Betty Ruth (Stevens) Porter, 86, of Atlantic, Cass County, entered eternal life on April 8, 2014. "When peace like a river attendeth my way; It is well, it is well with my soul."
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Although Betty Porter lived in Iowa for most of her adult life, southern Missouri was the place that she fondly referred to as "Home." As the following example illustrates, Betty's slight 'accent,' or, regional dialect, still reflected her roots:
Betty was impassioned to learn more about her ancestry, and whenever her daughter, Cathy, shared bits and pieces of newly-discovered *genealogy treasure* with her Momma about their "Missouree" ancestors, Betty's blue eyes sparkled and she would laughingly remind her daughter, "People who grow up 'down south' know that it's really pronounced 'Missouruh.' (And so it goes)"
Betty's parents had both been raised near Webb City, Jasper County, Missouri. Her grandparents, Edward Marshall Bisbee Stevens and Ella Nichols Childers, were married October 4, 1908, in McDonald County. (SOURCE: Marriage cited in Timothy Hopkins book, ''John Hopkins of Cambridge, Mass., and some of His Descendants;'' page 589). Her Hopkins ancestors migrated to Missouri between 1850 and 1860. Their Childers ancestors migrated from Tennessee to Missouri, on December 3, 1837. (Source: "Goodspeeds History of McDonald & Newton County, Missouri;" page 103).
Betty is a direct descendant of Mayflower Pilgrim William Brewster through her Stevens / Childers / Hopkins / Rudd / Brewster ancestry. Her ancestral line can be traced generation-by-generation, in the above-referenced book, by Timothy Hopkins.
Betty Ruth Stevens was born Aug. 5, 1927, in Kansas City, Mo., and was raised by her grandfather, Edward M.B. Stevens, near Joplin, Jasper County, Mo. She attended the Greenwood Country School, in Newton County, through the 8th grade. Betty also attended the Greenwood Baptist Church, where she came to the Lord. Betty graduated from Seneca High School and then participated in coursework at a local business school, where she acquired bookkeeping and office management skills that she utilized throughout her life.
Betty married Ross Joseph Porter on Dec. 30, 1946, in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. They first settled near Cumberland; and later purchased forty acres near Mount Etna, in Adams County. Betty and Ross became the parents of two sons and three daughters, who all took great delight in listening to their extraordinary Momma, sing, play the piano, and yodel.
Betty›s children were the joy of her life, and she loved them unconditionally.
Betty was a homemaker and Momma Extraordinaire!
Over the years she was also employed in a variety of settings: Police & Sheriff Department Dispatcher/Jailer, police matron, office work, and businesswoman. Betty was an entrepreneur; she developed and operated a business raising and selling purebred cats. Betty purchased, operated, and paid for an 80-acre crop farm.
Betty strongly believed in equal rights for all, social and environmental justice. Decades before the «Lilly Ledbetter Act,» Betty successfully advocated for a woman›s right to Equal Pay for Equal Work. Betty enjoyed nature, flowers, gardening and feeding the birds. After reading "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson in the early 1960s, Betty became very concerned about the environment and world pollution. «Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.» --Silent Spring, 1962.
Our Momma was a life-long Democrat. However, she was never the type of mother who required "Litmus Tests" of her offspring; so, her sons and daughters were always encouraged to choose their own paths. As a result, her children were a diverse group of Democrats, Republicans, and everything in between. She accepted and loved us, just as we are.
Betty is survived by her three daughters, Cathy Porter-Maynard and her husband, David Maynard of Minnesota, Cheri and her husband, Mike Pross of Montana, and Anita and her husband, Martin Mundorf of Iowa; daughter-in-law, Marlene Porter of Texas; an abundance of grandchildren, cousins, and treasured friends.
Betty was preceded in death by her father and mother; her two sons, Robert Luther Porter and Richard Allen "Rick" Porter, her children's father, Ross Porter, and other beloved Porter relatives. Betty was also preceded in death by many precious Stevens / Childers / Shirk / Daniels / and Hopkins family members, including Edward and Ethel [Hurt] Stevens, half-sister, Ruby (Stevens) Swatsenbarg; and half-brothers, Cecil Stevens and Vernon Stevens, etc. Also preceding her in death was an array of Strech relatives that Betty had always longed to know better, whom she will finally become acquainted with, in Heaven.
As a family, we would like to give our sincere thanks to the Atlantic Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and to the Greenfield staff of the Iowa Care Initiatives Hospice Team. Betty was tenderly and lovingly cared for by the "adoptive family" of these two wonderful organizations. Betty's family will be forever grateful for the gentle kindness that was provided to our mother and for the support provided to our family.
BURIAL: Betty believed in being a good steward of the earth and chose cremation. Private interment of ashes will take place at the Reno Methodist Cemetery, rural Cumberland, Cass County. "Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." (Eulogy excerpt, from the 'Book of Common Prayer.' Also see: Genesis 3:19). Betty's ashes will be interred near her youngest son, Robert Luther Porter, and her mother, Minnie Stevens Judy.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations may be made in Betty's name, to the "Reno Methodist Cemetery," to help with the ongoing maintenance of the cemetery. Address: Dan Schrier, (Edna Township Clerk), 72031 690th Street, Cumberland, Iowa 50843.
Hockenberry Family Care in Atlantic, is in charge of the arrangements. Heaven is sweeter. The earth is emptier. With tears we rejoice for Betty.
A "Celebration of Life" memorial service will be held Sept. 13, 2014, at 10:30 a.m., at the Hockenberry Family Care Center, in Atlantic. All who knew and loved Betty are warmly invited to attend.
Hockenberry Family Care Funeral Home - Atlantic
1804 East 7th Street
Atlantic, IA 50022
Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from June 27 to July 4, 2014