Funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 28, at 10:30 a.m. at the Boothby Funeral Home in Cherokee. Rev. Carolyn Hollar will officiate. Burial will be in Grandview Cemetery at Quimby. There will be a family prayer service at 10:15 a.m. at the funeral home on Saturday. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday at the Boothby Funeral Home with the family present from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Online condolences may be left at www.boothbyfuneral.com.
Betty Victoria (Gabrielson) Simonsen was born on March 16, 1922, to Victor and Edna (Peterson) Gabrielson in Harcourt. She attended school in Dayton, and graduated from the Harcourt High School in 1940 as class valedictorian. She then attended Drake University in Des Moines. Betty wanted to study art in college, but when the U.S. entered World War II she decided teaching was a more practical profession.
While in Des Moines, Betty met a young soldier by the name of E. Dean Simonsen at a dance at Camp Dodge. Dean and Betty were married on June 5, 1943 in Ft. Bliss, Texas, where Dean was stationed at the time. Dean then spent 3-1/2 years in the South Pacific Theater during WWII. During Dean's absence Betty taught fifth grade in Marcus, for one year. She then returned to Drake University to complete her Bachelors of Science degree in 1945.
Following the War and Dean's return to the States in March 1946, they moved to Quimby. Betty worked as a housewife and mother of six children. She also worked part-time as a substitute teacher in the Quimby and Washta schools.
Betty was a member of the Quimby United Methodist Church and was very active in the United Methodist Women's group and a long time member of the Hope Church Circle. She also taught the nursery Sunday school class for several years. She was active in the Cherokee County Red Cross for a number of years.
Betty was an avid reader and filled many shelves with her books. She enjoyed getting together with friends. One of her favorite annual gatherings was the reunion with her teacher friends from Marcus school during the War years. She looked forward to the annual Fourth of July celebrations with family and friends. Betty also liked to travel. Visiting family in the Tucson, Ariz. area was a favorite destination. She liked to play cards and was almost unbeatable at Scrabble. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was always willing to laugh at herself.
Dean and Betty also liked to travel with the kids on summer vacations in their Avion travel trailer. They were members of the Avion Club. The two-week summer trips took Betty and her family from coast to coast and into Canada. As the children outgrew the summer trips with their parents, Dean and Betty would spend many extended weekends camping at Swan Lake State Park near Carroll. This became a favorite get-away.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents and her husband Dean (May 22, 1995).
She is survived by her six children and 13 grandchildren: daughter Kathleen and her husband Dennis Rice of Oracle, Ariz., and granddaughters Laura and her fiancé Jason Orozco, and Amy Rice all of Tucson, Ariz.; son Richard Simonsen of Quimby; daughter Pamela Simonsen of Tucson, Ariz.; son Jeff and his wife Annette Simonsen of Quimby, and grandsons Drew and his wife Jenna of Muscatine, Phillip, Steven and Carl Simonsen; son Robert and wife Shawn Simonsen of Cherokee, and grandsons Adam, Patrick and his fiancée Kristina Brown, and Brian Simonsen; daughter Janet and her husband Doug Brown of Cherokee, and grandchildren Brittany and her husband Collin Christensen, Scott and Sadie Brown, and Kristin Brown and great-granddaughter Kyra Brown both of Des Moines.