Obituary: Betty Jean Austin - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Obituary: Betty Jean Austin

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Betty Jean Austin passed away October 2, 2015, in Bozeman, MT.  She was born to Gladys (Terkla) and Clifford Congdon in Anaconda, MT, on January 25, 1934. She was raised in Anaconda, the middle child, between her brothers, Clifford and Robert.  Betty graduated from Anaconda High in 1951 and received her BS in Nursing from MSU in 1955.

After college, she worked a few years in private medical practices, but the majority of her career was as an RN in the surgical unit at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.  Altogether, Betty worked as an RN for nearly fifty years. She was very proud of her long career in surgery and occasionally shared stories with us, both hysterically funny and heartbreakingly tragic.  The experiences she had there and the relationships with her coworkers were some of her most cherished memories.    


A lifelong worker, retirement was too idle, so after her nursing career, Betty and best friend, Ann Guenther, worked the same lunchtime shift for another half a career at Burger King in Belgrade.  She and Ann developed fun relationships with many of the regulars who referred to them as “Lucy and Ethel.”  Betty enjoyed a good natured banter with her customer friends, especially a poke at those wearing Grizzly or Dallas Cowboys apparel.  Even though she had been struggling with health issues, she recently contacted the Bozeman Burger King and was planning to go back to work soon.

Betty married John Austin on March 18, 1956, in Anaconda, and together they raised their two children, D’Arla (Dee) and Jack.  

An avid bowler, golfer, card and game player, Betty had quite a competitive spirit.  She golfed two hole-in-ones at Valley View. She enjoyed the visits and playing “Aggravation” with her special cousin, Jamie Carrie, up until her final days. She had a funny wit and during board games would knock your man off with a sarcastic comment such as, “Oh darn, I landed on your spot!” or “I’m so sorry (not really).  I really hate do this!”  Every day she completed the newspaper crossword and Sudoku puzzles. Betty and John were lifelong Bobcat fans.

Although a tiny lady, she had a big spark to her personality.  Be prepared for a lively debate if you fell on the other side of her opinion politically, especially concerning the City of Bozeman raising taxes “to build and buy more stuff”.  Griz apparel was strictly forbidden in her home.  

For her children and grandchildren, Bett’s unconditional love and support knew no bounds.   Although we were always fine, we hated to deprive her of “a good worry” now and again.  She would come to the rescue in any way she could.  

It would be remiss not to mention and appreciate her final companion, caregiver and advocate, her daughter, Dee, who put most of her life on hold the past year, whom made mom her number one priority, who cared for and comforted her through health challenges and pain, who doted and loved and ushered her gracefully to her finish.     

Betty was preceded in death by her parents, husband John, brothers Robert (Bobby) and Cliff, her special cousin Dorothy Milledge, and her niece Kim Congdon.

Surviving family include her children, Dee (Terry) Seavey of Bozeman and Jack (Karen) Austin of Miles City.  Surviving grandchildren are Chad (Jolene) Guenther (children Rylee, Chance and Max), Lisa Guenther (children Jon, Keegan and Kamerra) and Christopher, Zach and Cooper Austin.  Betty is also survived by her best friend, Ann Guenther; her cherished cousin, Jamie Carrie; her closest nieces, Rachel and Kelsey Dalby and Jennifer Austin; her brother-in-law, Dick Austin (children Diana, Rachel, Shawna, Vicky and Jennifer); her sister-in-law, Helen Congdon (children Kip and Dana); and many other wonderful friends, cousins, nephews and nieces.  

In lieu of flowers, please make any memorial donations in Betty’s name to Wake up and Lace up of Miles City (a cancer support group) at wakeup.laceup@facebook.com or Shodair Children’s Hospital, P.O. Box 5539, Helena, MT 59604.  

A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, October 8 at 11 a.m. at Manhattan Presbyterian Church.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.  www.dokkennelson.com

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