Graveside service for Betty Welch was 10:30 a.m., Monday, Oct. 25, at Good Hope Cemetery. Viewing was from 3 to 5 p.m Sunday, Oct. 24, with the family present.
Arrangements were by Lanman Funeral Home, Inc. of Helena. www.lanmanmemorials.com Facebook: Lanman Funeral Home Inc.
Betty Marie Hileman was born May 5, 1937 in Covington, to James Elmer and Eva Belle (Dillion) Hileman.
As the only girl and the youngest of five children, Betty learned to be tough and compete as her older brothers Jim, Glenn, Buster (Richard), and Bob were constantly challenging her.
She played multiple sports at Covington-Douglas-Hayward Schools, but basketball was her favorite. Betty graduated high school in 1955 and was president of her senior class.
In the fall of 1955 she started college at Oklahoma State University and lived in Willard Hall.
January of 1956 she agreed to go on a double date to a drive-in movie in Stillwater, but there was a problem, her friend’s date, some guy named Harold Welch, would not take his eyes off her and flirted with her the whole night.
Ironically, over the next month she would see Harold around campus very frequently.
Harold set up a date with Betty through his cousin, Patty, who also lived in Willard Hall in February of 1956 and the two have been inseparable ever since.
Betty graduated from Oklahoma State University in May of 1959 with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and she and Harold were married that summer, Aug. 8th, 1959.
After the wedding Harold and Betty accepted teaching positions in the Oklahoma City School District and between 1959 and 1972 Betty taught at four different elementary schools there.
The year 1967 was eventful as her first son, Michael Todd Welch, was born June 13th. While pregnant and then tending a newborn she worked on and eventually received her Master’s degree in education from Central State University.
As the 1960s ended and the 1970s began, times were very uncertain in America. April 10th, 1971 Betty gave birth to her second son, Brian Scott Welch.
Being raised in small western Oklahoma towns with limited access, Harold and Betty appreciated the amenities Oklahoma City offered, but as the Vietnam war ended and certain political events unfolded in the country, they began to fear raising their children in a large city.
They wanted to move to a place where they had more control over their sons’ daily lives. That place was Harold’s family’s hometown of Helena.
In May of 1972 Harold and Betty accepted teaching positions at the Helena State Training School for Boys.
They moved to Helena and lived in a rent house until their home was built at 7th and Bond Street. The family moved into their new home in November of 1974.
Betty taught at the Helena Training School until 1982 and then accepted a teaching position at Ringwood Elementary.
Betty spent the 1970s, 80s and early 90s chasing her sons to every football and baseball field around. She never missed a single game.
During wheat harvest she would bring lunch and dinner to the crew out in the fields. She retired from teaching in 1995 with 36 years of experience.
If you came to visit her after retirement you would likely be shown some of the thousands of pictures she collected of her family.
She loved her beautiful daughters-in-law, Linda and Katelyn Welch, and always appreciated the way that they cared for her sons.
She was especially proud of her six grandchildren, Brandon, Braxton, Mark Todd, Briggs, Bradlee and Brewer Welch.
During retirement Betty took a part time job at Lanman Funeral Home and helped comfort and greet families who were experiencing loss.
She really enjoyed interacting with people in Helena and surrounding communities.
“Unselfish” is the best adjective to describe Betty’s personality. If you met her or came to her house everything was about you, never her.
The selfless sacrifices that she made throughout her life for her family and students and many others are something you almost never see in the world of today.
Upon meeting her you sensed that she liked you, did not judge you and would always give you the benefit of the doubt that you were a great person.
She loved crossword puzzles, board games and Sudoku.
She’s preceded in death by her mother and father, James and Eva Hileman; her four brothers, Jim, Glenn, Buster and Bob; her grandson, Briggs Griffin Welch.
She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Harold Vic Welch; her son, Michael Todd Welch and his wife, Linda and grandson, Mark Todd Welch, Enid; her son, Brian Scott Welch and wife, Katelyn and grandsons, Brandon Scott, Braxton James and Brewer Thomas Welch and one granddaughter, Bradlee Hope-Marie Welch, Lake Jackson, Texas.
Memorials may be made to the Briggs Welch Foundation through the funeral home.