Betty was truly a "Copper Camp Kid" having been born and raised in the mining camps of Nevada during the early 20th Century. Life in the boom-bust mining camps was hard, with very little extra but Betty made the most of life and attributed her longevity to "eating plenty of good Nevada dirt and (later) a regular shot of Bourbon." Following her mother's untimely death, she and her older brothers Fred and Art eventually settled in Kimberly, Nevada outside of Ely. Having little use for 'girly girl' things she instead chose to compete with the boys and excelled in tennis, flag football, tumbling, softball, ice-skating and anything else she could do to prove she was any boy's equal, even losing a tooth in one particularly raucous football game, and all while maintaining very high academic status.
Graduating from high school in June of 1941, Betty immediately went to work. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in November of that year, her brothers joined the call to service with Art joining the Army Air Corp and Fred joining the Navy following his graduation as a pharmacist. In the fall of 1942, Betty moved to San Francisco where she worked for the Marine Corp Headquarters, Department of the Pacific.
In 1943 Betty returned to Ely and then with her brother Art's financial help and a side job attended the University of Nevada, Reno. There she pledged and became a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority house where she met Beulah Hawkins and forged an inseparable life-long friendship. With Beulah's encouragement, Betty was elected house president in her Sophomore year, which was considered highly unusual and became so popular she was reelected the following year, making her the only Pi Beta Phi to have been elected twice.
Following college, the war had ended so Betty tried a number of jobs including social work, teaching and gave birth to her daughter Jane Louise in 1948. While teaching she met her first "True Love" E. Kelley Lyon, and they were soon married. In 1951 they moved to Virginia City and soon thereafter started the Visitor's Bureau and other ventures to promote the town long before it became the tourist mecca it is today. In 1955 their son Gary was born and not long afterward Kelley died from cancer. This left Betty with two options, keep their businesses going or go back to teaching or being a secretary. She did the math and figured if she owned her own business she could be in control and grow it, not a small decision for a single woman in the 1950's.
Betty continued to grow her businesses and in 1969 she met Herbert Edward Mattheus of Carson City, who soon became her last "True Love." Soon they were married and so began an epic tale of boating, travel, new business ventures, and great fun until Herb's passing in 1996. Since then Betty continued to travel the world and enjoy time with her friends and family. And always one to be in control, on the night before she passed she instructed the attending nurses to stop all calls at 5:00 p.m. because she needed to rest, and so God heard her wish and welcomed her home the following morning, a beautiful warm Spring day.
No memorial will be held for Betty. She and her family suggest that in lieu of flowers and especially because of these trying times, donations be made to local food banks or the ASPCA. And most importantly, she would ask that we all be kind and forgiving because you never know when you will need some else's kindness and forgiveness