Betty Jane (Fritz) Raife died peacefully on October 15 at Kavanagh House in Des Moines. She will be greatly missed and long remembered by family and friends.
Betty was born in Des Moines on March 10, 1923 to Collin and Gladys Fritz. She was a middle child, having an older brother Collin Jr. and a younger sister Mary. Betty started school at Hanawalt Elementary and went on to graduate from Roosevelt High School in 1941. From 1941 to 1945 she attended Grinnell College earning a degree in social work with a minor in physical education. She very much enjoyed her time at Grinnell and left with many lifelong friendships and an enduring fondness for her Alma Mater.
In 1948 Betty met John Raife on a blind date while working as a social worker in Estherville Iowa. In June of the following year they married and set up household in Des Moines where John joined the Dickinson law firm. Four sons quickly followed: John Jr. Theodore, James, and Thomas.
Although by today's standards, Betty would be considered a "stay at home" Mom, those who knew her would find this description amusing. She was never one to let the grass grow beneath her feet. Family came first, but in Betty's mind, not necessarily limiting. Her involvement in numerous charitable, educational, and church groups earned her the appreciation and respect of all who served with her. She spent time on the boards of Plymouth Place, Wesley Acres, and served as president of Blank Children's Hospital Guild. She was a lifelong member of P.E.O. and Des Moines Antique Club. Plymouth UCC Church, where she spent countless volunteer hours, always held a special place in Betty's heart. She was always willing to do whatever needed to be done.
Betty also led a busy and varied social life. She enjoyed the company of people and her circle of friends and acquaintances was large.
In her free time, Betty loved to garden. A small greenhouse added to her residence allowed her to pursue this activity year round. As her sons married and started families, child care became one her favorite pastimes. She felt blessed by her thirteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and they were always more than welcome at Grandma Betty's house.
In her later years, Betty's activities were slowed by the gradual onset of Alzheimer's disease. But thankfully, she never lost her quick wit, sense of humor, and kind manner.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband John, and her two siblings. She is survived by a large, loving and appreciative family with many wonderful memories.
A memorial service for Betty will be held on Friday, November 30, at 11 a.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church with a reception to follow.
Memorial contributions can be made in her name to the Food Bank of Iowa.