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Betty Bernard

Fri, Jul 5th, 2013
Posted in Ostrander Obituaries

Betty Bernard

Betty Bernard died Friday, June 28 at the Ostrander Care Center after a lengthy bout with congestive heart failure. She was born Betty Lou Durfey to Phineas and Lillian Durfey in Merrill, Iowa on September 7, 1925. The family moved to Chatfield, Minn. where Betty graduated from high school in 1943.

In October of that year, she married John W. Bernard, a local farmer, and took up residence on a farm in Pleasant Grove Township. Five children joined them there. John and Betty were solid partners in life and on the farm. They raised their children to be involved in school and community. They themselves led by example becoming active in school, church, and community organizations such as 4-H. Betty’s brother, Frank Durfey, traveled extensively around the world, and through that connection both John and Betty nurtured an appetite for different cultures and instilled the same in their children. They traveled to Africa, Europe and South America to see for themselves some of what they had read. They became active here at home in the American Field Service and the International Farm Youth exchange and hosted a young man from Nepal and another from Paraguay in their home for an extended period of time.

After they moved to a farm in Spring Valley, Minn. they continued their involvement in 4-H and the American Field Service as well as the United Methodist Church there. In 1984, Betty became a widow, but continued the legacy she and her husband had fostered. Far from retiring into widowhood, she continued to be as active as ever, living her conviction that people must be of service to others. Always deeply interested in her family (“family is always first,” she often said), she spent time with each of her children though they had moved to different places in the country. And at Christmas she always provided sumptuous meals when her kids all came home for the holiday. She was always an avid country music fan and wasted no opportunity to visit the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Ushered backstage she met some of the stars she’d listened to for years, like Ricky Skaggs, one of her favorites. Back in Minnesota, she went to as many country music concerts as she could. It was no surprise that when the Cowboy Church came along, she and friends rarely missed a service.

She became a fast friend to people living their last days, visiting them and offering unlimited comfort wherever they were. Participating in the Meals on Wheels program she delivered food to shut-ins in their homes. Her church circle was a main focus of her attention; she found it to be a very uplifting and essential part of her life until she was unable to participate. People everywhere--even during her last days at the nursing home in Ostrander, Minn. -- recall her sharp sense of humor and her kindness under very trying situations, which led one nurse there to remark, “It’s people like Betty that make this job worthwhile!” For many, it was people like Betty that made life worthwhile.

She also had a deep and abiding love for animals, feeding and watching the birds as well as caring for her pets. Betty enjoyed sharing her recent bird and wildlife sightings and delighted in hearing of what others were seeing. She particularly loved her dogs, a Bassett hound named Maynard and for the past nine plus years, her red and white Border Collie, Fudgie.

She is preceded in death by her twin sister, Bonnie Jean, her sister Helen Niemeyer; two brothers, Robert Durfey and Frank Durfey; her husband John W. Bernard. She is survived by her sister Mary Madsen of Minneapolis; five children: John of Philadelphia; Stuart (Junelle) of Cedar; Mark (Jo) of New Richland, Minn.; Cindy (Joe) Forrer of Rochester, Minn.; and Roger (Linette) of Ackley, Iowa; and four grandchildren. Betty is also survived by one step-granddaughter Quinn Forrer of Los Angeles; many nieces, nephews and in-laws.

A visitation was held at the Hindt Funeral Home in Spring Valley, Minn. on Monday July 1 and 2, 2013. The funeral followed at 11am.

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