Betty Jane was born on September 1, 1922 in Minneapolis, MN, to Joseph J. Kocourek and Edna E. Nystrom Kocourek, the oldest of five children. She died in La Mesa, CA on April 9, 2019, after a long and loving life.
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Betty grew up in Center, ND, and proudly referred to herself as a North Dakota farm girl. She told wonderful stories of her life on the farm, and throughout her life made efforts to return to her hometown to reconnect with family and friends. She graduated from Mandan High School, class of 1941, and shortly after moved to San Diego. During WWII she worked for Convair, contributing her skills to the war effort.
In 1942, Betty married George Barth. They had four children, James Michael, Ronald Miles, Patricia Ann, and Bonnie Marie. In 1951, they moved into their newly-built home in La Mesa, CA, where Betty lived for the next 64 years. Betty loved her house and her garden; her "farm girl" talents produced beautiful roses, birds-of-paradise, bougainvillea, and fruit trees. Betty's freshly-squeezed orange juice and lemonade, made from the fruit of her own trees, were beyond compare.
Betty was a true friend to her neighbors, often lending a sympathetic ear and helpful words of advice. Her family was first and foremost in her life, and she loved her children, their spouses, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren unconditionally. Once her children were in school, Betty went to work as church secretary for St. John of the Cross Catholic Church in Lemon Grove. She eventually left this position to become the Executive Secretary to the Board of Directors at Vanier Graphics Corp. in Santee, where she worked until retirement in 1992.
Betty was a talented writer, something she inherited from her mother. She would compose poems to mark special occasions, and her business letters were graceful yet authoritative. She would champion causes by writing pointed letters of concern that could not be ignored. She also loved to jot little notes to people, most often in thanks and praise, but occasionally to communicate constructive criticism, never with malice, but rather, in an honest attempt towards improvement.
Her faith was very important to Betty. She was a devout Catholic and a proud early member of Santa Sophia Catholic Parish in Spring Valley. Betty had many interests: she enjoyed watching baseball (go Padres!) on television, she loved all animals but particularly cats, and she found joy observing nature in her bountiful backyard.
In her retirement, Betty volunteered many hours tutoring children to improve their reading skills. She was a strong advocate for literacy, wanting to share her love of reading with others. In lieu of flowers, we encourage you to contribute to a children's literacy program of your choice to honor Betty.
Betty is preceded in death by her parents, her four siblings (Donald Kocourek, Helen Freidig, Marion Vettel, and John Kocourek), her husband George Barth, her son Ronald Miles Barth, and her son-in-law Wayne Ford. She is survived by son James Michael Barth (wife Kathryn), daughter Patricia Ford, daughter Bonnie Weischedel (husband Glen), granddaughters Amelia Dyckman, Florence Barth, and Sierra Weischedel, and great-grandchildren Kaia Dyckman and Dylan Brant. She is also survived and loved by many nieces and nephews.
Betty wrote, "I would be happy to be remembered as a classy old dame whose whole life was governed by her love for her children, grandchildren and other family members." This is certainly how we will remember her.