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Betty Shontz, 89


Forever Loved. Forever Cherished. Forever Remembered.

Betty received her angel wings on Monday, August 26, 2019. She passed peacefully at age 89 with her children at her side at her son’s home.  Betty was born to John and Ida Belle Pedersen in Butte, Montana on March 29, 1930.  She was raised in Harlowton, Montana during the Great Depression and World War Two. Betty was the oldest of five children. She attended school in Harlowton through her junior year of high school. During World War Two, as a teenager Betty delivered newspapers in Harlowton and helped take care of the troops on the many trains that stopped at Harlowton.  Betty met her husband Andy while working for Hal and Jean Stearns who owned the local newspaper; The Harlowton Times-Clarion.

Betty’s family also owned a farm near Grygla, Minnesota.

Betty and Andy were married in Thief River Falls, Minnesota on June 21, 1947. They settled in Middle River, Minnesota where Andy worked for the local newspaper. Their son John was born in 1949. Daughter Diane was born in 1950. In 1953 Betty and her family moved to Badger, Minnesota where Andy and Betty owned the local newspaper, The Badger Enterprise, for many years. Andy was a mail carrier for years after he and Betty sold the newspaper. In 1957, Betty graduated from Badger High School, going to school every day with her children for a year. In 1958, Betty and her close friend Doris (Bryant) drove one hundred miles round trip every weekday for a year to Thief River Falls, Minnesota to beautician school.  After graduation, Betty opened a shop in Badger which she owned for many years. Betty always remembered her greatest challenge as shop owner; a teenaged girl who came crying into the shop one afternoon with vibrant green hair after giving herself a home hair “dye job.” The girl’s mom never knew it happened after Betty repaired the damage. It was Betty’s and the girl’s “secret” for many years.

Betty also served as the Justice of the Peace in Badger for ten years. During her years as a judge she drove a true American muscle car; a 1964 Chevy Impala Super Sport. The car was typical Betty; jet black with a red leather interior and Hollywood mufflers. Betty’s car was powered by only the biggest and best; a 409 big block engine. The engine generated 425 horses and featured twin carburetors. She cruised main street in Badger on Saturday nights with the teens just to keep them “out of trouble” and out of court on Monday morning. Betty’s last car was a 2014 Chevy Malibu muscle car with a full sports package and the largest engine Chevy could stuff into a Malibu.

Betty also taught private piano lessons to many girls and boys in Badger over a third of a century. Andy and Betty were members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Badger where Betty served as choir director for many decades.

After Andy retired in 1988, Andy and Betty moved to Belgrade, Montana. They also had a second home in Quartzite, Arizona for many years where Betty became an accomplished oil painter. She also served as choir director at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Quartzite, Arizona. After Andy died in a car wreck in Arizona in 1995, Betty remained in the family home at Belgrade until 2018. She was the organist and choir director at St. John Vianny Catholic Church in Belgrade for over a quarter of a century.

In 2018, Betty moved to Helena, Montana to be near her son John.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband Andy, her parents John and Ida Belle Pedersen, her brothers, Robert, Jack and Thomas and sister in law Marge (Jack). Betty’s lifelong friend Marge Medhus also preceded Betty in death as did very close friends Fred and Edith Larson of Middle River.

Betty is survived by her son John and daughter-in-law Anita (Helena, Montana), her daughter Diane and son-in-law Lynn Dokken (Montgomery, Minnesota), her sister Marion and brother-in-law Del Crabtree (Belgrade, Montana), sister-in-law Vonnie Pedersen (Thomas) of Martinsdale, Montana, grandchildren Andrea (Rob) Novak of Roseville, Minnesota, Tim (Sarah) Dokken of Princeton, Minnesota, Nicholas (Jessica) of Missoula, Montana and great grandchildren Marissa, Gabrielle, Briana, Payton and Collin. She is also survived by her childhood and lifelong friend JoAnn Collins of Shelton, Washington and her lifelong friend Doris Bryant of Gulf Shores, Alabama as well as Doris’s children Dianna (Randy) of Gulf Shores, Alabama and Joan (David) of Rochester, Minnesota as well as Marge and Milo’s children Lowell (Connie) of Hardin, Montana and Ray (Corina) of Scottsdale, Arizona. Betty is also survived by many nieces and nephews and cousins.

Betty’s family requests that memorials be given to the choir and music programs of your local congregation or parish. Family graveside services are pending for next spring at the Montana Veteran’s Cemetery at Fort Harrison (Helena), Montana where Andy is interred.

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