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Betsy Kroeck

1934 - 2019 Obituary Condolences Flowers
Betsy Kroeck Obituary
Betsy Kroeck, born Elizabeth Ann Clark on October 20, 1934, died on January 4, 2019. She was 84 years old, and made Christmas cookies this year as always to send to everyone. She remembered her mother and father making Christmas cookies every year in their farmhouse, with her father sitting at a table rolling dough into balls.

Her grandfather, Papa John, hiked to Illinois with a typewriter on his back. He became a lawyer by being an apprentice to a practicing lawyer. He was often paid in real estate, which is how he made his real money. His daughter, Louise Barnes Ellis, was raised in a big house with servants. She married a doctor and they adopted two children: Jack and Ele (Eleanor). When her husband wanted to continue going to school to specialize, with her father paying for it, she decided to divorce him. She then married William Earl Clark, who was part owner of a closely-held pharmaceutical company, and they lived in Glencoe, Illinois. There, they had two children, Betsy and Bill Clark Jr. Betsy was the youngest, and remembers a huge house with a big hill for sledding, and servants. When she was two to three years old, she was in the basement of her house and given a sparkler that caught her little cotton dress on fire. She was burned and it was traumatic for her.

When Betsy was three or four years old, her dad decided to follow his heart's dream of becoming a farmer. Her mother was not happy. They moved to Gurnee, Illinois. Betsy LOVED growing up on a farm. They had livestock and chickens, and a barn. She remembers jumping from the loft into the hay, and riding horses. She used to ride a neighbor's horse bareback every day until her dad decided to buy her a horse. Unfortunately, the horse he bought was mean, and the neighbor then sold the horse Betsy loved because it turns out he kept the horse just for her. Betsy loved all the animals, especially the baby sheep. At the end of her life, it was a comfort to her to drive by farms and see the barns and tractors.

She was raised in a house with a mother who never hugged her or showed affection. Betsy's father was the only one who showed her affection, other than her sister Ellie who promised to brush her hair so their mom would let her grow it out. Betsy went to grade school in a one-room schoolhouse with one teacher for all grades. She and her brother Bill had learning disabilities, and she struggled. Her mother often said, "cat got your tongue" and in a myriad of ways let Betsy know what a disappointment she was to her. Betsy's mom was a big disappointment.

In high school (Warren Township High School), Betsy played the marimba in the marching band. When Betsy was 16 or 17, her dad got her a summer job in a drug store in Libertyville, working the soda machine and serving ice cream. She loved working and earning money.

After high school, she went to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, then called Colorado A&M. She joined a sorority and was a pepperette. There she met Bill Trine, whom she later married. When he went to law school in Boulder, she worked to put him through school. They had two children: Cherie and Jeff Trine. Their divorce when the kids were young broke her heart, but they were amicable in raising the kids and never spoke unkindly of each other.

Betsy was an amazing mother, consciously choosing to be loving despite the way she was raised. She signed her kids up for pottery and bowling, had birthday parties, let them ride bikes and be wild, took them for picnics up Bluebell Canyon by the Flatirons in Boulder, and took them dancing with her. She read them stories and loved them every day of their lives. Their friends were always welcome and considered family. When she married Bill Kroeck in 1972, the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she started her own folkdance group, taught girl scouts folk dancing, grew African violets for sale, and started an antique business. She threw dance parties, and welcomed everyone. She let her children play tag and run wild in the woods. She took in strays.

When Bill Kroeck retired, they returned to Boulder where she operated an antique business, helped her daughter with her daycare business, and took care of grandkids. She and her daughter went to folk dance camps together. She rode the Million Mom March bus to a rally in Denver with her daughter the year following the Columbine High School shooting, and helped petition for gun control. Before she died, she had "hot button" issues that she cared about passionately including fracking and politics. She loved to listen to NPR, read the newspaper, and eat blackberries every morning. Her favorite flowers were gardenias and lilacs. Red was her favorite color.

She had her children's backs always, and was a second mother to her grandchild who was diagnosed with cancer as an infant. She spoiled that child, in a good way. When her daughter went to law school in her 40's, she drove to Fort Collins every day to pick him up from school and take him to gymnastics and piano lessons, and be with him. She means the world to him.

In the end, she was on oxygen and used a walker, but always said how lucky she was and told her family she loved them. Thanks to her son taking care of her, she lived in her home to the end. We see her everywhere, in the beauty and kindness of this world. She is silly singing, laughter, teasing, and dancing in the kitchen for no reason at all. She made everyone feel at home.

She is survived by her children, Jeff and Cherie Trine, her grandsons Galen Trine-McMahan and Mehdi Rubaii, her nieces Jan Bailey Smart and Linda Anne Bailey, and her two doggies Lucy and Bonnie, who will be taken care of and cherished as promised.
Published in The Daily Camera on Jan. 13, 2019
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