Betty Dennis Kahler, 81, died peacefully at home in Williamsburg on Oct. 25 after an extended struggle with cancer.
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Mrs. Kahler was born Oct. 12, 1931 in her grandfather's hospital at Waurika, Oklahoma, and initially lived in Broken Arrow, the second and youngest daughter of G.V. Dennis and Helen Gould Collins Dennis. As a young child, her family moved to Tulsa, where she spent her childhood living on Braden Street. She had a happy childhood, and recalled collecting scrap metal for the war cause.
She graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1949 and attended the University of Oklahoma in Norman in pre-med. There she met the love of her life, Don Scott Kahler, a senior, chemical engineering major and "Big Man on Campus" and was "pinned" with his Acacia fraternity pin on January 30, 1950. Betty and Don were married on October 21, 1951 in Tulsa and honeymooned in New Orleans. In 1952, the Kahlers moved to Fort Belvoir, Virginia where Don was stationed in the Army. After Don returned from Korea, the two moved to Lake Jackson, Texas where they spent the next 53 happy years. Their only child, Lynn Elaine Kahler Rogerson was born there in 1954 and the family attended Chapelwood Methodist Church.
In 1975, she and Don moved to Salvador, Brazil for 3 years, where Don was transferred with the Dow Chemical Company. She immersed herself in the country's art and culture, and learned to speak Portuguese. Subsequent postings took them to Stade, Germany and Bahia Blanca, Argentina – and in each place, she enthusiastically absorbed the local culture.
Betty spent some years as the Executive Secretary of the Pan American Allergy Society. She was a fabulous homemaker, and her family was all the richer for it. She was an excellent cook, entertainer, decorator, gardener and seamstress, and had a natural love of art and travel.
In 2003, Betty and Don moved to Williamsburg to be near their daughter and her family. Betty was active in the Garden Club and a member of Wellspring United Methodist Church and the Old Dominion Packard Club. Her granddaughter, Olivia Kingsley Rogerson, lived with them every summer. Attending swim meets, horseback riding lessons, and supervising summer studies in French and piano kept Betty young.
Mrs. Kahler is survived by her husband of 61 years, Don Scott Kahler; her daughter, Lynn Kahler Rogerson of Alexandria, Virginia; her granddaughter, Olivia Kingsley Rogerson; her brother-in-law, Philip Gene Kahler and his wife Louise Kahler of Whitehouse, Texas; her nephew, Dennis Maxwell and his wife Carolyn Maxwell; her 3 nieces, Sandra Gardner and her husband Chuck Gardner, Debbie Bruns and her husband John Bruns, and Sherrelle Ballone and her husband Toran Ballone; and a wealth of dear, devoted friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Kalita Von Maxwell; uncles, Otis Napoleon Dennis, Robert Lee Dennis, Laudis Vern Dennis, William Itasca "Tack" Dennis, Homer Bruce "Little Doc" Collins, and aunt, Clara Dennis; mother-in-law, Bernice Faye Kahler Bach and her husband Reggie Bach; and son-in-law, John Kingsley Rogerson.
The funeral is scheduled for 2:00 PM on Sunday, November 4 at Wellspring United Methodist Church, 4871 Longhill Road, Williamsburg. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in Betty's name to: Riverside Cancer Care Center, 12100 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, VA 23601 (www.riversideonline.com www.riversideonline.com> ) or National Cathedral School, Mount Saint Alban, Washington, DC 20016 (http://ncs.cathedral.org/BettyKahler <http://ncs.cathedral.org/BettyKahler> ).
Published in Virginia Gazette from Oct. 31 to Nov. 30, 2012