Cover photo for Betty McGillivray's Obituary
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1925 Betty 2012

Betty McGillivray

April 10, 1925 — October 4, 2012

Betty J. McGillivray, age 87, of Frazee, MN, formerly of Staples, MN, passed away Thursday, October 4, 2012, at the Frazee Care Center. Funeral services will be held 3 p.m., Sunday, October 7, 2012 at Congregational Church United in Staples, MN. Visitation will be held from 1 p.m. until the time of service at the church on Sunday. Interment will be made in the Evergreen Cemetery in Staples. Lunch will be served at the church following the service for all to attend.

Betty Jane Ringler was born on April 10, 1925, at Trommald, Minnesota, daughter of John and Sophia Ringler and sister of Douglas Ringler. Betty began her education in a one room schoolhouse in the country and completed it by graduating from Staples High School, with honors and one year early. After graduation, Betty traveled to Chicago to live with her cousin, Inez Stoll and to work for Campbell Soup Company in the payroll department. When World War II broke out, she returned to her roots, working at the shipyards in the Duluth/ Superior area in the business office.

Bill McGillivray had just returned from his service as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. Dale Wiltermuth, Bill's brother-in-law, was driving up to Superior to buy a car from Betty's father, John. Bill rode along to drive the car back to Staples the next day. That evening, at John and Sophia's house, Bill asked their lovely young daughter that he met there for a cup of coffee. Betty made a pot of coffee for the two of them and they sat up all night talking at her parent's kitchen table. Bill always said he knew that night that she was "The One". It only took Betty and her lifelong partner and soul mate four months to decide to spend the rest of their lives together. On February 22, 1946, Betty married her war hero at the minister's house, with Betty's brother Doug and Bill's sister Mackie standing up for them. The couple moved back to Staples where Bill went to work for the railroad and Betty was employed at Batcher's Department Store. Betty and Bill both always laughed at their short courtship and happy marriage of nearly 60 years and said, "It was more luck than sense". However, if you knew them well, you may agree with many others who believe it was truly destiny. Their complete devotion to each other made them "an amazing team".

Throughout her life, Betty dedicated her time and her life to her family; those related and those they chose to make family. Betty walked dogs and ponies, nursed skinned knees and broken hearts and hauled loads of kids to the swimming lake. Betty and Bill were indeed a team; a firm foundation for many in our shifting sands world. Together, they fed the hungry, lent a hand to the needy and consistently opened their home and their hearts to family, friends and others who needed them and their compassion and generosity.

Betty loved to read poetry at the breakfast table, to sing in the car on road trips and to gaze at the stars at night. She made wine, went fishing and built houses. Betty was a master at multi-tasking to provide care and entertainment for her own and other people's children. Her creativity was challenged and soared as she helped kids complete homework, invent science projects and successfully navigate the complex demands of childhood and adolescence. She always listened and people knew she cared.

Betty's intelligent, thoughtful and articulate observations, her quick and witty conversational comebacks and honest, colorful truisms added depth and meaning to our complicated, confusing world. She offered validation, empowerment and respect to all with whom she came in contact.

Betty gave generously of her time and money, invested wisely in peoples' lives and held true to her core values and beliefs. Betty and Bill did "Live, Laugh, and Love" . Actively involved in her faith and her Christian service through the Congregational Church in Staples, she taught Sunday School, served on the church board and worked a multitude of weddings, funerals and bazaars. While Betty knitted mittens and made craft items for the church bazaar, their donation of a pony for the yearly men's club auction brought a few raised eyebrows and lot of chuckles from their church family. It always sold for a good price.

Betty and Bill retired to their lake cabin on Fish Trap Lake and eventually to Sauer Lake where they hosted a multitude of gatherings with family and friends. "Resort Grandma and Grandpa" created favorite memories for their grandkids, nieces, nephews and friends. Wintering in Arizona, they loved their marathon card games and enjoyed outdoor activities and travel experiences in the mild weather.

Betty is survived by her son Robert (Lynn) McGillivray of Northfield, MN; Daughters Cindy (Robert) Wightman of San Tan Valley, AZ; Brenda (Jon) Christensen of Rochert, MN and Julie Stenen (Paul Mattson) of Lake Park, MN; numerous grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband Bill, brother Doug, grandson Ricky, and great-grandson Hunter.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Betty McGillivray, please visit our flower store.


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