Betty Ann Teigen, of Billings, died Nov. 16, 2023. She was born on Nov. 13, 1932, to Charles and Mary Zimmerman, the youngest of eight children. Raised on the family farm at 48th and Grand, Betty was proud of her grandfather’s role in helping to build Zimmerman Trail. She attended Billings schools from The Shiloh School through Senior High School. She graduated from Montana State College (now MSU), majoring in home economics. After graduating, Betty taught home economics in Three Forks for one year.
Betty met Bruce Raymond Teigen at a fraternity dance at college, and they married in August of 1955. They lived in Coronado, California; and then Oak Harbor, Washington; for a time while Bruce served as a pilot in the Navy. They moved to Seattle, then returned home to Montana in 1961, and established their home on Avenue D (Christmas Wreath Lane).
They had three daughters: Sharon, Susan and Carol. Betty worked hard as a stay-at-home mom. As a family, they especially enjoyed exploring the mountains of Montana, camping in their travel trailer and driving their ancient Land Rover, “The Albatross.” When their teenagers tired of camping, they bought a small ski boat, moved the trailer to Cooney Dam, and spent most summer weekends on the water with family and friends.
Betty and Bruce were social. They were members of a square dance club, where they met many of their dearest friends. Their group danced, camped and traveled together for years. The couple was adventurous, once traveling to Mexico with friends in a Cessna. They traveled frequently, often piloted by Bruce, to see their girls — Carol in Utah, Sharon in Washington State and in the various places Susan lived, from Michigan, to California, to Bangkok, Thailand. As a couple, they drove to New England to see the fall colors, cruised to Alaska, sailed the San Juan Islands, and visited the Pyramids in Egypt.
An avid flower gardener, Betty was a member of the Billings Bloomers violet club, raised thousands of African Violets in her home, and often shared her violets with others. She kept a beautiful yard, full of perennials, including iris, some of which came from the family farm. Private in her faith, but faithful in her service, Betty was a member of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd for 62 years, where she volunteered in the office and was part of a women’s circle. She also did various volunteer work at St. John’s Lutheran Home, including helping at their Senior Day Care Program for 25 years.
Betty was a great Mom and Grams, and a dear friend to many. She was hardworking, loving and kind. She loved to laugh and to observe the world around her. Betty was admired for her spunk and strength of spirit. She handled adversity with grace, especially the loss of her husband Bruce in 2006 and the devastating loss of her oldest daughter Sharon in 2012.
Betty insisted on a full and active life. She bowled for many years, played golf, and was a seamstress and a canner. She was the leader of a Girl Scout Troop and an election judge.
Betty played bridge for decades and enjoyed lunches with friends. She got great pleasure from birdwatching, but hated the squirrel that ate her birdseed. She mowed her own lawn and went to the gym at 90. Betty only stopped shoveling snow because her grandkids gifted her snow shoveling for Christmas. She lived independently in her home until her last week.
She loved to travel with her kids and grandkids — a family cruise on the Rhine River; several rustic weeks in Forest Service cabins; a pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland; a train ride across Canada; a visit to Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears; a tour of Virginia City, and trips to Oaxaca, Mexico; Kauai; the Grand Canyon; and Washington, DC. The whole extended family celebrated her 85th birthday together in Las Vegas, laughing together at the Blue Man Group. On her last trip in March, she saw the migration of the Sandhill Cranes in Kearney, Nebraska.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband of more than 50 years, Bruce; her daughter, Sharon Oleksak; and her seven siblings, Alberta, Florence, Charles “Bud,” Alice “Toots,” Harold, Glendoris, and John.
She is survived by a large and loving family: daughters Susan (Douglas) Cornelius of Billings and Carol (Scott) Jensen of Elsinore, Utah; grandchildren Andy (Kari) Tyler of Camas, Washington; Shannon (Jason) Chua of Laguna Hills, California; Craig Tyler (Sarah Dempsey), sailing citizens of the world; Mel (Jason) Wenko of Dickinson, North Dakota; Casey Redmon (Scott Light) of Washington, DC; Mary (Eric) Emmett of Billings; Bruce Jensen of Salt Lake City, Utah; Julie Jensen (Julie Kirkman) of Elsinore, Utah and Heather Jensen of Dallas, Texas; and great-grandchildren Samantha, Jackson, and Allison Tyler; Hannah, Taylor, Avery, and Kellen Chua, and Cora Rose Emmett. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and “greats.”
We’re grateful for the life she shared with us.
A Memorial Service for Betty will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Billings.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd or the American Cancer Society.
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