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By The Mercury

Betty Jo White, a former Manhattan resident, died Monday at the age of 70 at her residence in Milbank, S.D. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Living Word Lutheran Church in Milbank. 

Betty Jo was born on Dec. 8, 1943, in Lemmon, S.D. to Harold and Jeanette Voigt White.  In 1945 her family moved to Milbank. She graduated from Milbank High School in 1961.  A talented and gifted vocalist, Betty Jo attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, graduating in 1965 with a degree in Home Economics Education.  While there she sang with the Chapel Choir and participated in musical theater productions.  She spent her summers working at Rock Hill Girl Scout Camp in Mahopac, New York. 

Betty Jo’s first teaching job was in Newtown, Connecticut.  She went on to earn her Master’s Degree from Penn State and her Doctorate in housing from Virginia Tech.  Betty Jo was employed by Housing and Urban Development.  She taught at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO for 15 years, then at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., and retired as Professor Emeritus from Kansas State.

A lifelong career woman, Betty Jo’s professional achievements are many. She specialized in designing housing for the elderly. She designed and built the Milbank triplex in which she resided. She served on the building committee for her church in Kansas and as a consultant for the Manhattan Housing Authority. Although Betty Jo’s work took her all over the globe and allowed her to take many exciting trips to exotic places, she remained true to her hometown, retiring in Milbank in 2006.  She loved reminiscing about her days as a Milbank Bulldog and followed many of the MHS activities in retirement.  Betty Jo also followed the events and lives of her 12 nieces and nephews, always interested in where they were and what they were doing. Following in her father’s footsteps, she loved to garden and particularly enjoyed her flowers. 

In retirement Betty Jo enjoyed Study Club, Community Bible Study and her church, all of which kept her active and involved.  She also enjoyed singing with her church choir, where some of the members were the same she had sung with as a teenager. Church life was of utmost importance to Betty Jo.

Betty Jo will be remembered as a woman ahead of her time, achieving professional goals that few in her generation had. She was intelligent, articulate and always seeking to broaden her horizons - even as her mind continued to “play tricks on her”. Her family will miss her wry sense of humor and logic that sometimes defied explanation. She was a devoted daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Betty Jo’s family wishes for her gallons of Monster Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream to enjoy, at last, guilt free!

Betty Jo died at her home on Monday, March 3, 2014, having reached the age of 70.

Left with her loving memory are her siblings: Noel and Julayne White of Corona, SD; Dennis and Carol White of Aberdeen, SD; Mary and Mike Hoffman of LaBolt, SD; Doris Stusiak of Aberdeen, SD; Lee and Kari White of Fulton, SD; 12 nieces and nephews; special cousins Marcia Graf and Sharon Johnson of WI; her beloved cats Missy and Mocha; aunt Lila Knittel of Mobridge, SD; uncle Art Voigt of New Hope, MN; as well as many other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Mundwiler Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements for Betty Jo White.

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