All who knew Elizabeth "Bette" Heim would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. Warm and outgoing, she was the sort of person everyone seemed to know within the community she called home throughout the majority of her life. Although she accomplished so much of which to be proud, Bette was a humble woman whose greatest source of pride and joy was found in the family she shared with the love of her life. Bette did face trials at times, but her faith remained strong as she faced whatever came her way with both grace and courage. Deeply cherished, she will be forever missed.
It was great to be an American during the decade that we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. Innovation was leading the way to countless new technologies, and prosperity was widely felt from coast to coast. Amidst this exciting time was a time of celebration in the lives of Roy and Clara Kingsley as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Elizabeth on April 20, 1925. Born and raised in a log cabin in Money Creek Valley, Minnesota, she was the fifth of eight children. Bette and her siblings were close throughout their entire lives, and she learned the value of hard work from her parents who were hardworking farmers. Bette walked to school uphill both ways, at least according to her. They had one bedroom for the boys and one for the girls, and during the winter they gathered around the stove to warm up.
When she was 15, Bette moved with her family to St. Charles. She was less than thrilled, but that all changed once a neighbor boy named Johnny Heim started showing up on his horse to visit. Sparks flew, and with a desire to spend the rest of their lives together the sweethearts were married on Tuesday, June 2, 1943.
Partners in work, in family, and in life, Bette and Johnny worked hard establishing their farm and starting their family. Together they were blessed with the births of five children including Jack, Dick, Jim, Susie, and Patty. Not only did they farm alongside one another, but they also operated Circle H Ranch riding stables near Elba as well as The Trading Post, a laundromat/bait shop in Elba. Rain or shine, the horse barn was full of activity, and Bette knew exactly how much food needed to be prepared for 30 to 40 people every Saturday night for the chicken barbecue ride. She didn't bat an eye when the menu was changed to prime rib or even a lobster dinner. Bette gardened, canned, and was also an amazing baker. Evenings were often filled with ice cream and popcorn.
Someone who was always busy, Bette was a woman of many interests. She was a fantastic bowler who won many trophies. A bit later in life, Bette discovered an amazing talent as a stained glass artesian. Over the years she won several awards at the Winona County Fair for her work. Bette's creative talents also shined in her skills as a seamstress. Throughout her life she made many wedding, bridesmaid, and homecoming dresses for her daughters and nieces. Bette also taught her girls to sew, and she made many afghans and quilts. She loved reading, especially Nora Roberts, and she was a regular at the library. For years they enjoyed fishing on the river or at their cabin at French Lake, and the cabin was often the backdrop for memorable family gatherings. Bette played bingo, and she also enjoyed the occasional trip to the casino.
Throughout her life Bette viewed the day she married her beloved John to be the best day of her life. She was never quite the same after his death in 2000 as she didn't really know how to live life without him. Bette still got out when she could, and for years she was a dedicated member of St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Elba. In 2004, she moved in to St. Charles, which was her first time living in the city. Charlie and Marge brought her to senior citizens on Tuesday where she loved playing Rummikub and was a stickler for following the rules. During the winter months, Bette liked playing cards with her family. In December of 2014, Bette moved to the Plainview nursing home where she seemed to blossom playing bingo, crafts, having her hair and nails done, and visits with family. She also enjoyed many visits with a special little girl named Jenna who was the daughter of a staff member there.
Creative, hardworking, and genuine, Elizabeth "Bette" Heim was a blessing to everyone she met. She was precise and wanted things done just so, and she loved having a good time. Bette and her husband were an amazing team, and there was nothing she cherished more than watching the family they created growing to include children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. With unending devotion to her family, she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
Elizabeth "Bette" (Kingsley) Heim, formerly of St. Charles, died Tuesday evening June 13th at Green Prairie Rehabilitation Center in Plainview. Bette's family includes her four children; Richard (Rita) Heim of Minneapolis, James (Karla) Heim of Green Valley, AZ, Sue (Dean) Mathison of St. Charles and Patti (Pat) Ellringer of St. Charles, 12 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, a brother Don (Rita) Kingsley of Rochester and a sister-in-law Marge Kingsley of St. Charles. Elizabeth was preceded in death by her husband John in 2000, a son John "Jack" in 1970, an infant daughter in 1949 and siblings, Rob; Dorothy; Rete; Ruth; Margie and Charlie. A Funeral Mass for Betty will be 10 a.m. Saturday, June 24th at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Elba with the Reverend Kurt Farrell officiating. Burial will follow in St. Aloysius Cemetery. Friends may call from 5-8 p.m. Friday at Hoff Funeral Service in St. Charles. They may also call one hour before services at the church on Saturday. Please share a memory of Bette at her online guestbook and view her video tribute, when it becomes available at www.hofffuneral.com. Memorials are preferred to St. Aloysius Catholic Church.
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