With a sense of peace and grace, Betty A. Ranard, 92, passed away at home in Grand Island on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
In light of COVID-19 concerns, a memorial service will be scheduled at a later time.
Betty Arlene Hunnicutt was born Jan. 31, 1928, to Otto Clifton and Bessie May (Detamore) Hunnicutt in their farmhouse just outside of Giltner. The fifth of eight children, Betty grew up in a close-knit, caring and hard-working family during the drought and the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Walking two miles each way, she attended Mount Hope (No. 28) country school, and she and her family were involved in 4-H, with projects ranging from sewing and cooking to showing poultry and livestock, with Betty representing Hamilton County as Health Champion at the Nebraska State Fair.
Betty began attending Giltner High School in 1941, the same year World War II began. While in high school, she served as a cheerleader and also as the Rural Youth Queen. In her junior year, she began a courtship with Bobby Ranard, and after graduating from high school in 1945 (the year the war ended), Betty attended Kearney State College, later teaching and substituting in rural schools for many years.
Betty and Bobby were united in marriage on Oct. 22, 1948, at the Christian Church in Giltner. Baptized at the Christian Church in Giltner, Betty remained a member of the Disciples of Christ until 1973, when she and Bobby became members of St. Pauls Lutheran Church in Grand Island.
Betty served in many different capacities at St. Pauls, including as a member of the Church Council, Education Committee, Vacation Bible School leadership team, the Family Life Center and Prayer Garden Committees, the WELCA, and acting as the wedding/celebration coordinator. One of the first women to ever serve as a Communion Deacon, Betty also served as the president of Church Women United, was a member of the Hall County Election Board and Chairwoman for the Red Cross.
An active member of Eastern Star in Aurora and Grand Island, Betty also belonged to the Merry Jane Extension Club in Aurora, and the Sunshine Extension Club in Grand Island, while serving as a 4-H leader and as an active member of the PTA. Betty also helped with the lunch programs at Gates and Newell elementary schools for 11 years.
Betty and Bobby traveled overseas to Israel, Turkey, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy and England, and enjoyed sharing photos and stories of their travels in different presentations over the years. Those stories and tales of her and Bobby’s lives, their homes, family and history from 1928 to 2014 were compiled and shared in a self-published book titled “What? You’re Moving Again?”
Betty is survived by Bobby Gene, her loving husband of 71 years, and their children, Jo Ellen Weber (Thomas), Susan Kay McTavish (Douglas), Julie Ann Melnick and Jon Eric Ranard.
Also left to cherish her memory are her grandchildren: Erin (Cory) Heidelberger and their daughter, Katarzyna; Patrick (Emily) Weber; Sally Sadd and her children, Laikin, Libby (Andrew Larsen) and Lexi (Blake Grossart); Luke (Kate) McTavish and their children, Caitlyn, Gavin, Rebecca and Daniel; Jason Ranard; Joshua (Katie) Weber and their children, Thomas, Caroline and Steven; and Christopher (Ashley) Weber and their daughter, Evelyn.
Additional surviving family members are a sister, Marleen Caspersen (Marvin); sisters-in-law, Judy Hosier (Darrell) and Lucille Hunnicutt; brother-in-law, Harvey Bish (Jo); and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death were her parents, parents-in-law and grandparents, as well as siblings and their spouses, including Bonnie Ediger (Keith Ernst and Elvin Ediger), Verla Bachman (Earl), Loren Hunnicutt (Doris), Keith Hunnicutt (Louise), Virginia Bish, and Gerald Hunnicutt. Also preceding her in death were a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Bob (Dorothy) Hawthorne, and nieces and nephews.
Memorials are suggested to the family, to be designated at a later time. Online condolences may be shared at www.apfelfuneralhome.com.