BETTY HEDEGARD WERTS (1927-2020) passed away at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11 at the age of 92, at Heritage Point Assisted Living and Memory Care in Mishawaka. She was born in Indianapolis on the last day of December 1927, to Danish immigrants Holger and Ville Hedegard. Betty liked to joke that she would have been the perfect tax deduction, if such deductions had existed then.
She lived in the Michiana area for the past 70 years, after spending her early years in Des Plaines, Ill. Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Wayne E. Werts, and two sisters in Wisconsin, Edith Paszko and Evelyn Reed. Betty is survived by her three daughters, Diane (Richard Bailey) Werts of Mishawaka, IN; Jill (David Parrish) Werts of Bartlett, IL; Sara (Chris) Marbach of Edwardsburg, MI; and four grandchildren, Gregory, Andrew, Matthew, and Nicholas Marbach, all of Edwardsburg, MI.
In many ways a woman of her times, Betty still found her own path. She was the first in her family to go to college (Wisconsin's Beloit College), where she earned a degree in mathematics. She taught for one year, then moved to South Bend, where she worked at the Bendix Corporation as an engineering assistant. There, she met Wayne, an engineer, whom she married in 1956, and they had three daughters.
Betty had always been an avid sports follower. While recovering from a childhood illness on bed rest for a year, she memorized the stats for every member of the Chicago Cubs. Later, she would take her three girls to sit among the rowdies in the Wrigley Field bleachers, turning her daughters into lifelong sports fans.
Road trips also took Betty and her girls to Wisconsin to see Betty’s family, and to Iowa to see Wayne’s parents. The family car often broke-down, and the mechanic she finally consulted would shake his head, and say, “Betty, if I ever need a test driver, you would be it – you can drive *anything*."
After Wayne's death in 1993, she moved to Elkhart, where she had worked 20 years at Ramada Inn as an administrative assistant. Following her retirement in 1995, she became a familiar patron of local restaurants. Betty had always liked to knit and crochet, knitting clothes for her daughters and their Barbie dolls, and crocheting afghans for family and friends. Her other interests throughout life included drawing and playing cards, and while at Bendix, she bowled and golfed in the Bendix Girls’ Leagues.
Betty never considered herself adventurous, though she certainly was. As a young child, she was a climber, out the windows, to wander the neighborhood. In 1955, she took a three-month trip with her parents back to their birth country of Denmark, bringing their car along on the ocean voyage. While there, she drove down to Germany with her Danish cousin Knud, who took her to a nightclub where he offered local men the chance to dance with his "American cousin" if they bought him a beer. Betty always said the boat trip over was so rough that she made the return by ship only because she had no other way to get home.
For her 70th birthday, Betty returned to Denmark with two of her daughters, a sister and a son-in-law. After getting reacquainted with Danish relatives, both she and her sister talked about the trip for years. She was a reluctant flyer, but when her daughters were spread across the country, she did it regularly to visit them in Texas, Louisiana, New York/New Jersey, Denver, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco area.
Throughout her life, Betty radiated her “essential Betty-ness” – a sweet personality and a lovely smile that won her friends everywhere she went. Her daughters effusively thank the staff of Mishawaka's Heritage Point for their loving care of Betty in her final years, helping keep that smile on her face till the end.
Private services will take place at a later date. Kaniewski Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana http://feedindiana.org.
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