”, she said). She graduated from Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado in 1939. After graduation she worked in a restaurant in Palisade, Colorado where she met Lee Thornton. They soon married and had a son Larry.

During the Depression the young family moved to Santa Monica, California where Betty got a job as a riveter at Douglas Aircraft. Her marriage had dissolved, and at Douglas she met and married Keith Wright from Chappell, Nebraska. After the war they moved to Chappell and had two daughters, Lynda and Leta. Their marriage ended in 1975.

Betty began working as a Selective Service clerk in 1958, and one of the first boys she registered for the draft was her own son, Larry. In 1963 she became the secretary for the Deuel County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Floyd Stahr realized it would be valuable to have her deputized, so Betty became the first woman in the State of Nebraska to be a Deputy Sheriff. She held that position until December, 1990 when she retired.

Even after retirement, Betty didn’t slow down. She had always loved writing and began writing a column for the Chappell Register, “Around Town”. In her column she wrote about local personal events, like who had visitors from out of town and who had taken vacations. Folks from Chappell and far away places would give her tidbits to include in her column. She also wrote poetry and children’s stories which she shared with the children at the Methodist Church.

Betty also loved to travel and visited nearly every part of the United States plus trips to Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and (her favorite) two trips to Alaska.

She was a charter member of the Chappell chapter of the VFW Women’s Auxiliary and served as president for several years. She was also active in Social Hour Club, Sewing Club and a local Sorority.

Betty’s last years were spent at Miller Memorial Care Center where she peacefully passed away.

She is survived by her son Larry (Sherry) Wright of Midland, Texas, daughter Lynda (Calvin) Duncan of Chappell, daughter Leta Pontious of Silver Spring, Maryland, 8 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents and an adopted baby brother. 

Holechek Funeral Home and Cremations in Chappell is serving the Wright family. 
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Betty Wright, please visit our flower store.

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