Betty, of Lansing, Michigan, died peacefully at the age of 100, on February 21, 2023, at home with her daughters at her side.
Anna Elizabeth “Betty” was born on October 14, 1922, in Saginaw, Michigan, the middle child of Henry M. and Anna E. Demmer. Longevity prevailed in most of the family, with Betty’s brother John (Demmer) living to 97, her sister Mary (Heppler) to 100, and her “baby” sister Dodie (Delores Beetham), the youngest, still going strong at 93. Their brother Harry “Butch” Demmer predeceased his siblings.
Betty spent many summers at her family’s rustic log cabins at Houghton Lake. There she shared her love of life and fun, making countless memories with her family, and later with her daughters, nieces and nephews, extended family and friends.
Betty graduated from Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw and achieved her LPN at St. Mary’s School of Nursing. She met Robert Raths in high school. World War II disrupted their lives, and when he returned from duty in the South Pacific they married in 1944 and settled in Lansing, where they raised two daughters, Ann Elizabeth (Rick Guild) and Pamela Sue (Jim Levin). After her husband, Bob, died in 1975, Betty lived the rest of her life in their home.
Betty wore her Spartan Green with pride, and loved attending MSU football games in style with a close group of women, shepherded by her big brother John (or “Gow” as she affectionately called him). Pride in her Irish heritage enhanced Betty’s love for all things Irish and Green.
Betty worked until her 70s as the office manager in the medical practices of Drs. Baker and Badgley. She volunteered with Friend of the Court for many years, and then for local Headstart programs well into her 90s. She was happy to remain productive and helpful in her later years.
Betty’s passion was her family. She stayed close with her siblings and she adored her daughters, sons-in-law, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She took a personal interest in the lives of her many nieces and nephews, taking pride in their achievements, and attending as many of their events as possible.
In her later years Betty spent time up north with Ann’s family, and in Laguna Beach, California, with Pam‘s family. When travel became difficult, she stayed in touch daily by phone.
Betty was very close with many people, in part because she was a great listener. She often would say that “what happened at her kitchen table, stayed at her kitchen table,” and she kept the confidences of her daughters, grandsons, nephews, nieces, and their extended groups of friends.
She let her kitchen be taken over many times by Ann and Pam, and their friends, to bake and frost cutout cookies at Christmas and to cook and serve big meals to whoever just showed up.
Anyone and everyone was welcome at any time for a cup of tea and a listening ear with Betty. Many a wounded heart and troubled soul were treated to her unfailing acceptance, her kind and wise words.
Betty was loved by her neighbors, who continued to look in on her and attend to her needs when she was less mobile in the last years of her life. She loved her home, her flower garden and yard, and her neighborhood.
Many of Betty’s friends and her family celebrated the momentous occasion of her 100th birthday last fall, and many more sent cards and well wishes from near and far.
Betty was amazingly lucid and clear until the very last days of her life. She knew all the kids and grandkids of her daughters and their friends. She remembered every one, and she asked about you personally in a way that is rare. Her caring was unmatched.
Betty is survived by her daughters, Ann (Rick Guild) and Pam (Jim Levin); granchildren: Tim (Betsy Ward), Joe (Casey Morley) and Ben (Tia Twigg) Guild; Jessica (Kevin) Levin Conroy, Jill Levin and Andrew Levin; great-grandchildren: Ellie, Henry, Daniel, Sydney, Teddy and Charlie, along with many beloved nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
The family would like to express their gratitude to Hospice of Lansing and to Betty’s faithful neighbors and caregivers. Memorial contributions in Betty’s name can be made to: The Sparrow Foundation/Sparrow Hospice Services, 1322 E. Michigan Ave. Suite 204, Lansing, MI 48912.
A celebration of Betty’s long and rich life will be held on Saturday, May 27, 2023. Details to follow.
Arrangements are by the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel.
2 Messages to “Betty Raths”
DodieFebruary 27, 2023 at 2:53 pm
And he will raise you up on Eagles wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
make you to shine like the sun
and hold you in the palm of his hand
Carolyn WoodMarch 10, 2023 at 7:28 pm
I worked as a nurse for Dr. Badgley. I always enjoyed talking with Betty, seeing her smile and her always complimenting me on my family. She was still working there when I left, after Dr. Badgley’s passing. She was a joy. My deepest condolences to the entire family. What a lovely life she had. God Bless