Bette Wilson

Bette Gene Wilson, avid quilter, painter, writer, gardener and poet, decided to leave this earth and take up residence in a slightly more upscale, gated-community complete with personal greeter, June 12, 2013.

Bette was born in a sod house on the flat, treeless Kansas prairie, May 23, 1920, the third and rather spoiled daughter of a German farmer and his talented, Scot wife, John and Alice (Morton) Stiner. Bette attended a rural one-room school house where she learned at an early age that she was smart – which gave her time to pursue the more creative side of her personality, famously demonstrated in the 1926 poison ivy incident, where she found out she could touch poison ivy without repercussion , but her classmates could not. She rode ponies, skated on winter pond ice, played piano, sang songs with her mother and played make-believe in the limestone and chalk canyons below her home. She was never idle, never without a project.

Bette, once the dances, boot-leg runs, USO's and sexy 40's were nearly done; turned her considerable talents to raising six children, all of whom turned out unnaturally incredible. Those years brought homework, story games, playing outside until dark, sitting down to supper and May Day that never came with a Dixie cup and pipe-cleaner, but a project that was above and beyond the average May-Day giver. She was never idle, never without a project.

In later years, she was a member of the Sod House Society, wrote poetry for the Senior Citizen newsletter, contributed to a weekly radio show and was asked to put together a book of the most memorable stories the Holdrege Senior Citizen members could volunteer. And much like her May Day baskets, she spent months interviewing, writing and editing, eventually titling the collection, "Whispers of Yesterday." A huge success, she went on to publish a book of her poems, "Little Rhymes." She was often known to provide blistering public comment in the "letter to the editor," but always done in rhyme, earning her the pen name, "the Mad Poet." She was never idle, never without a project.

She was preceded in death by three children: Michelle Hetrick, Melodie Sturgis-Meester and J.D. Wilson; her husband, John Wilson; her parents; and sisters: Ruth and Pearl; and one granddaughter, Kim Phelps. Surviving are three children: Bob Bowles and his wife, Cheryl of Broken Bow, Nebraska, Ginger Booth and her husband, Kent of Central City, Nebraska, Scott Wilson of Minden, Nebraska; nine, impossibly brilliant and accomplished grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Until the moment of her death, Bette could always be found at home with a book in hand, a grocery list being made or a poem being rhymed – she was never idle, never without a project and isn't that a wonderful way to go?

Expressions of caring and kindness can be sent to the family at

The Nelson-Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege, Nebraska is in charge of the arrangements.

© 2014 Rural Radio Network. All rights reserved. Republishing, rebroadcasting, rewriting, redistributing prohibited. Copyright Information