Cover photo for Betty J. Friesen's Obituary
Betty J. Friesen Profile Photo

Betty J. Friesen

d. January 28, 2021

Always cheerful, always smiling and filled with laughter, Betty left us early morning on January 28.

She was buried next to the love of her life and husband, Karl, at Greenwood Cemetery on January 30 in a private ceremony attended by family and friends, and with the participation of family in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Denver, Colorado; Shawnee and Lawrence, Kansas; Baltimore, Maryland and  Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania via FaceTime and Zoom.

Betty was born at Axtell Christian Hospital in Newton, Kansas. She was the daughter of John Unruh, a blacksmith; and Sophia Frerking Unruh, a homemaker and quilter; and the younger sister of Natalie Unruh Hill. She attended McKinley Elementary School, Santa Fe Middle School, and Newton High School. For many years she was a member of First Mennonite Church along with her husband, parents, and children.

A conscientious objector during the Korean Conflict, her husband Karl served in Selective Service at a hospital in Evanston, Illinois.  While there Betty learned bookkeeping working for an accounting firm. These skills served her throughout her career at Montgomery Ward’s, Holstine Motors, Doctor’s Park, Presbyterian Manor, Newton Medical Supply, and Newton Medical Center. She served on the Kansas Blue Cross Blue Shield board, the Warkentin House board, and the Newton Convention and Visitors Center Bureau.

Betty was an avid and accomplished fabric artist producing many hand-hooked rugs in the primitive style.  She provided demonstrations at area craft shows, taught lessons, and mounted a retrospective exhibit at the Carriage Factory Art Gallery in Newton.  Her work was featured in trade publications.

For many years Betty and Karl ran the Old Parsonage Bed & Breakfast, hosting and entertaining interesting guests including the President of Stanford University, musicians from Mannheim Steamroller and the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi among many others. The Old Parsonage was decorated with antiques and collectibles acquired over many years of enjoying antiquing and collecting as a hobby.

Betty loved Christmas, and enjoyed listening to Christmas music year-round. Throughout her life her heart remained filled with the sense of awe and wonder of Christmas time, and the sense of seasonal joy and delight was always with her.

Betty’s parents, husband Karl, and son Michael passed before her. Her family will hold dear her memory, and cherish the love and laughter she shared with them: son Gregory (Genevieve), and grandchildren Gabrielle and Galen in Colorado Springs; grandchildren of son Michael (deceased) Brooke, Anna and Andrew in Denver; son Russell (Andrea), and grandchildren Noah, Hannah, Sophie and Sam in Shawnee; son Darrin (Linda), and grandchildren Grant, John Karl, Elise and Gretchen in St. Louis; sister Natalie in Wichita; five nephews (John and Jerry Hill, Kevin and Bradley Friesen, Nathan Voth), three nieces (Julie Hill Songer, Stacey Voth Schwartz and Jennifer Voth Roland), and four great grandchildren. She will be missed by Karl’s brother Ron (Jeanette)in Loveland and sister Luanna (Karl) Voth in Newton.

The family extends their heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the love and care provided to Betty by her friends and neighbors, and wonderful people at Newton Home Health. They are especially grateful that throughout her residence at Asbury Park, including during COVID, the many dedicated and loving caregivers were at her side.

“Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.”



To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Betty J. Friesen, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 9

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree