Betty Jane (Becker) McFadzen Schneider passed peacefully into the Spirit World on March 12, 2020, at the age of 89 in Kalispell, Montana. Arnold and Edith Becker welcomed Betty, their first child, on August 31,1930, in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Betty was born under the Virgo zodiac sign with traits that gleamed throughout her life. Growing up on a dairy farm, Betty developed a strong work ethic. She picked up field stones, brought in the cows, and was her mother’s second pair of hands with household chores.
After graduating from Washington High in 1948, Betty pursued her dream of becoming a registered nurse at Marquette University. To help with expenses, her mother would pick-pocket Betty’s father following poker games, and send her the money.
In the next chapter of life, Betty was both a mother and father to five children while working nights at the Two Rivers hospital. On some winter nights, she walked across a frozen river as a shortcut to or from work. Regardless of how tired she was, Betty was always there for her children. Betty’s parents and siblings provided unwavering support to ensure the family always had everything they needed. The McFadzen in-laws helped wrangle in the kids. Betty’s indomitable spirit always shined brightly.
In 1978, she married Jack Schneider, which instantly expanded the size of her family. Betty loved Jack’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Betty’s sense of adventure and Jack’s enjoyment of long drives led to road trips around Wisconsin. They ventured farther to visit her daughters in Montana and Arizona while enjoying scenic detours such as the Grand Canyon.
After Jack’s passing in 1990, Betty became more involved in holistic health and spiritualty, a path she followed for the rest of her life. Using complementary therapies—foot reflexology, massage, and aroma therapy—Betty graciously shared her expertise at wellness events, nursing homes, and with anyone who needed help. She was a member of the Lakeshore Peace Makers and Christine Center. At age 70, Betty retired from nursing.
Betty continued to share her compassion for and nurturing of youth by being a Big Sister. She recently received an email from the Little Sister she had in the early 90s: “You came into my life just when I needed an angel. And you inspired me to be a strong woman of faith. I love you Betty.”
Betty was always willing to try something new when asked by her kids. Together, they had many wonderful adventures in Wisconsin and the West. With coaxing over the years, Betty finally made the bittersweet decision to move to Montana to be with daughters Becky and Mary. In 2010, after 80 years of living in Wisconsin, family and friends bid farewell to Betty as she ventured on a new journey to Kalispell.
Because of Betty’s welcoming and caring nature, she quickly built a community of friends. She joined the Shining Mountains Center for Spiritual Living, where she attended weekly services (she loved the music!) and classes and met many wonderful people. She joined a women’s group and volunteered with Feed the Flathead and the Flathead County Democratic Women. Betty was an intrepid partner with her kids on countless explorations: numerous visits to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, stays at remote cabins, watching wildlife, viewing of the total solar eclipse, drinking lattes, and eating ice cream.
Betty spent her final two years at Buffalo Hill Terrace, where she made more friends. She attended as many parties and parades as she could. Recently, she was crowned “Mardi Gras Queen of Buffalo Hill Terrace.” The adventures continued with her kids—Betty was always up to do anything or go anywhere.
She is now on her next journey. Happy trails to you, Montana Betty.
The family thanks Betty’s physicians who provided outstanding care with humor since she arrived in Montana, and the staff of Buffalo Hill Terrace and Kalispell Hospice for care and kindness.
A celebration of Betty’s life will be held at a later date in Kalispell, MT and Two Rivers, WI. Donations may be made to Shining Mountains Center for Spiritual Living (www.cslkalispell.com), Big Brothers Big Sisters (www.bbbs.org), and Sparrows Nest (for homeless high school students; www.sparrowsnestnwmt.org).
Betty is survived by daughter Becky (Steve) Petrashek of Kalispell, MT; son Mike McFadzen (Karen) of Plymouth, WI; daughters Mary McFadzen of Bozeman, MT and Christine McFadzen of Madison, WI; granddogs and grandcat; brothers and sisters in WI: Dick (Jean) Becker, Shirley (Bob) Brose, Jan (Leigh) Coenen, Bobbie (Kay) Becker; cousins, nieces, and nephews; in-laws in WI: Bill Brennan and Sara (John) Eldredge; in-law in AZ: Paul Grella; stepchildren in WI: Craig (Sherri) Schneider and Lance Schneider of WI and their grandchildren, great grandchildren.
Betty was preceded in death by her son Patrick McFadzen; husband Jack Schneider; parents Arnold and Edith Becker; father- and mother-in-law Ellis and Allie McFadzen; ex-husband Peter McFadzen; stepdaughter Jacquelyn Svoboda; and in-laws Lois Grella, John (Maggie) McFadzen, Tom (Gloria) McFadzen, Jean (Jim) Radcliff, Maggie Brennan.
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