Betty Jane (Volker) Mullins was born at home on the farm northwest of Humboldt, Nebraska on July 6, 1932. She was the oldest of three children born to Herbert Frank and Louise Augusta (Boeck) Volker.
As a child she loved her dog “Shep” the 3 legged dog. Her dad had accidentally run over the dog with the sickle mower, cutting off one to its legs. Betty also loved their two horses, Claude and Dase. As a youngster she attended Prairie Hill grade school, 1/2 mile east and 1/2 mile north of her farm home. Later she graduated from high school at Bratton Union in 1950. After high school she received her teaching certificate from Peru State College.
Betty taught school one year north of Humboldt before meeting Arnold Bents at a summer church picnic at St. James Lutheran Church, rural Humboldt. She fell in love with the tall, lean soldier who had come from Wisconsin to visit his brother, Rev. Harms Bents, who was the church’s minister at that time.
Arnold and Betty got married on June 12,1952 at St. James Lutheran Church. They were blessed with three children; Donald Gene, Shirley Marie and Steven Leroy. In December, 1955, Betty left Nebraska with her three little kids to embark on the adventure of being a military family in Japan. She joined her husband and lived on Kadena Air Force Base for 18 months before returning to Fort Hood, Texas.
After the couple divorced, Betty raised her three young children with the help of her parents and brothers in Humboldt. In March, 1965, Arnold was killed in gas station explosion in Fort Worth, Texas.
Later Betty married Gerald Dean and also Warren “Moon” Mullins. Both marriages ended in divorce.
Betty never lacked in motivation, drive and ambition. She ran the lunch counter at Hested’s Dime Store in Fall City; she owned the Chat-n-Nibble in Fall City; Big Red N in Salem and The Camp in Humboldt. She operated the Cardinal Kitchen and Country Cookin’ Cafes. For a short time Betty also owned Big H Hardware Store in Humboldt. She was “Grandma Betty” or “Aunt Betty” to lots of kids.
After retiring, Betty enjoyed trips to local casinos; she loved to dance; and listened to all kinds of music and played the accordion and piano.
The love of Betty’s heart was her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She really liked playing Dominos!
Betty Jane was a member of the Lutheran Church; past member of the Humboldt Lions Club; past member of Humboldt American Legion Auxiliary and she was a willing worker on the Richardson County Election Board for many years.
Betty Jane became a resident of Premier Estates of Pawnee on October 17, 2014. She quickly made friends with other residents and the loving staff. Her favorite times were Friday Bingo, playing Dominos, dancing on Karaoke day and weekly devotions led by area pastors. She passed away peacefully there on April 21, 2020 with family at her beside at the age of 87.
She was preceded in death by her parents, great-grandson, Joel Wayne Franzen (2000), great-great-granddaughter, Aley Lynn Gilmore (2008) and sister-in-law, Karen Volker (1996).
She is survived by her three children and their spouses; Don & Anita Bents, Pawnee City; Shirley & Willie Wichman, Lincoln and Steve & Joanne Bents, Billings, MT, 8 grandchildren: Jake, Matt, Lisa, Dustin, Steven, Jessica, Sara and Jan, 5 step grandchildren; 7 great grandkids, with one more arriving in May, 6 great great grandkids. Her two brothers, Laverne (Rusty) Volker and Mervin Volker both of Humboldt and one uncle, Evert Boeck, Smith Center, KS, three nephews, three nieces, and many cousins, friends and neighbors.
Graveside service 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 25, 2020 at St. James Lutheran (Long Branch) Cemetery, rural Humboldt, Nebraska. Officiating Pastor Duane Westing and Pastor Eric Spruth-Janssen. Casual dress is recommended. Visitation on Friday, April 24, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at Wherry Mortuary, 919 G Street, Pawnee City, Nebraska. Interment at St. James Lutheran (Long Branch) Cemetery, rural Humboldt, Nebraska. Memorials in lieu of flowers to St. James Lutheran ( Long Branch) Church. Online condolences may be left at www.wherrymortuary.com. A Celebration of life will be held at a later date.
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