Betty Blue (Fretty) was born in Armstrong, Iowa, on May 8, 1941, to Austin and Bernice Fretty. She was predeceased by her parents as well as her younger sister, LaVonne. She leaves behind her daughter-in-law, Carmen D’Angelo (Mike Montgomery); grandson, Matteo D’Angelo; nephew, Jim Kirk (Cathy Forrest); niece, Charmalee Kirk (Jerry Allen); great nieces and nephews, Kenzie Benesh (Isa Bertorelli), Samantha Benesh (Brock, Frank and Bolan Storey) and Boston Benesh (Jessa Joles) as well as numerous friends from near and far.
Growing up, church and community activities were a central part of her family’s life. Betty helped her father do chores on the farm and learned from her mother how to can vegetables from the garden. Her love of music was honed early on, when she saw an ad for cowbells in a Youth for Christ magazine. She asked her father if she could purchase the cowbell set. He responded that if she would help him do extra chores in the barn, she could purchase the bells. When the bells arrived, Betty was overjoyed and promptly learned how to play, Jesus Loves Me. Her lifelong love of music was born as she had those same bells until her death.
Betty went to Greenville College (Greenville, Ill.) and graduated with a degree in elementary education in 1962, beginning a teaching career spanning over 35 years in both Iowa and Michigan. For most of those years, Betty taught third grade students, whom she absolutely adored, teaching them cursive writing and good manners along with math and science. Once a year, she would even hold parent teacher conferences in each of her students’ homes. In 1971, Betty received her Master of Arts (Ypsilanti, Mich.) and taught in special education for a period of time, but returned to her favorite, third grade.
Betty retired from teaching and moved to Brooklyn, Mich., but anyone who knew Betty, knew she was busier than ever! She was the Christian Education Director at the Brooklyn Presbyterian Church where she conducted handbell and children’s choirs as well as programming for Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. She was always very involved in the community, teaching piano lessons in her home, or going to the students’ home if necessary, even sometimes giving lessons by phone. The year’s lessons would always be celebrated with a recital for friends and family.
On July 4, 2019, Betty moved to Phoenix, Ariz., to be closer to her daughter-in-law and grandson. She was so excited about her new home and church community where, in a short time, she’d already left a big impact.
There will be a celebration of life at the Brooklyn Presbyterian Church (160 N. Main St., Brooklyn, Mich.) on Thursday, December 19 at 4 p.m., light refreshments to follow. If you wish, you may wear blue, Betty’s favorite color. Interment will be in the Armstrong Grove Cemetery, Armstrong, Iowa at a later date. If desired, memorial donations can be made to the Children’s program at Brooklyn Presbyterian Church.
“Live by faith, grow in grace, walk in love”