WOODSTOCK – Betty Ann Tuft, 95, of Woodstock and formerly of McHenry, died Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, at Valley Hi Nursing Home.|
Born Feb. 26, 1917, in Chicago, to Charles F. and Grace B. (Sheen) Miller, Betty was raised and educated in the North Austin neighborhood of Chicago. She graduated from Austin High School in 1935, and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from the University of Illinois in 1939.
On Sept. 23, 1950, she married Harry Andrew "Andy" Tuft at the North Austin Lutheran Church in Chicago. They purchased a home on the Fox River in McHenry County, first summering there before becoming year-round residents. On April 29, 1955, they expanded their family through the adoption of their infant son, Edward Charles, born in Melrose Park on Aug. 19, 1954.
After Andy's death in 1980, Betty moved away from the river to nearby Johnsburg where she taught elementary school, and in later years, was a substitute teacher with the Johnsburg school district. In 1988, Betty suffered another loss when her only son, Edward, died at the age of 34.
For a while, Betty was an active attender of the Upper Fox Valley Quaker meetings and later a longtime member of Mt. Hope United Methodist Church in Johnsburg where she made many friendships over the years. After a stroke in 2007, she became a resident of Valley Hi Nursing Home in Woodstock. While there, she regularly participated in bingo, card games, field trips and even bowling activities from her wheelchair.
Betty also remained politically active by writing letters to several local, state and national politicians including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Richard Durbin about such issues as the war in Iraq, nuclear power plants, the environment and fiscal responsibility – and received written replies from all of them.
Interests during her lifetime included American history, genealogy for her family and traveling throughout the United States. On occasion, she visited Nashville, Tenn., and Branson, Mo., where she enjoyed the country music, and also took several trips to visit her relatives in California and Hawaii.
On a number of Thanksgiving holidays, she went to Pennsylvania via train to visit with Nancy Morrell, her very close friend, who used to live in McHenry. Betty was an avid reader and loved to save interesting newspaper and magazine articles, not to mention recycling leftover bread and crackers at Valley Hi for the chickens at the Howenstine farm. She volunteered for years as an AARP tax preparer and was an accomplished "senior bowler," once bowling an incredible 235 game at the age of 79.
Betty is survived by her grandson, David (Amy) Konstantinow of Wonder Lake; sister, Dorothy M. (the late Rev. Franklin) Swanson of Cupertino, Calif.; nephew, Franklin (Beverly) Swanson of Cupertino; niece, Barbara Sheen of Lincoln, Calif.; three great-nephews, Jeffrey (Katherine) Swanson of Sunnyvale, Calif., Scott Sheen of Las Vegas and Brian Sheen of Lincoln, Calif.; one great-niece, Jennifer Swanson of Sunnyvale, Calif.; and cousins, Eugene Vincent of Genoa City, Wis., and Margi Wischoeffer of Kenosha, Wis.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Harry "Andy" Tuft, on March 18, 1980; and her son, Edward Tuft, on Oct. 22, 1988.
Friends may visit from 9:30 a.m. until a brief prayer service at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Justen Funeral Home & Crematory, 3700 W. Charles J. Miller Road, McHenry. Private entombment will follow in Woodland Cemetery, McHenry. A memorial service in celebration of Betty's life will be held this spring at Mt. Hope United Methodist Church in Johnsburg.
For information, call the funeral home at 815-385-2400, or visit www.justenfh.com, where friends may leave an online condolence message for her family.
Published in the Northwest Herald on Jan. 20, 2013