On March 4, 1928 a baby girl was born at home on a rented farm in rural Lyndon, Kansas and she died 93-years later on July 31, 2021 in her own home in Tulsa, OK. Betty Lenore Schrader was the oldest of three children born to Claude and Halcie Schrader. Betty married Howard Seetin on November 20, 1949 and they had a very happy 44 years until Howard’s untimely death in 1994. Together they had three children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Betty is survived by one sister, Alice Roberson. She also leaves behind daughters Dian (Tom) Bright and Janice (Tom) Leonard and son Galand (Kathy) Seetin; granddaughters Juliana Bright, Lindy (Adam) Musial-Bright, Briana Brzezinski, Kristi (Chance) Uhrich, and Cooper Hornback; and great-grandchildren Tylin, Kyson and Atley Brzezinski, Zoe and Orion Uhrich, and Nora Musial-Bright. She also is survived by Howard’s brothers David Seetin, Roy (Mary Jo) Seetin, and sister-in-law Hazel Seetin. Betty will also be fondly remembered by many nieces and nephews including one special niece, Reverend Patricia Warden, who will be leading the graveside service.
As seen in the rear-view mirror, several themes are apparent in Betty’s life: family; a sunny disposition; living within her means; and art.
Betty loved making friends and being part of a community. Over the years, she was a leader and member of Girl Scouts, Jaycee Jayne’s, bridge, dance, garden clubs; PTA, Coffeyville State Fair, and a poll worker. She grew up Methodist and lived her faith, confident that she experienced Jesus take her hand on the stairway of her home at age five and he remained with her throughout her life.
Family was her foundation and focus. She steadfastly supported and showed up. She especially adored being part of the Seetin clan. After graduating high school, Betty moved in with a group of girls in Topeka and worked as a bookkeeper. As fate would have it, one was Reba Seetin, the only girl in a family of 11 children. Reba was a matchmaker at heart and she had 10 brothers to marry off. She introduced Howard to Betty and we are… to quote Paul Harvey … the rest of the story.
Once a month we made the weekend journey to Perry to see the Seetins or to Olivet for Schraders. At the Seetins, Howard hung out with his brothers, Mom with the wives. With 29 cousins, we were in the barn, grain car, tire swing or climbing on the rusted combine. At the Schraders, we had fewer cousins but freedom to play in the hayloft, dig worms, fish, play in the shack or fruit cellar. Grandma Schrader met us at the door with a comb and a deck of cards. Call for your partner pitch was a family affair.
As adults, Betty followed the example set by her mother and remained involved. She aided her daughters as they became mothers – in London or Bartlesville – guiding when asked. She shared her time and skills sewing, crafting and attending their events.
As a Depression-era baby, Betty’s farm family had to make the best with what they had. Her mother had anxiety issues and at age 7 or 8, her mother had what was termed a “nervous breakdown.” Betty had to step into the role of homemaker and caregiver for herself, brother and sister. Rather than considering her start poor or pitiful, she responded with a sunny disposition. It would all be OK. No need to look around and worry. No looking back with regret. Face forward, push forward. It was a philosophy that guided her life. Every day she opened the window shades and proclaimed “Good morning! We are going to have a wonderful day.” It was infectious. Her daughters and now granddaughters do the same.
Betty and Howard chose to have Betty be a stay-at-home mother. That meant strict budgeting to live within their means. Betty made it happen with skill and style. This is where living within her means merged with her creativity, tenacity and craftiness. She sewed clothes, bought auction furniture and reupholstered it, painted walls and woodwork, and tailored drapes. She sewed Barbie clothes and sold them. She sewed her daughters’ wedding dresses. She crocheted an Afghan for every niece and nephew. She took up canvas painting, throwing pottery and creating crafts to sell at area craft fairs.
The children named themselves the “scratch and dent family.” Howard’s job managing the Capitol Truck Lines terminal meant damaged freight was available for employees to buy at deep discount. Betty saw no problem with a dent in the refrigerator door, cases of instant potatoes that stunk when cooked, or having every decorative item in the house be a glued/retouched item from local stores such as Gibson’s.
On a budget, restaurant dining only included early morning pancakes at a café on the way to Perry or Olivet. Betty more than made up with balanced meals, homemade cookies and desserts with a side of ice cream from the surplus store. She carefully cut away the freezer burn or sticky melt to get to the part of the ice cream that was still delicious. If she and dad could grow it, pick it, pop it, crack it, clean it, can it or cook it, we ate it.
There were advantages to Betty being a stay-at-home mother. Her children had the time and safety to play with neighbor kids, using imagination, physical activity, cooperating and fighting to work out relationships. Ask them and they’d tell you that they were raised by Ozzie and Harriet.
Betty tired of clubbing and took a part-time job at Walmart at age 64 to keep her mind alert, herself active and earn a lifetime Walmart discount card. Betty’s life pivoted when Howard’s health began to fail. She dedicated her energy and optimism on his recovery. It was not to be and Howard passed in 1994. With resolve to push forward, on the drive from the hospital the night Howard died, Betty told Janice, “I guess I am a widow now. I will figure out what is next.”
At age 65, Betty took less than a year to collect her possessions, sell the Coffeyville house and move to Tulsa to be closer to her children, continuing to work at Walmart until she retired at age 79. She had three houses while she was in Tulsa, continually making improvements and enjoying the ability to decorate each home. Even if that meant pouring concrete into molds and building sidewalks or completely gutting a landscape to start over. She joined Asbury UMC and treasured the friends she made and her Hats Ministry work.
A fall resulting in a broken hip at age 84 led Dian to leave teaching in Texas to return to Tulsa to care for Betty for her recuperation. Betty’s desire to remain in her home led Dian and Tom to a decision to share a roof – and their lives – in Tulsa.
Dian lived up to granting Betty her wish. And not surprisingly, Dian made it happen with determination to honor family, keep a sunny disposition, live within her means, anduse their time together to create art; Dian, beading; and Betty, creating greeting cards.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Ford-Wulf-Bruns in Coffeyville, Kansas. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 10 a.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church, Tulsa, OK. Interment will follow at Fairview Cemetery, Coffeyville, KS at 2:30 p.m.