★ She was mother, wife, grandmother, and woman of God !!! She went to heaven five months short of being 99 years old - A FULL LIFE LIVED !!
★ Our mother Bette was born Feb. 13, 1924, in St. Paul, Minnesota to Swedish immigrants, Andrew and Helga Johnson. On Bette's birth certificate her name is still Baby Girl Johnson because her parents did not have a name picked out for her together before Bette was born in the hospital. Bette, obviously, never had the need to change that name on her Minnesota birth certificate.
★Bette, our mother, loved books and learning, and she earned double A’s in Latin in the Minnesota school system. She wrote some poetry, and enjoyed spending time with her two brothers Wendell and Kenny, and with her cousins who lived on a farm. She adored her parents, and many years later would care for her mother in her home for six years.
★In her early 20’s she went on an adventure to Washington state where she worked in a secretarial pool for a company, which she much later learned, to her horror, was working on the manufacture of the atomic bomb. During her time on the West Coast she also did some volunteer work for the USO, and at the Hollywood Canteen she met some movie stars, Betty Davis and June Allison
★ In 1949 she married her husband of 63 years, Marvin Dittman. They went on to have Brad first and then Elaine, and they raised their children in North St. Paul, Minnesota. We were a church going family, but a living relationship with Jesus was absent from our Christian experience. Then in 1970 our lives changed when we became acquainted, through the charismatic renewal, with the invitation of knowing Jesus personally through an ongoing encounter with the Holy Spirit. This was life changing for my mom, for her marriage, and for our family.
★ After this life changing encounter with Jesus, Mother went on to serve Him in many ways. She and our dad took needy young women into their home to get them back on their feet. They volunteered in an organization called the Sowers where they traveled in their small RV to help out with various projects for Christian ministries. She taught public school elementary age children for release time Bible study many of whom were Hmong, immigrants from Southeast Asia. My mother practiced hospitality, often having people over for dinner with hours of good conversation. Our parents were also Gideons, members of an organization which distributed Bibles to prisons, hospitals, hotels, and medical offices. When we were in high school she opened our home to a group of about 25 teens who came for prayer and worship on Monday nights. She always had a big bucket of chocolate chip ice cream waiting for them..... Yummy.
★ Our mother was also involved in the Pro Life movement, holding signs advocating for life in front of an abortion center. She was occasionally sworn at and once spit upon for doing this, but she persevered, even showing up in the frigid Minnesota winters.
★She loved and adored her grandchildren. When her first one was born in 1983, she came from Minnesota to Boston, where Jim and Elaine were living, to help Elaine as a new mother. When she walked in the door, and saw Andrew (Elaine's first born) she exclaimed, “But you didn’t tell me that he was beautiful!” It was love at first sight, as it was for all of her four grandchildren.
★ In 1994 Mother and Dad moved to Oregon, where Jim and Elaine lived. They were very involved in their lives, helping them with home schooling, attending their children’s soccer, football, and basketball games, and having fun sleep overs with Elaine's daughters Emily and Kristin.
★ When Jim and Elaine left Oregon in 2001, to move to Kansas City to work at Whitefield Academy, Mother was very sad to see them go, but gave them her blessing knowing that God was behind this move. A few years after this move, Brad, the only son of Marvin and Bette, moved from his job teaching English in Japan to Oregon. This timing was providential because the years ahead would require his loving service to our parents as Dad came down with pancreatic cancer and died in 2012. So Mother was not left alone in her widowhood. Dad had told Brad, as he was dying, "Take good care of your mother" and he carried out that request of his father excellently.
★ About two years ago Mother became afflicted with dementia. Even though her memory deteriorated, she retained her sense of humor and her love of putting together a cute outfit. Brad took her to get her hair done and made sure she had her lipstick on and her favorite earrings in place. He watched movies and favorite TV shows with her, played games with her, told her jokes, and fed her healthy meals and supplements which kept her in good health. They worshipped and praised the Lord together. Elaine said that she will be forever grateful to her brother Brad for the excellent care he gave to his mother in her last years.
★ As Mother’s memory deteriorated, the best way that she and her daughter visited on the phone, was enjoying poems together. Elaine would read poem after poem to mother and our mother expressed her love and appreciation of them. Mother Bette could still recite “Psalm of Life” by Longfellow and Elaine heard her do so during the last summer Elaine visited mom in Oregon.
★So as we gather here on this memorial page to honor Brad and Elaine's mother, Bette, we thank God for her as a woman to be praised as mother, wife, grandmother, and woman of God.
★ We love you, Mother, and those who knew you as Bette their friend love you also !!!