Elizabeth “Betty” Jane (nee Borgerding) Schulte, 87, was born on the morning of March 8, 1932 in the family farmhouse down the hill from St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Dutzow, Missouri, the eleventh of twelve children. Her parents, the late Joseph F. and Emma (Hopen) Borgerding, after living in Illinois and Texas while teaching, settled in the verdant hill farm near the Missouri River. It was simple country living of crops and fields and gardens and butchering, summer kitchens and smokehouses, milking cows and gathering eggs. There was no electricity, a single outhouse, and lots and lots of cornbread with speck, trips to the vegetable cellar, and frugal self-sufficiency.
Betty walked up the hill, sometimes several times a day, to the school and church where her parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and later, her husband, children and grandchildren were baptized, educated, married and, some, buried.
Thanks to the rigors of the good Sisters at St. Vincent’s School, she was promoted to St. Francis Borgia High School, “across the river,” in Washington. During a brief career as a legal secretary, Betty was swept away by her lifelong love, Donald Alfred Schulte. During his enlistment in the US Navy, Betty and Don married at St. Vincent’s, and then moved to San Diego, CA, almost succumbing to sun swept temptations and settling there.
Better sense prevailed, however, and they returned to their families and Missouri, first making their home in Washington. Don began his career as a toolmaker and Betty was a homemaker, carrying eight healthy children. Several years later, they moved into the Bevo area of St. Louis, then migrated out to the suburbs, eventually returning to their roots in Dutzow and Washington in the mid-70s. They built their home adjoining the St. Vincent’s churchyard where their younger children would walk through the garden and orchard in the backyard to the school where their mother and aunts and uncles and grandfather had studied and played and prayed.
Betty was the most tender and generous mother, sister, aunt and friend. She relished motherhood, “mothering” not just her eight, but any baby in sight. She sent her kids off to school and college and beyond, while attending to her parents as they aged and passed. She baked and shared pies and cookies and cakes and breads for every birthday or school or church event. She read the Scriptures at Mass and tended the flower beds near the rear sanctuary door. She nurtured flowers and vegetables in her own gardens and African violets on her kitchen windowsill. She faithfully gathered the family to say the rosary during the month of May and led them in prayer as they pulled away in the family station wagon on every vacation. She sewed prom dresses and pajamas and pantsuits and more. She read, she journaled, she wrote long newsy letters to her children and faraway relatives. She adored flowers, bowling, lemon drops and Perry Como. She collected recipes and quilting patterns and many, many friends. She prayed, she laughed, she kept the faith, she cared.
In recent years, Betty struggled with a number of painful conditions. She was faithfully and tenderly cared for by her devoted and beloved husband as Alzheimer’s crippled her mind. After a recent sharp decline, she fell and broke her hip, struck her head, lingered briefly in distress, and passed away at home on June 26, 2019 surrounded by the love of her family.
Betty Jane Borgerding Schulte made the world a better place. Heaven is richer, now.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10 am on Saturday, July 6, 2019, at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Dutzow. Interment will follow at the Church Cemetery. Visitation will be on Friday, July 5, from 4 until 8 pm at Nieburg-Vitt, Miller Funeral Home, 1206 Jefferson St., Washington, Missouri 63090. Memorial donations are appreciated to St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Grade School or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Betty is survived by her husband, Donald, of Washington; eight children, Dan Schulte of Nixa, Missouri, Mark Schulte of Dutzow, Leah Schulte of Dutzow, Jim Schulte and wife Hilary Wells of Seattle, Washington, Mary Rudder and husband Mark of St. Louis, Julie Shipley and husband Ken of Portland, Oregon, Chris Schulte and wife Kerry of St. Charles, and Nathan Schulte and wife Marion of St. Louis; one brother, Larry Borgerding and wife Pat of Rolla; four sisters-in-law, Kathy Borgerding of Casper, Wyoming, Delores Borgerding of Dutzow, Marita Garbs and husband Bob of Washington, and Carol Willming and husband Don of Krakow; thirteen grandchildren, Justin (Liza), Lindsay (Zach), Chris, Joseph, Lily, Sam, Will, Jack, Ginger, Emma, Andy, Tom, and Ava; three great-grandchildren, Dylon, Tucker and Weston; other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents and ten siblings.