Elizabeth Ann or “Bette” to those that knew and loved her, was born on June 9, 1939 in Guelph to parents Leonard and Gladys (Black) Owen. She joined older brothers Norman and Lloyd. Bette attended public school in Guelph before graduating from Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute. After high school, she enrolled in teacher’s college and began a career in teaching that would span almost 45 years in the Wellington County Board of Education. Over the course of her career, Bette also managed to juggle work, family and studies on the way to obtaining her university degree from Wilfred Laurier University.
Bette married in 1960 and welcomed her son, David, in 1963 and daughter, Jill, in 1965. She loved her children dearly, and did everything she could to provide for them. After her first marriage ended in divorce, she soon found out that good things come to those who wait. On a brief sabbatical from teaching, Bette took up real estate and had a mutual friend introduce her to the love of her life and soulmate, Gerald “Jerry” Leo Hause. They soon began dating and were married December 22, 1978 in Guelph. In the 40 plus years they were married, Bette and Jerry had the opportunity to travel often and established many lasting friendships. Knowing the 40 years on earth to be just the beginning, Bette awaits her soulmate to join her for the rest of eternity.
Anyone who knew Bette will say she was “quite a character” with a quick smile, a ready wit, and humour that made everyone laugh. She could put a smile on your face just by walking into the room. This was true in both her personal and professional life.
Bette's look of innocence and that sparkle in her eye could convince anyone to do anything, especially her fellow teachers. Bette did not like to turn down a creative opportunity and hiring a belly dancer to send to the principle's house was a golden one. She was able to recruit two other staff members for support. It was hilarious as the driver of the car quietly pulled backward and forward to get the best view in the living room window. Truly a memorable moment with lots of sore muscles the next day from laughing so hard.
Testimony from her many teaching colleagues will attest to the fact, that from her crazy antics in the staff-room to her antics at staff parties, being in the teaching environment was definitely her forte.
Teaching was definitely the perfect choice for a career for Bette. She could tap into so many different things in the arts, in math and language, and even sports. All of which she loved and excelled at. Her drama skills were continually being challenged with the many operettas that she directed. It was amazing how she could bring together over one hundred students to perform in these plays. Her love of music, which she was good at, contributed to the great success as well. She could sing and dance and was competent in teaching her students these skills. She went as far as teaching her drama club how to chuckle belly - a very highly skilled exercise to create spontaneous laughter, which was something that Bette really didn't need.
Not only was she able to teach her students some new moves, she was also able to teach the staff. What better way to get them to the gym than by having them dress up as California raisins and line dance to the gym for a Halloween assembly. The students loved it.
She taught her fellow teachers that a party without a rusty nail just isn't a party and that the sign of a good teacher is when said teacher is late getting back from lunch on a Friday only to walk into the portable and find all the students working diligently.
But her talents and gifts go farther than chickens and bells and belly dancers. She excelled in teaching reading, writing and math. She loved to challenge her students and was able to bring out the best in each of them. For her own professional growth she led an Author's Club and produced an excellent yearbook each year. She loved writing and you could find her being challenged by parsing sentences and enjoying it. She thrived on the challenges of grammar and math. She had an innate love of learning and of life which she brought to her students.
Halloween was a joy around Bette. This is where she really shone both at home and at school. So much, so that one Halloween, Bette and her crew crashed a costume party that her son and niece were attending. Her costume was so good, she went undetected for an hour before being “asked” to leave. Staying in costume and character, she left without revealing her identity until the following day. Imagine her son’s horror upon finding out that the person(s) he had “escorted” from the party the night before were his mother and her accomplices. Yes, David’s friends all knew who Bette was after that party.
She was a good friend. She was a loyal friend. She brought laughter wherever she went. She helped make all the schools she taught at a place that loved to learn and to grow. Places where the best was brought out in staff and students. She was a talented woman who had the courage to take risks. She had an impeccable love of life and passed that love onto whomever she interacted with.
Outside of school she was also an active member of the community. While still living in Guelph, Bette played in the Royal City Ladies slow pitch league. If Bette wasn’t playing, she was organizing and co-ordinating events or activities, playing both volleyball and slo-pitch. After retiring from teaching, Bette and Jerry moved to the Hanover region where her love of social pursuits motivated her to join the Red Hats as Queen Bea and founder of the Saugeen Red Rascals. Bette also joined the Silver Threads choir. Never shy and with her love for music and theatre Bette became a soloist for the choir and a regular in the local theatre troop.
Betty lived life following the core values of Family, Faith and Fun.
Proudly, she passed those beliefs and attributes onto her grandchildren. It is with pride that several of Bette’s grandchildren attribute their “special characteristics” to those inherited from Grandma.
Bette, Mom, Grandma, friend will be missed by all who knew her.
Over the last 5 years, Bette developed a multitude of health issues. During that time, she had exceptional care given to her by many compassionate and dedicated physicians and specialists in Hanover, Owen Sound, London, Stratford and Kitchener areas. The family would like to express deep gratitude to all. A special note of thanks to those most frequently entrusted in her care, Dr. White, Dr. Heerima and the many wonderful nurses, PSWs and health care professionals of the Hanover and District Hospital. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We will miss her!
Sadly, Bette passed away at home surrounded by her loving family on Monday, September 9, 2019 in her 81st year. Beloved wife of Gerald. Loving mother of David (Gloria) Gallagher of Fenwick and mother-in-law of Dennes Szilagyi of Millbrook. Bette will be dearly missed by Jerry's daughters, Lori Hause of Welland and Angi (Art) Pinder of Edmonton. Loving grandmother of Sarah, Valerie, Owen Gallagher; Michelle, Nicole, Nathan Szilagyi; Cameron Cubitt (Maeve); Sean (Shyrra) Pinder, Chris Pinder and great-grandmother of Nicholas Pinder. She was predeceased by her daughter Jill Szilagyi (2013), brothers Norman, Lloyd and her parents Leonard and Gladys (Black) Owen.
Visitation will be held at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Sullivan (#682006 Concession 8 – two miles south of Desboro) on Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 1 p.m. until the time of the funeral service at 2 p.m. Private family interment in Woodlawn Memorial Park, Guelph.
Memorial donations to St. Peter's Lutheran Church or Hanover Hospital Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend