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ANDERSON, Elizabeth 'Betty' May (Duncan)



1923 – 2023

Mrs. Elizabeth ‘Betty’ May Duncan Anderson of Bowden, Alberta passed away at Sunset Manor, Innisfail, Alberta on May 29, 2023 at the age of 100 years.

Betty was born in Innisfail and completed all  her schooling at Little Red Deer School #1 and finished Normal School in Calgary.  “Normal School” was the term for teacher’s training in the early 1900’s.  She then attended Strawberry Hill, near Winnfield, Alberta and taught there for several months.  This was during the time of WW II and Strawberry Hill would have been a VERY remote location!

After, Betty roomed and boarded with the Mills family and taught at Little Red Deer #2, or Burnham School; the building is now a home/acreage northwest of Bowden.  Betty and Harold were married November 6, 1945 at the home of Betty’s parents in the Little Red Deer District, west of Innisfail.  About this time the couple purchased their home quarter, west of Bowden, this land continues to be part of Anderson Farms. Betty lived there until January 20, 2020 when she relocated to Sunset Manor in Innisfail.  She was able to commemorate her 97 birthday there, just before COVID struck. 

Betty’s youngest grandchild, Melissa, and her fiancé, Skye, continue to live on this home place.  Betty preferred to be at home with her children, but since they needed a tractor for their farming operation, she returned to the classroom. Gary was one year old at that time, Betty taught at Eagle Creek School, southwest of Bowden.  This building still remains and is also a residence.

 Betty has been plagued with mobility problems for much of her life, having her hip replaced four times and needing elbow crutches to walk, however she never complained, not even once. Betty was a member of the Bowden United Church and enjoyed the Women’s Institute ‘WI’. Each summer she looked forward to attending Alberta Women’s Week that took place at Olds College.  In fact, she was part of the committee that nominated Mrs. Isobel Townsend, who had conceived the idea of a Farm Women’s Week ‘way back in 1920.  Because of this nomination, Mrs. Townsend was inducted into the Alberta Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1983.

Betty was extremely proud of her “people” and her Scottish heritage, but not the scotch drink part. She loved children, reading, flowers, plants, gardening, music, pretty things and could set a beautiful table with her nice dishes and cutlery.  Although she did not like tea, she loved to have a tea party with her great-granddaughters, using pretty dishes. Animals, dogs, cats, horses, were other priorities. Always she wanted to know what was going on in this world, so read voraciously and watched the news.  At the age of 100, still Betty could read without her glasses, had her own teeth, and did not take any medications.

In Betty’s purse were thank you notes written by great-grandchildren to express appreciation for the Chapter’s gift certificates that she gave to each one of them every year at Christmas.  Paper clips.  Her own pen because she didn’t like to use any public ones. Bank cards and things secured by a paper clip or elastic. A photo of Harold, with a young horse. More paper clips! as well as the cell phone numbers for each member of her family and her cell phone, neatly wrapped in a white hankie.  Plus another paper clip!

Betty LOVED ice cream and chocolate!  At about 2:45 on the day that she passed, she ate two pieces of cuban lunch chocolate bar and had water cold-from-the fridge.  She died, while being read to from an Anne of Green Gables book, another favourite.

 All the staff at Sunset Manor provided superb care for Betty for over three years.  This is greatly appreciated by her family! Betty is lovingly remembered by four children: Gary (Faye) Anderson of Bowden, Margie (Harvey) Rice of Lacombe, Carol (Fred) Freschette of Bowden and Ken (Donna Lynn) Anderson of Bowden, eleven grandchildren, nineteen great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.

Betty was predeceased by her spouse, Harold Anderson in 1999, her parents, Thomas Braidwood Duncan in 1965 and Catherine Janet Campbell Duncan in 1985, her younger brothers: John Duncan, Donald Duncan and Les Duncan, all of Innisfail and Gordon Duncan, Edmonton, as well as a grandson, Ryan L. Rice in 1985.

A Celebration of Life fellowship and light lunch was held at the Paterson Community Hall, Bowden on Monday, June 5, 2023 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.  If desired, Memorial Donations may be made to the Bowden Grandview School Literacy program, Box 40, Bowden, Alberta T0M 0K0 or charity of choice. Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed at Arrangements in care of: Heartland Funeral Services Ltd., 4415 – 49 Street, Innisfail, Alberta. Phone: 403.227.0006  

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