October 25, 1929 - June 15, 2019
Betty L. Wiersbe died peacefully at Gateway Vista, Lincoln, on June 15, 2019. Betty Lorraine Warren was born on October 25, 1929, the first-born of Clifford and Evelyn (Burke) Warren in Beloit, Wis. During her childhood the family rented farms on both sides of the Wisconsin-Illinois border. She told stories of a blizzard keeping them at a neighbor's house for four days, and of being chased by a bull when she and her siblings got off the school bus. She gardened, raised chickens, and belonged to 4-H. Betty graduated from Clinton (WI) high school in the spring of 1947. She then worked at the Clinton Co-op keeping the business' books.
The Warren family attended church faithfully. Betty went with a friend to a children's program at the Swedish Mission Covenant Church in Belvidere, Ill. on April 19, 1941. That day she put her faith in Jesus Christ as her Savior. This was the spiritual foundation she built on for the rest of her life.
In the fall of 1949 Betty enrolled at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago for Bible training. She had sensed a call from God to Christian service, perhaps missions. One professor required students to sit in alphabetical order. When he called “Warren,” both Betty and classmate Warren Wiersbe responded “Here!” The rest is history.
Betty graduated from Northern Seminary in 1952. She resumed her work as accountant for the Clinton co-op and prepared for marriage. She and Warren were married in Clinton, WI on June 20, 1953. They never tired of telling how hot it was that day (104 and no air conditioning). They had four children (David, Carolyn, Robert, and Judy) and were married almost 66 years. The farm girl made good in the city. Betty was equal to the many challenges that came in each place she and Warren served: East Chicago, Ind.; Wheaton, Ill.; Covington, Ky.; Chicago, Ill.; and Lincoln. When Warren was pastoring, Betty taught Sunday School or a women's group, played piano or organ as needed, and provided hospitality for all who entered her home.
Betty was a devoted wife and mother. Warren could not have done the work necessary to preach and write as he did, had not Betty been an equally gifted partner. Without Betty Wiersbe there would have been no Warren Wiersbe. She kept order in the home, made delicious meals, handled the correspondence, cared for the finances, and protected Warren from interruptions. When national and then international travel was required for the Wiersbe's ministry, Betty handled all the scheduling and logistics. She had an inner sense that unfailingly found true North, and she rarely was lost. If someone else was driving, and missed a turn and took a longer route, she was frustrated.
Betty prayed. Her mother was a prayer warrior, and so was Betty. She was faithful to the missions prayer meetings at Northern, and prayed for missionaries she knew personally all of her life. She and Warren kept lists of mission organizations and missionaries, and interceded for them monthly or weekly. Often her children would wake in the morning to find Mom in the living room, Bible open, deep in prayer. Betty and Warren ended each day in prayer together.
Betty was multi-talented in the domestic arts, and an effective teacher and speaker. It was as a hostess that her gifts fully shone. She set a lovely table, provided delicious meals, and put guests at ease. The conversation around Betty's table was encouraging, honest, loving, and Christ centered. Her hospitality enhanced Warren's ministry. During the YFC years, the area staff gathered at the Wiersbe's to eat and discuss plans. She hosted dinners and parties for church staff and leaders. In the Back to the Bible years, Betty was behind the scenes praying, encouraging, and sharing hospitality with the staff and their families.
Betty and Warren were a team, married partners serving the Lord together. They maximized each other's strengths and compensated for each other's weaknesses. Betty always laughed at Warren's humor, when she'd heard the joke for the millionth time, and she always took notes when he preached.
Each Christmas Betty sent out about 450 Christmas cards. She remembered the birthday of every family member and friend. Her correspondence, both written and via email, was vast. She was also generous. Betty and Warren lived modestly so they could share what God had given to them. Many families around the world can testify to how Warren and Betty were God's means of meeting a need.
On April 3, 2016 Betty suffered a stroke that paralyzed her right arm and leg. She was not able to walk again. But she taught herself to write left-handed, and her attitude was bright and cheerful for the three-plus years she was at Gateway Vista. She learned to do FaceTime on an iPad. Her beautiful smile made people feel welcome, and she was a blessing. Her limitations did not limit what God did in and through her. Betty loved flowers, and her room at the nursing home was often filled with bouquets. After Warren died on May 2, 2019, Betty's interest in the world waned. Her mission of being Warren's helpmate was fulfilled. She declined steadily until she was called into her Savior's presence.
Betty's family looks forward to seeing her in heaven: son David (Susan) Wiersbe of Caledonia, Minn.; daughter Carolyn (David) Jacobsen of Naperville, Ill.; son Robert (Karen) Wiersbe of Oswego, Ill.; and daughter Judy (David) Johnson of Novi, Mich. Betty's grandchildren are Jonathan (Jessica) Wiersbe; Rebecca (Mike) Grabowski; Dan (Kristin) Jacobsen; Bethany (Stewart) Cofer; Chris (Stephanie) Wiersbe; Kyle (Sabrina Potirala) Wiersbe; Stephen (Ashley) Johnson; and Eric (Sara) Johnson. Her great-grandchildren are Carson, Evie, Nola, and Nash Wiersbe; Lydia Grabowski; Elin, Miles, and Graham Jacobsen; Ian, Ava, and Ivy Wiersbe; and Jack Johnson. There are many nieces and nephews who faithfully kept in touch. She was preceded in death by her husband Warren; her parents; her sister Dorothy; and her brother Robert.
Betty Wiersbe's earthly work is done but her legacy remains. To God alone be glory. The burial service will be for family only. A public memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 9, at Roper & Sons Funeral Home, 4300 “O” Street, Lincoln. In lieu of flowers, Betty's family suggests memorial gifts be sent to Cedarville University for establishing the Warren & Betty Wiersbe Library and Reading Room (Cedarville University, Advancement Dept., 251 N. Main Street, Cedarville, OH 45314).
Betty's family sincerely thanks the staff at Gateway Vista in Lincoln, and the staff of St. Croix Hospice. Thanks also to the friends who saw Betty to the end of her earthly journey. You loved her well.
Condolences may be left online at roperandsons.com