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Bette R. Whitehead

Thursday, May 16, 2019
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Bette R. Whitehead


Former Cozad Resident:

Bette Rose Whitehead passed away Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 in Shenandoah, Iowa at the age of 91.

She was born March 28th, 1928 in Gothenburg, Nebraska. She was the daughter of George and Lena (Folkers) Ostendorf. Bette grew up in the Gothenburg, Nebraska area and graduated from Gothenburg High School.

On June 13th, 1948, she was united in marriage to LeRoy Whitehead. This union was blessed with three daughters, Lonnette Lee, Debra Lee and Sandra Lee.

Bette received a degree to teach rural school and taught for 2 years after high school graduation. After teaching Bette was a homemaker and worked at the Nebraska State School for Trainable Children. She and Lee owned and operated several businesses in Cozad including Kamperville, Horizon Mobile Home Court and Merchandise Mart.

Bette was a Brownie/Girl Scout leader where she was instrumental in starting a Girl Scout troop at the State School integrating the girls with local troops. Bette was a member of the American Lutheran Church in Cozad, Nebraska, where she was a Sunday School and Bible School teacher. She was also a mentor for young girls in the church and sat on several church boards. In 1996 she started the first Betty Club in Cozad.

She wrote a book of her childhood titled Come Walk Through My Childhood With Me . This book was over 20 years in the making and ended with her presenting it to her family in 2000. She also wrote a children’s book titled ‘Harley’; a story about her great granddaughters, Taylor and Sydney’s cat.

Bette enjoyed cooking, entertaining, reading, playing bridge and pitch, drawing doodles, and most of all she enjoyed her family.

She loved her Huskers and spent most Saturdays during football season cheering them on.

She planned many family outings and each year everyone made a point to be present at Grandma’s for Thanksmas, which was our family Christmas held at Thanksgiving.

Bette truly appreciated Nebraska, and all its beauty. She knew so much about nature including which clouds would bring rain and the names of the wildflowers that were alongside the roadways. She always noticed and pointed out the beauty of the rolling hills north and south of Cozad and never took a drive without commenting on the clouds and the images she would see in them.

Laughter is a great legacy she passes on from her parents and through her to all her family. No matter how gray a day, she said there is something humorous one can find in it. She often said that she couldn’t imagine living life without a sense of humor.

Bette was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 48 years, Lee; her parents; her brother, LaVern, and infant brother, LaRoy; son-in-law, Gregory ‘Bernie’ Werner; great grandson, DeAnte Nicolarsen and many other beloved family members and friends.

Bette is survived by her children: Lonnie Hartstack and husband, Denny of Clarinda, Iowa; Debra Nicolarsen and husband, Mike of Hastings, NE; and Sandy Ritter and husband, Michael of San Antonio, TX. 9 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren.

Memorials are suggested to the American Lutheran Church, Cozad, NE. Online condolences may be shared at .

Funeral services were held Saturday, May 11th, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at the American Lutheran Church in Cozad, NE with Vicar Kathy Gundell officiating. Burial followed in the Cozad Cemetery. Visitation was Friday, May 10th, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. with family present from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Berryman Funeral Home.