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Betty Anne Willemssen

Jun 13, 2014

Betty Anne (McMillan) Willemssen, age 93, an Estherville native and longtime resident of Clarion, Iowa, entered eternal life June 5, 2014, at Hillcrest Country Estates in Papillion, Neb.

Betty was born in 1920 to Dr. Harold L. and Alma M. (Wiese) McMillan in Estherville, where her father practiced veterinary medicine until his retirement in 1951. She spent her childhood in Estherville and at the family cottage “Casa Loma” along the east shore of Spirit Lake. Betty graduated from Estherville High School with the Class of 1938 and remained close throughout life with many of her hometown friends.

After attending Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., she earned a B.S. in Home Economics from Iowa State University in 1943. Betty married ISU classmate Raymond M. Willemssen of Rock Rapids in 1946. She briefly taught high school and was a substitute teacher for many years, but her primary calling was as wife and mother. She was a strong supporter of Ray in his 40-year career with the Rural Electrification Administration, including 30 years as general manager of the REC in Clarion.

Betty created a home that nurtured her children and welcomed their friends.

Betty was a 72-year member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood (Chapter FS), a longtime member of American Association of University Women, and a genealogist alongside Ray for 25 years. She lived her faith and was a true Methodist “church basement lady,” filling many roles in UMW and the boards, classes, choir and committees.

Betty was preceded in death by her parents (1967 & 1993); husband (1993); brother, Dr. Mac H. McMillan; nephew David R. McMillan (1987), Winchester, Mass.; and adopted sister, Dorothea Fuller.

Betty is survived by her son, Mac (Judy) Willemssen, Chaska, Minn.; daughter, Anne (Kim) McKeown, Council Bluffs; twin granddaughters, Jessica Willemssen, Chaska, Minn., and Amanda (Alex) Ely, Omaha, Neb.

Cremation has taken place, and no public visitation or service is planned. A family graveside service will be held later this year at Riverview Cemetery, Rock Rapids. Memorials are suggested to First United Methodist Church, 201 Third Ave NE, Clarion, IA. Guest book and condolences may be shared at www.cutleroneill.com.