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Betty Jean Rosentrater


1927 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Betty Jean Rosentrater Obituary
Rest In Peace BETTY JEAN ROSENTRATER Betty Jean Rosentrater died peacefully in her sleep on the evening of Saturday, October 24, 2015 at the Samarkand Retirement Community in Santa Barbara, California. She suffered congestive heart failure. She held a deep abiding faith in God and was generous in extending hope and courage for the redemptive possibilities in every person. Her daily routines and relationships were infused with the urge to instruct and encourage others to explore and creatively experience life with enthusiasm and appreciation. In this devotion she led by example and lived a full life, abundant with hospitality, humor and adventure. Born on December 29, 1927 in Davenport, Iowa, Betty was the eldest of six children born to Ray Willis and Marianne Elizabeth (Horine) Chamberlain. Betty is survived by all of her siblings: Rev. Bruce Chamberlain, retired Minister of Willowood Church of the Nazarene in Denton, Texas; Daniel Chamberlain, retired President of Houghton College, New York; Rev. Ray Chamberlain Jr, retired Bishop of the denomination of the United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C; Ruth (Chamberlain) Price, retired Homemaker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Rev, Dow Chamberlain, retired Minister of the United Methodist Church, Nashville, Tennessee. Betty was resourceful, creative and determined. Her mother found little Betty sitting alone on the floor in her room and wrote in Betty's baby book "No one knew how you managed to get out of the crib," But those who knew her would not be surprised that Betty demonstrated a gift for looking beyond the horizon and overcoming barriers at the tender age of eight months. When Betty was about five years old, the Chamberlain family left their Missouri roots and relocated to El Monte, California where her father served as Administrator for Pacific Bible College. The family later moved to Chino, California where Betty's father served as a church pastor while also editing and publishing the denominational newspaper. Betty was an accomplished writer in her own right, for years writing an inspirational column called "By-Lanes" in the Gems of Truth monthly publication printed by Herald & Banner Press in Kansas and distributed nationwide. Throughout her life, Betty was a copious writer, effortlessly typing scores of letters to friends and relatives around the world on a weekly basis. Betty attended Pacific Bible College and later Beulah College (subsequently re-named Upland College), where she earned a bachelor's degree in Education and Christian Work. While her two oldest brothers also attended Upland College in California, the remainder of her family had moved to Jamaica to begin what would become an evangelistic ministry that would take her parents to nearly every corner of the globe. Betty adjusted to life on her own with her parents far away and across an ocean. Betty taught for a year in Spadra, Ca which is now part of the city of Pomona before moving to Colorado Springs, CO where she taught for one year at an all-girls school. She returned to Southern California to marry Paul Jonathan Rosentrater, whom she met previously at Upland College in a class to learn Morse code and broadcasting for the mission field. The couple shared a love for music (Paul sang and played the accordion - the first musical instrument ever played in a Brethren In Christ church service) and they both had a heart for the lost. The couple married on September 4, 1951 and began making plans for missions work and a family of their own. Betty inherited her parents' love for people, interesting cultures and exotic distant lands. She traveled to every continent except Antarctica, exploring natural wonders, teaching children, reaching out to adults with care and respect, taking delight in the fascinating cultural variations of the global human family and always planting the seeds of peace and friendship. Early in their marriage, their mission work took Paul and Betty to the Navajo tribal nation in New Mexico. They also lived in Cuernavaca, Mexico where Paul helped produce Christian publications while Betty regularly opened their home for Bible Story Times with neighborhood children and their mothers. After Mexico, the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri where Paul worked for the Nazarene Publishing House. Among his accomplishments was typesetting the first Navajo translation of the New Testament. The family was en route to Nappanee, Indiana for work at Evangel Press when Paul fell ill. Betty gave birth to five children, who are all still living. When her husband died in 1962, Betty raised the children, who ranged in age from five months to nine years, in Nappanee, Indiana. She enlisted many healthy families of the Nappanee Brethren In Christ Church in providing positive role models in this effort. Hardly a Sunday would pass without Betty entertaining a church family in her home, and typically if a stranger happened to walk through the doors at church in the morning, they could be found later that afternoon seated at Betty's dinner table, engaged in lively conversation. She was compassionate toward those who struggle while downtrodden and in her home, many an innocent outcast found sanctuary. She returned to the classroom as a Special Education teacher, eventually settling into a 28 year career as an elementary teacher. Her classroom was always equipped with a well-played piano, wall displays adorned with curios collected from her travels, and cupboards jammed with musical instruments and art supplies. She was one of the first educators in the Wa-Nee school system to be granted a sabbatical, which she applied from 1970-71 as a teacher in the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, Nicaragua. With the oldest of her children enrolled at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, Betty brought the four youngest children with her. As her children learned Spanish and new ways of navigating a foreign world, Betty spent the weekdays educating the sons and daughters of ambassadors from around the globe with Nicaraguan elite and American business reps from cotton, tobacco and other Nicaraguan export commodities. Her weekends were spent hiking through crowded markets and dense jungles, trekking up volcanoes with family or careening through dangerous mountain roads to the beach. Betty's passion to teach and her curiosity about other people and new places prompted her to join the Peace Corps after retirement. From 1982-85 she lived and taught in Honduras, contributing to the national curriculum framework for mathematics education. Betty also spent a year on the African continent teaching at the US Embassy School in Cameroon. Other service-oriented travels included a tour of Russia and Poland prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain, a Friendship Force tour of Australia and New Zealand with her grandson Jesse, and a six month stint as a Guest House manager for World Gospel Mission in Bolivia. Some of her favorite trips included China, Puerto Rico, London, Spain and Paris. Her travels finally took her back to Southern California where she lived near her youngest son in Moreno Valley. She lived there for ten years until relocating to Santa Barbara in 2010. Betty was extremely proud of her children and their willingness to follow God's leading at home, in their communities, and in their professional lives: Dr. C. Ray Rosentrater (Brenda) of California, Professor of Mathematics for Westmont; Eldon Rosentrater (Nancy) of North Carolina, retired Vice President of Allied Healthcare Products; Dr. David Rosentrater (Sabina) of Indiana, family practice physician; Beulah Jean DeWilde (Bryan) of Nebraska, Homemaker for ten children; and Phillip Rosentrater (Linda) of California, Deputy Director of Riverside County Economic Development Agency. Betty was blessed to be survived by 21 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. Although physically confined in her final days, Betty remained alert and communicative nearly to the end. Her final hours were spent in the company of family, with comforting and encouraging calls from friends and family echoing in her ears as her soul left this world for the greatest adventure of all in eternity with her Savior, Jesus Christ. A Memorial Service will be held 3:30 pm, Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at the Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, Ca 93109. Interment will be next to her beloved husband "Poppy", at Union Cemetery located on County Road 50, north of Nappanee and due east of Locke.


Published in Press-Enterprise on Nov. 8, 2015
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