Elizabeth Buchan (Betty) Whitley

Elizabeth (Betty) Buchan Whitley

Fort Collins, CO

Elizabeth (Betty) Buchan Whitley, 93, of Fort Collins, CO, died peacefully at home on March 14, 2014. She was born in Minneapolis on May 14, 1920 and was raised there by William Pennefather Buchan of London, England and Jane Buchan of Aberdeen, Scotland.

She is survived by older sister, Jean McDermid, 95, of Edina, MN; son, Chester (Chet) Whitley and fiancée, Jeanine Utz of St. Paul, MN; daughters, Susan Whitley and Mary Whitley Brophy, and Mary's husband, Mark of Fort Collins, CO; and daughter, Carol Whitley of Marina Del Rey, CA.

The greatest love of her life was Gerald (Gerry) Rodman Whitley, of Morehead City, NC, whom she married in 1943. They raised 4 children in Minneapolis, MN and Urbandale, IA. Gerry died of cancer in 1975 and Betty remained unmarried the remainder of her life.

Betty earned a B.S. in Medical Technology in 1941 from the University of Minnesota, and was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority. She worked as a medical laboratory technician in Arizona, North Carolina, and Minnesota in the 1940's, and founded a medical diagnostic laboratory with 3 other women.

Betty and Gerry raised a family in the 1950's and 60's. They were avid bridge players and enjoyed camping and boating in the lakes of Minnesota and surrounding states. They traveled as far as Canada and Florida for boating excursions. Betty and Gerry designed and built a weekend and vacation cabin in Crosslake, Minnesota that their family enjoyed for many years. Betty was actively involved in Republican Party politics in Minnesota and Iowa. She was an avid sewer and passed her sewing skills and love of décor to her daughters.

Betty founded Transceiver Centers of Iowa in 1969, a pioneer in the 1960's use of fax machine networks in the trucking industry. She employed her teenage daughters at Transceiver, a valuable experience that propelled them in their prosperous careers in real estate, software, event production, and hospitality management. She served as President of the PTA and was devoted to the upbringing of her children and proud her son became a medical doctor. Chet has been a researcher specializing in pediatric genetic diseases for several decades at the university where his mother, Betty earned her medical degree.

Betty sold her business in 1989 and enjoyed 25 years of retirement. She relocated to Fort Collins, CO to be near her daughters in 2004. Her health was generally good prior to the last year of her life: she was able to walk and her mind was lucid until her death. Her vision and hearing were unimpaired until she was 92, enabling her to enjoy a favorite activity, driving a car, to visit her family spread all over the country.

Her family gathered in Ft. Collins for a private ceremony. Memorials to: Macular Degeneration Fund, Dept of Ophthalmology, U of MN Foundation in care of Bohlender Funeral Chapel, 121 W. Olive, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524. Friends may send condolences to the family at bohlenderfuneralchapel.com.

Funeral Home

Bohlender Funeral Chapel
121 W. Olive Street Fort Collins, CO 80524
(970) 482-4244

Published in Des Moines Register on Mar. 26, 2014