Obituary of Bettie Hiebert
On Thursday, September 14, 2023, Bettie passed away at the age of 85.
She is survived by her beloved husband, Andy; children Cynthia (Simon), Valerie (Brent), Shelley (Hal), and Patrick (Joyce); nine grandchildren: Kate (Shayne), Melissa (Calvin), Jordan (Sarah), Sharla (Gene), Sarey (Zorian), Nathan (Amanda), Jenna, Brenley (Josh), and Riana; and 11 great-grandchildren Ryland, Gideon, Sydney, Briar, Luca, Izaak, Eli, Alexis, Evelyn, Molly, and Olivia. She also is survived by sister Susan (Neil), and brother Henry.
She was predeceased by her parents Peter and Susanna Kehler, brother Ed, and sister Helen. She also is survived by many people who loved her dearly.
Bettie was born on the family farm near Shakespeare, Manitoba, and was funny, hard-working, loving, opinionated, and feisty. She was creative throughout her life. At 16, she took a seamstress course and then worked in a clothing factory in St. Pierre before she married Andy on September 8, 1956. They bought a sewing machine and Bettie helped support the family for many years, sewing clothing for others. Her daughters benefitted from her expertise, and wore the clothing she lovingly made well into adulthood. She took up woodworking and built the bookshelves in the living room on the family farm. If a new craft came up, Bettie tried it: decoupage, macrame, paper tole. She was a passionate quilter and many family members and friends have her projects proudly displayed in their homes. She quilted with her friends at Niverville United Church and the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Steinbach for many years. She learned to knit at age five, to crochet at age eight, and was still crocheting blankets to give away in the weeks before her passing.
Andy was the great love of her life. She thought he was the handsomest man in the whole world, that every woman wanted him, and that she was so fortunate to be married to him. Andy would roll his eyes. They built an amazing life together (67 years), from their married beginning in Niverville, moves to Brandon and Winnipeg, and ultimately to their own farm in Ile des Chenes, a dream they long cherished. They farmed for 25 years while Andy continued to work full-time. For the first many years of their marriage, Andy was on the road, often from Monday to Friday. Bettie ran the family and she ran the farm. The girls were taught to make dinner at an early age so for at least three nights a week, Betty was free of the kitchen. She seeded, combined, hauled grain, and handled the family finances. One of Bettie’s greatest work triumphs was her job as a school bus driver for the Seine River School Division. She loved to regale people with stories of her bus trips and her kids. After Andy retired and the farm was sold, Bettie and Andy moved back to Niverville.
Bettie loved people. She could strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere. Babies were an irresistible magnet for her and she would chat happily with child and parent. Her tremendous sense of humour and big smile made her fun to be with and helped her weather difficult times. She also was prepared to stand up for herself and she didn’t hesitate to express her often strong opinions.
Her passing leaves a hole that cannot be filled but those who loved her have wonderful memories.
The family thanks the staff, doctors, nurse practitioners, and health care aides at Niverville Manor and Heritage Life PCH who helped her maintain a lovely life for the last several years.
Cremation already has taken place.
A Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. at the Niverville Heritage Event Center, 100C Heritage Trail, Niverville, MB.
If you wish, donations in Bettie’s memory can be made to the Hiebert Heritage Cemetery Fund.