Betty Lou (Monson) Miller went to meet her heavenly Father peacefully on July 3, 2018 in St. Paul, MN. Betty was born on July 4th, 1934 in Cooperstown, ND to Margaret & Melfred Monson. Betty was the oldest of seven children and spent her younger years playing and helping on the farm. Growing up Betty was an avid reader and was sometimes teased by her brothers and sisters for being such a bookworm. Betty was also a great shot, winning first prize in a black bird shooting contest when she was a teenager. After graduating from high school Betty left the farm to pursue a career in nursing in Minneapolis, MN. Her mother would say later that she was kind of relieved when Betty left home, as some of the adventures Betty and her younger brothers and sisters pursued were a little too daring! Her mother would also say how surprised everyone was that Betty decided on nursing as a career because as a child Betty was very squeamish about blood, and to that my mother would always say that was why she took up nursing; the fear of blood was something she wanted to overcome!
While at nursing school, she met John C. Miller on a college double date, they were in opposite couples. They dated as John entered the military. A couple of months before Betty graduated, she took a train down to South Carolina to visit John and they were married on June 7, 1955. Betty returned to finish nursing school before she traveled back to South Carolina to rejoin her husband who was now flying planes for the Air Force.
During their marriage Betty and John lived in Lake Mills, Iowa and in Fridley, Minnesota and together they raised four children, the first being born when John was still in the Military. While living in Fridley, when her children were growing up, she always made sure we all enjoyed a week or two vacation up at a Leech Lake Minnesota Resort. In her later years she would always take any opportunity to return to Leech Lake to see how things had changed over the years and reconnect with old vacation friends.
Betty believed in education, and while her children were in college she went back to college, too, and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) from Moorhead State University. Betty worked as an operating room nurse at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids for many years and was a proud member of the hospital cardiac team in her later years.
Betty also had a wit, and would do crazy things. She loved making Halloween costumes, not only for her children, but later for herself. Working at the Hospital allowed her to surprise her co-workers with costumes which disguised her identity, the Pink Panther, a Wizard, or a Court Jester were some of her favorites. She would surprise even her brother by enlisting her sisters to crash his party as a trio of Hawaiian beauties.
She loved to travel, taking driving vacations with her young family and then started flying to Hawaii in the early 1970’s with her husband John, children, and friends from Mercy Hospital.
After retirement, Betty built a home in Big Lake, Minnesota and lived there for many years enjoying time with her brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren.
As luck would have it, in her 70’s, Betty had the opportunity to live in Kailua, Hawaii for 6 years with her daughter’s family. She loved the warm Island weather, trade wind breezes and the beautiful beaches. In some of those years she would return to Minnesota for the summers to stay connected to family and friends. Betty didn’t like the Minnesota winter’s much and loved to return to her Hawaiian home in the fall. Living in Hawaii had always been a dream of hers and she cherished every minute of her time there. In 2010 Betty’s Hawaiian adventure came to an end as they all had to return to Minnesota.
One of Betty’s lifelong hobbies was raising monarch butterflies, she spent many hours each year searching for the caterpillars, collecting milkweed leaves for the caterpillars to eat, cleaning their jars and tracking their growth. She had many canning jars, but never canned anything! She loved watching the chrysalis form at the top of the jar on the screen and was always excited at the emergence of the butterfly. She pursued this hobby all of her life. In Hawaii, she had a screened in porch which was her butterfly nursery. Eventually the butterflies would make it out the door on their own.
In her later years Betty volunteered at the Como Park Carousel. She always loved Como Park and made annual visits to the Como Park Conservatory Flower Show with her family at Easter. She found great joy in volunteering at the Carousel and continued to do so as long as she was able.
Betty was a devoted mother, attending all her children and grandchildren’s events with pride and encouragement. Even with some of her children distant (Seattle and Ohio), she always enjoyed hearing about their families, especially the grandkids and what they were doing. It was her mission to be a teaching Grandmother, imparting wisdom about manners, cooking and baking skills, and encouraging a faithful life with the Lord.
Family meant everything to her and she will be dearly missed. She is a woman of great faith, steadfast in her religious beliefs and practices.
Betty is preceded in death by her parents, Margaret and Melfred, brother David, sister Gayle, and granddaughter Julia. She is survived by her brothers Albert and Lee, sisters Irene and Laurie, children Teresa, Katherine, Natalie and Tony and 11 grandchildren.
Her Celebration of Life will be on 23-July-2018 at Community of Grace Church (4000 Linden Street) in White Bear Lake, MN 55110. Visitation will be at 10:30 with the service at 11:30 and luncheon afterwards. Memorial contributions for Betty can be made to Doctors Without Borders (doctorswithoutborders.org), as she believed every person deserves access to medical treatment no matter where they live.
A Memorial Service will be held on Monday, July 23rd, 11:30 am a with visitation one hour prior at the Community of Grace Lutheran Church, 4000 Linden Street, White Bear Lake, MN 55110. A luncheon and time of fellowship will follow the service at the church. Private interment.