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Betty L. (Lyell) Chittenden
March 31, 1926 ~ August 15, 2023 (age 97) 97 Years Old
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Betty L. Chittenden, 97, died on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, in Lincoln Nebraska. She was born on a farm just north of Tecumseh on March 31, 1926, the youngest child of Lucius (Lute) Lyell and Cora (Grimmett) Lyell. She attended a country school and graduated from Tecumseh High School in 1944. She studied at the University of Nebraska for a semester intending to become a nurse. But America was at war, money was scarce, and her only possibility would have been enlisting in a branch of the military, which her family did not want her to do. Instead, she went to McCook, Nebraska, where she lived with her older sister Faye and worked in a bank.
At the end of the war, in April 1946, she married Lawrence Chittenden of Tecumseh. For the next 10 years Betty and Lawrence lived in Elk Creek, Nebraska, where Lawrence managed the grain elevator with his father and brother. During those years, five children were born – Ann; twins Sarah and Susan; a son, Lyell; and Elizabeth (Beth). In 1956, the family sold the elevator and moved to Tecumseh, where they bought the hardware store on the west side of the square. Together, Betty and Lawrence operated Chittenden Hardware and Furniture for the next 20 years.
When the last of her children entered high school, Betty fulfilled her life-long dream and enrolled in the Bryan School of Nursing in Lincoln, graduating as a registered nurse in 1976, and working in various nursing roles until 2012. After Lawrence retired in the early 1990s, they moved to Lincoln but kept close ties to Tecumseh. Lawrence died in 2008. In 2012 Betty moved back to Tecumseh to live with Sarah and her husband Bruce.
Throughout her life, Betty was active in the community. She served on the Tecumseh Public School Board, was a member of Grace Episcopal Church, and was instrumental in the preservation of the Johnson County Courthouse and its listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Betty is survived by her five children: Ann Overton and her partner Allan Cohen of San Francisco, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts; Sarah Williamson and her husband Bruce of Tecumseh; Susan Olson of Elburn, Illinois; Lyell Chittenden of Fairbanks, Alaska; and Elizabeth Chittenden of Franklin, Tennessee; and by six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.
She will be buried with a private service alongside her husband Lawrence, at Tecumseh Cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with family greeting friends from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, August 31, 2023 at the Wherry Mortuary in Tecumseh, Nebraska.
Memorial donations may be made to the Johnson County Historical Society.
Online condolences may be left @ www.wherrymortuary.com.