Betty Szczepanski passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 12, 2022 after battling several years of multiple chronic illnesses. She took her last breath with her eldest daughter and ever-faithful caregiver, Valerie, her youngest sister, Mary, her wonderful brother-in-law, Duane, and Grandson, Chad, by her side, along with her ever-faithful companion puppy, Molly. She was showered with immense love and comfort in the final days of her life through the prayers and support of hundreds of friends and family across the nation as she was reunited with her adoring husband of 55-years, Bob, and precious daughter, Vicki, in the joyous light and love of the hands of God.
Betty Lou was born July 5, 1939 in Warsaw, NY to Peter and Margaret (Mead) Nimsker. She married Robert "Bob" A. Szczepanski on December 27, 1958 at St Agnes Roman Catholic church in Buffalo, NY, where they met as teenagers.
Bob had recently enlisted in the Army when they married, so they traveled the world through the military while raising three beautiful daughters, Valerie, Vicki, and Vanessa for the next 22-years. During their travels, Betty worked a variety of jobs in her lifetime. She worked in the Commissary as a meat packer (Germany), helped open the 'new' Denny's here in Killeen (continued as a waitress in Florida, also) and even did a stint at the Mayflower moving company (Texas) to learn how to pack her China dishware and crystal glassware herself so it wouldn’t break when they moved again!
Betty became a ‘gourmet cook’ as she learned (and taught all of her daughters) how to cook the local cuisine from where ever in the world they lived. Betty was famous for her delicious Green Chili Casserole, one of the most often requested meals from her family and friends. When one of the girls’ friends spent a Summer vacation month with Betty and Bob, she wrote a wonderful thank you Note delighting at the fact that the same food was never served twice in an entire month! Betty implemented ‘theme night’ for suppers quite often while teaching her girls how to cook with fun recipes from around the world.
When Bob retired in 1977, Betty & Bob and the three teenaged girls moved to South Florida to be with Betty’s favorite Aunt, Gladys, while they navigated life after the military. And thus began another chapter of many, many years of road trips and cruising around the world as the girls all grew up and ventured out on their own. With Bob’s love of all things baseball and Betty’s love of quilting, they had a multitude of vacations focused on great food, neat quilt shops, and baseball paraphernalia trade shows.
Betty and Bob finally ended up back in the Killeen area in the Spring of 2001, shortly after the untimely passing of their middle daughter, Vicki, where they built their first ever non-government quarters dream home! They enjoyed retirement together with their daughters, Valerie and Vanessa, as their ‘down the street’ and next-door neighbors, respectively. Grandson, Chad, spent the last 8-years of Betty’s life with her as her live-in companion and her ‘Dairy Queen run’ buddy, as he brought her the utmost joy and hours of comic relief despite all of her illnesses over the years.
Betty was blessed with having her youngest sister, Mary, only a few hours drive away and always willing to make the journey to be with her when she was unable to travel to enjoy Mary and her husband, Duane’s lovely home. Another of her younger sister’s, Judy, also lived just miles away for several years, which brought Betty great joy, as well.
Betty was an avid reader, seamstress, knitter and crocheter all of her life and became a talented quilter in her spare time, even teaching others quilting at the local quilt shop for many years. Losing her sight to macular degeneration never stopped her from sharing her wonderful quilting and sewing talents with anyone who wanted to learn. She always had a ‘library’ in her home and has donated thousands of books to all of the libraries wherever she lived.
Betty was a faithful pilgrim with a strong faith in Jesus Christ and belief in life everlasting in Heaven as a member of FUMC Killeen. She had the warmest, giant smile with the most welcoming crystal clear blue-eyes that just sparkled as she welcomed every friend into her heart. Her light and love will be missed by so many forever more. The ’39 girls’ have another angel to reunite with at the quilting circle in Heaven.
She was preceded in death by her dear parents, her brother, Ronnie Nimsker; her loving daughter, Vicki Lingerfelt; and her sweet grandson, J. Eric Woodburn.
Left to cherish her memory are Betty and Bob's loving daughters, Valerie and her husband, David Pierce, and Vanessa and her husband, Tony Austin; her beloved younger sisters, Mary and her husband, Duane Morgan, and Judy Persichini; four cherished grandchildren, Chad, Steven, Wayne and Lizzie; and five great-grandchildren.
The family requests that you do not send flowers, but instead make a donation in Betty's name to FUMC Killeen, her home church, or to the American Diabetes Association.
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