Betty Jean Hersey was born October 29, 1927, in rural Butler County, daughter of John D and Tillie Huisman Hersey. She died on December 6, 2022. She attended country school and then New Hartford High School living with her grandparents during the week, graduating in 1944. She attended Iowa State Teachers College and earned a teaching certificate. She taught at a country school near Shell Rock with all boys until her marriage to George Ehmen in 1946.
She and her husband farmed in Grundy, Butler, and Black Hawk Counties until 1969, when they purchased an interest in the elevator in Parkersburg where she was the bookkeeper. When she found herself alone, she managed the Sinclair Elevator, was the site coordinator for the Parkersburg Senior Center where she directed the Silver Beavers, who performed at area nursing homes, and sorted seed corn for Asgrow.
Following her retirement, she cooked one summer at Cheley Camp in the Rockies Mountains, volunteered at the Teddy Roosevelt National Park as a tour guide another summer and spent seven months in Ireland working at a Christian bookstore. After moving to Waterloo she worked in the lunchroom at Walnut Ridge Academy and took tickets at UNI football games.
She chaired the Butler County Republican Committee and met president George H.W. Bush and many of the republican presidential candidates during those years. She served as president of the Parkersburg Women's Club and served on the board of the Parkersburg Civic Center. She volunteered at the Sartori Hospital Gift Shop. She was a 4-H leader and Sunday School teacher. In 2015 she received the 4-H Honorary Member award. She was a member of the Walnut Ridge Baptist Church.
She entertained her brothers and sisters and their children at Christmas until she was 90, as well as cooking Thanksgiving dinner for her children and grandchildren. Her kitchen table was the gathering place for coffee or tea for her Parkersburg neighbors.
She enjoyed her cabin on Holiday Lake and fishing from her paddle boat. She traveled to Spain, Germany, Ireland, Alaska and many other states and all the county seats in Iowa.
She is survived by her daughter, Barbara and her husband P. Lee Miller, and her son, Dallas and his wife Debra. She has four grandchildren - Jill Collins of Cedar Falls, Kathryn Piller of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, Susan Winkelbleck of Palatine, Illinois, and Grant Miller of La Porte City, fourteen great grandchildren, three step grandchildren, and three great great grandchildren. She is also survived by two sisters, Minnie Feckers of Allison and Jane Rice of Waverly, two sisters in law, Mary Ann Ehmen of Dike and Jeannette Davis Ehmen of Florida, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, one granddaughter - Melissa Ehmen Justice and two sisters - Mabel Gillett and Gloria Card, two brothers - Fred and John Hersey.
Services will be held at South Waterloo Church of the Brethren at 11 AM on Saturday, December 17, with visitation an hour preceding the service. Burial will be at the Orange Township Cemetery following the service. Memorials to Cedar Valley Hospice or Black Hawk County 4-H Foundation.
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