Betty Ellen (Smith) Morey (98), of Ramsey MN, ascended into Heaven on November 26, 2022. She was attended by her son John Morey Northwood and his wife Mary along with her daughter Nancy Bauer and Nancy’s husband Randy as she made her peaceful transition.
Betty was born at home on March 19, 1924 in Michigan City, Indiana to Fern Wesley Smith and Gladys Baker Smith. She lived in Michigan City through high school, except for a time during late infancy through pre-school, when she stayed with her grandparents, John and Lucinda Baker, on the family farm in Rensselaer, because both of her parents had to work full-time. There were 4 other children in that home to keep her company until her parents came to visit on the weekends. This family farm provided a home base for extended visits on weekends and in the summertime throughout her school years.
The day after Betty graduated from high school she moved to St Louis, MO with her parents. There, she attended the Sanford Business College from 1942-1944, completing coursework for an AA degree in Business Administration. However, the men in her class were granted a degree in Business Administration and the women were granted a degree for Advanced Secretary, which was probably one of the catalysts for her becoming a champion of equal rights and social justice throughout her life.
She met her husband, Arvid Elwood Morey (Al), at Centenary Methodist Church where she and a group of women served free meals to soldiers on Sunday nights. That was followed by group excursions on other days to the zoo, out on the river boat, and roller skating through-out the church building. They stayed in touch after Betty moved back to Indiana and started classes through Purdue in 1945 with a goal of becoming a social worker. Betty and Al continued to write, discovering their love for each other, and got married after Betty finished her first year at Purdue. Their wedding was September 15, 1946 at the Christian Church in Michigan City, IN. After their honeymoon, Betty and Al moved to Madison, WI where she worked for the Wisconsin State Legislature for the next 2 years and was assigned to the Committee on Municipal Transportation. During this time Al was in seminary studying to become a Methodist Minister.
And then the children began to arrive. Barbara Ellen was born in 1948, Nancy JoAnne in 1950, Jean Idella in 1952, Susan Gladys in 1955, David Wesley in 1958 and John Thomas in 1963. Despite being derailed from school and her career, Betty loved family more than everything else. Her eyes would light up when any of her children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren came to visit. However, all of her children knew that they had a mandate from the moment they entered first grade. Each would go to college and study something that led to a career and no one would get her blessing to be married until after they graduated from college.
In order to initially meet the requirements of the Methodist Church Conference and later to be near children, Betty and Al moved many times in their married life. The places they called home included: Evanston IL; Madison, Waldwick, Rice Lake, Cumberland, Durand, New Richmond, Marshfield, Suring, Salem, and Wonewoc, WI; then their RV, and finally in St Cloud, White Bear Lake and Ramsey, MN.
Until her last child finished school, Betty was kept busy with all their activities and whatever else she was called upon to do as the local pastor’s wife. She excelled as the Church Secretary, Sunday School Superintendent and was the one who wrote and directed the Christmas and Easter Pageants each year.
When her family seemed stably situated, she first went back to school in Green Bay from 1980-81 and then shocked the elderly ladies of the church when she went to live in the dorms on weekdays at Stout State in Menomonie for a year and came home only on the weekends. As a result, she earned a certificate in Peer Counseling and her children gained a huge degree of respect for her. Betty quickly moved from supervisor to management positions through her work with Judicare NewCap Community Action Program, Wisconsin Nutrition Project and Wisconsin Coalition of Aging Groups. She loved her work and always went an extra step in making sure those she supervised and attended to were fed, clothed and felt cared for.
In retirement, Betty was thrilled to have more time to be with her beloved children and their offspring. Her children are: Barbara Morey, Nancy Bauer (Randy), Jean Morey (Rand Daley), Susan Homolka (Jeff), David Winkler Morey (Anne) and John Morey Northwood (Mary Mengel). Her grandchildren are: Rebekah Howe (Silas Holm), the daughter of Barbara; Heidi Bauer Clapp (Jay), Chad and Lauer (Laura), Cindy Windau (Mina), Holly Bauer (Zach Fenhaus), and Troy Bauer (Melissa), the children of Nancy and Randy; Stephen Spates (Heather), Ryan Spates, Heather Daley (partner Virginia Lagerstam), and Sierra Daley, the children of Jean and Rand; Emily Winkler Morey (partner Lluvia Alcázar), the child of David and Anne; and Ben (partner Olivia Faller), Jonah and Isaac Morey Northwood, the children of John and Mary. Her great-grandchildren are: Eli, child of Heidi and Jay; Cora, Mason and Sadie, children of Chad and Laura; Liam, child of Cindy and Mina; Kaylee and Makenna, children of Stephen and Heather; Dakota and Buddy, children of Ryan; and Hazel, child of Heather.
Betty is also survived by her dear sister Delores Anderson (married Robert) and sisters-in-law Ruth Morey (married Dane) and Caroline Smith (married Don), who kept close contact with her until the very end, and her brother-in-law Carl Morey (married Barbara), as well as her beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband Arvid Morey, parents Fern and Gladys Smith, her brother Don Smith (and wives Jean and Bonnie), Al’s brothers Randy Morey (and wife Rachel) and Dane Morey, Al’s Sister Elaine (and husband Howard Palmer), Betty and Al’s brother-in-law Robert Anderson (married Delores), son-in-law Waldo Spates (known as Buddy, married Jean and father of Ryan and Stephen), son-in-law David Bennett (married Barbara), son-in law David Howe (married Barbara and father of Rebekah), as well as many aunts, uncles, and cousins, all of whom she loved dearly.
Her interests included genealogy, current events, good books, neighbors & friends, travelling, walking, and camping with her family. She stayed alert and engaged for as long as she could, even writing a book about her life story during the last couple of years. Those who knew her best would describe her most outstanding characteristics as being her children’s advocate, a champion for social justice, a loving mother/grandmother/great grandmother and above all, as one who had the most delightful laughter and smile. She will be greatly missed by young and old alike.
There will be a Celebration of Life for Betty Morey at the United Methodist Church
in White Bear Lake Minnesota on July 8, 2023 at 11am.
Those who wish the submit a memorial, please do so
in the name of Betty Morey, to your local Food Shelf or Women’s Shelter