Cover photo for Betty Jean Goodnight's Obituary
Betty Jean Goodnight Profile Photo

Betty Jean Goodnight

d. July 29, 2014

Betty Jean (Putnam) Adler Goodnight died Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at Newton Presbyterian Manor where she had resided the past eight years.


Betty was born to Otto and Eva Putnam May 30,1926 in Newton, Kansas, the youngest of six children.  She attended McKinley Elementary, Newton Junior High, and graduated with honors from Newton High School in 1945. Classmates continued to play an important role throughout Betty’s life through friendships, get-togethers, class reunions, and correspondence. Following high school she attended Mrs. Everett McCann’s private business college in Newton, Kansas, and eventually took some college courses in later life to help keep up with the changing times.


Betty began working at Stauffer’s Construction Company in 1945 before starting with Newton Milling and Elevator Company in 1946 where she performed general office duties for 16 years. She then went to work for the American Coach Company (later called DMH) from 1963 until 1984 working in the payroll department. She ended her business career with United Methodist Youthville, where she worked from 1990-1992 doing computer clerical work. She was known for her strong commitment to her job, faithful attendance, attention to detail, her ability to learn new skills quickly, and getting along well with others.


She was baptized in 1953 at the First Baptist Church in Newton. Betty was an ardent student of the Bible throughout her life, as evidenced by her scores of notes.  Her faith and love for God were the foundation for her loving care for others and sustained her through life’s journey.


In September of 1954 Betty married Harold Adler at the First Baptist Church and they made their home in Newton until 1959 when they moved to a farm west of Peabody where Harold engaged in farming.  Betty continued working in Newton while filling the roles as wife and homemaker. She and Harold graciously opened their home anytime, always welcoming friends or family. Betty’s niece, Leann and son, lived with them for a short time and Betty enjoyed caring for baby “Mikie”. Betty was also a loving care provider for her oldest sister Florence for many years, until Harold’s sudden death in 1989.  In1990 Betty moved back to Newton.


Betty and Lee Goodnight of Newton, Kansas were married in 1992, in Guthrie, Oklahoma. For a few years they attended First Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Newton. Lee preceded her in death in 1999. Betty had developed a strong interest in genealogy after being approached by her niece, Janine in 1975, about family history. This became a favorite activity for Betty and Lee and took them on many research trips.


Later Betty shared a special friendship with Roland Decker for several years, until health issues prevented them from participating in activities together.


Betty took great interest and pleasure in the lives and activities of her friends and the many extended family members. She loved attending class reunions and participated in numerous community organizations including Business and Professional Women’s Club and Farmer’s Co-op. She treasured all the cards and pictures given to her through the years. Her niece Jane Ellen continued to remember Betty every few months with updates of her family right up through this summer.  Betty was known for her sweet disposition and friendly smile. During the past six months her health declined progressively.


Betty was preceded in death by her parents; and siblings: Florence, Ruth (Glen) Irion, Madge, Jack (Helen Louise Long), Anna (Leo) May; and her husbands Harold Adler and Lee Goodnight.


She is survived by nieces and nephews: Janine Putnam Arnold, Joyce Putnam Hockett (Evan) both of Newton; Brian M. May (Catherine) of Wichita; Leann May Bird, Jane May Doornbos (Larry) both of El Dorado; and James Putnam (Jana) of Hutchinson. She is also survived by Lee’s daughter, Jana Goodnight Waite of Champagne, Illinois.


Services will be Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 at 10:00a.m. at Petersen’s Funeral Home Chapel, Newton, with the Rev. Gary Bell of the First Christian Church Disciples of Christ officiating. Burial will follow in Greenwood Cemetery. Visitation is 5pm – 9pm Friday evening at Petersen’s Funeral Home, with family greeting friends 6:30-8:30. Memorials are suggested to First Baptist Church, Newton or First Christian Church, Newton and may be left in care of Petersen’s.

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


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