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Betty Louise (Terry) Pieper

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Betty Louise (Terry) Pieper Obituary
Betty Louise (Terry) Pieper was born in Wolf Lake, IL in December, 1940 to Otis Earl and Hazel Marie (Rumfelt) Terry. Otis was of French and Cherokee descent and made his living as a farmer and a barge worker on the Mighty Mississippi River. Hazel was of German descent and was a homemaker and mother to eleven children. Betty was born the seventh child of these eleven children. Being the first daughter made her a very special addition to the family.
As the older daughter, she was the caregiver to her younger siblings. When Betty was age 2 1/2, the house the family was living in at Wolf Lake was flooded by the raging Mississippi River. The home and land was destroyed when the river changed course and the location of the home is now likely the center of the river bed. The family had to evacuate across the river to Fiona, Missouri on a paddle boat named the Tom Sawyer.
A fond memory regarding this river crossing was her father holding her up to pull the steam whistle to entertain the other passengers. The family rented a house at Moccasin Springs, Missouri on the banks of the Mississippi River, which allowed the children to run to the banks to their father when the barge he worked on traveled up or down the rive. The family eventually settled in Neeley's Landing, Missouri.
The house at Neeley's Landing was next to the river and was subject to flooding. This forced the family to live in the upstairs and tie a Jon boat to the upper window as a means of transportation. This home was also next to the railroad tracks. When the trains would run, many a hobo could be seen walking the tracks. The passing trains would profusely rattle the little house and the loud noise sent a young Betty to hide under the bed.
She attended a very small school with her brothers, walking approximately two miles on a narrow dirt road. The trees canopied over the road and made it quite dark in these Ozark hills. This land eventually became known as the Trail of Tears State Park; which commemorates the forced evacuation of the great Cherokee tribes to Oklahoma. She was always proud of her Cherokee heritage. Her schooling continued in the town of Jackson, Missouri, where after school hours, she had a job as a car hop and babysitter.
The next adventurous chapter of her life began when she met the love of her life, Louis Pieper. Months later she was taken to the airport by her brother, Charlie and mother. This was the first time she was more than 100 miles from home. Her first ever airplane ride was to Germany. They were married in July, 1961 in a military base chapel in Karlsruhe, Germany. They immersed themselves in the German community, learning the language and culture and making many friends. They traveled as much as possible to other countries throughout Europe. Within six weeks of their marriage, the construction of the Berlin Wall was underway. In August of 1961, the military was on top alert, because the East Germans began building the wall with the Soviet's backing.
Louis was sent to defend military targets and Betty was prepared to evacuate to either England or the U. S. with all other military wives and children. They started out together thousands of miles from their families and had only each other to depend on. This bond only grew stronger as they forged on and set up the little family home. As their time in Germany ended, she once again set off across the Atlantic alone to briefly reunite with her Missouri family and await his arrival back to the states.
Once reunited, Louis drove her to Colorado to meet his family for the very first time. The couple bought and settled three miles southeast of Akron. That became their little nest in the west on the old Louis R. Hottinger homestead. Together they started a farming and cattle ranch, where they remained for over 51 years. To this union were born seven children. She made sure to raise her children in the Catholic faith and also created a great sense of pride in their Cherokee background.
As her children began to leave home, she was finally able to pursue her life long childhood dream to become a nurse. It was in her nature to care for others and she was never afraid to take chances. While earning her nurse's degree, she worked at odd jobs until she was able to finish school. Betty first earned her Certified Nursing Assistant, then her Licensed Practical Nurse and later returned to earn her long awaited Registered Nurse degree. She worked in hospitals and nursing homes in Brush, Akron, Yuma, Fort Morgan and Sterling, CO and McAllen, TX. Her favorite place of employment was at the correctional facility in Sterling.
She was affiliated with St. Joseph Catholic Church, Altar and Rosary Society, Phi Theta Kappa sorority and the Red Hat Society. She participated as much as her busy home and work life allowed. She enjoyed cleaning the church and then spending time in fellowship with her fellow cleaners. Betty also enjoyed the tea parties with the sorority; which was a great chance for her to visit with other women in the community. She truly enjoyed working and associating with her many friends in the nursing profession in Northeastern Colorado.
The couple began to spend long vacations in the Rio Grande Valley. This eventually led to the purchase of a comfortable home in the area where they would spend their winters. While there, she became involved in the local community, doing arts and crafts. As with all mothers with pride, she would often remark that five of her seven children were in the United States Navy. At one point she had one child stationed at each of the four corners of the United States and one in the Mediterranean Sea. Cumulatively her children served a total of 55 years in the service to their country. The other two were truck drivers, who drove extensively in the U. S. from coast to coast.
The years continued to roll by and they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary May of 2012. Betty passed from this world peacefully and free of pain on April 10, 2013 at the hospice facility, Comfort House, Casa del Consuelo in McAllen, Texas.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents, Otis and Hazel; her brothers, Norman, George, Carroll, Donald, Roy, Richard; and her infant daughter Molly. She is survived by her husband, Louis; her children Sam, Heidi, Brett, Rex, Max, Kenneth and Monty; 14 grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; her brother, Charles; and sisters Barbara, Marion and Martha. Betty is now in her grave awaiting her resurrection through Jesus Christ our Lord!!!!! ***Amen***
Published in Akron News-Reporter on May 1, 2013
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