Betty Ferguson Steck, beloved wife, mother, sister- and mother-in-law, grandmother, aunt and friend to many; passed peacefully into eternity, Sunday, January 31 2021. She was 91 at her passing and Heaven graciously granted her two wishes that she always had for her final days. The first was that she be able to remain living in her home and the second was to keep her real teeth. She had a gentle and blessed transition. She spent 11 days in treatment for Covid at St. Mary’s Hospital, where the staff could not have been more kind and attentive. Thanks to smart phones and group chats and with one family member at a time allowed to be by her side, Betty asked for and received updates from grandchildren and great-grandchildren. These gladdened her heart and gave us the chance to say goodbyes and express our love. She blessed us by her presence, even in her final days on Earth.
Betty Jo was born on November 9, 1929. She was the fourth of five children born to George Francis Ferguson and Ella Huebler Ferguson who lived on a farm in Callaway County. Many of her stories from her childhood had to do with the creek getting up…like the time she insisted on going to school. The rain continued and the creek rose and her dad went by mule to pick her up. On the way home, there was an instant when the schoolgirl, her dad and the mule were without firm footing in the swollen waters and she knew that her father was afraid. When they got home, Francis told his daughter, “The next time I tell you no school, you will not be going to school.” Then there were the fondly recalled high creek times when she and her sister Patty would have stay overs at their neighbors, the Smarts. There were no phones to call home: her parents would know where they were. Her birth year was of course the same year as the stock market crash and with the ensuing Depression, these times influenced her throughout her life to be respectful of resources.
Betty was proud of her Mid-Missouri heritage. The Fergusons clan had come from Virginia to settle in Callaway County among the earliest of the settlers. Her mother’s people were descended from German immigrants whose work ethic she often lauded.
Betty met Albert Steck and they married August 19, 1950 when she was 20 years old. She always expressed that she felt blessed to have married a good man. She admired many qualities of the extended Steck family including the ability to be open and honest with each other about difficult topics and still remain friends.
Betty and Albert had 10 children: Steve, Elaine, Greg, Susan, Amy, Lawrence, Juli, Charles, Mary Ella and Janine. When Albert died in 1977, Betty took on the job of putting the six youngest through college. In a time when men dominated the work world, she took over the real estate business that she and her husband had begun. She was gutsy and a business success in her own right.
No treatise on her life would be complete without mentioning that Betty spent more than five decades as a landlady in St. Martins. Dealing with the public in the form of renters was an education and a life’s commitment. She always said that most people were good and fair.
Hard work was always a joyful part of Betty’s life: she enjoyed growing flowers and food; she canned countless quarts of green beans and tomatoes from the garden and made fruit pies galore with cherries and peaches from the orchard. She believed a healthy diet contributed to her long and active life. She believed in flossing her teeth.
Even though the household was always full, Betty always made room for one more at the table or in her home. She hosted some ten young people from various parts of the world and in turn was welcomed by many of them in their country.
Betty grew up in a household with good parents who did not belong to an organized church. After marrying Albert, she converted to Catholicism and always felt grateful for the support offered by her church family. In fact, she thought her St Martin community was the best the world over. She greatly enjoyed parish events such as the annual picnic and found it uniquely satisfying to work side by side with other parish members
Betty was blessed with 15 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. We all concur that all of us are blessed beyond measure for her steadfast love and the values of hard work, faith, and family that she imparted to our lives.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, February 4, 2021 at St. Martin Catholic Church, 7148 St. Martin’s Blvd., Jefferson City. It will also be live streamed at https://www.facebook.com/stmartinparishjc/ . Father Jason Doke will officiate. Burial will take place in St. Martin Catholic Cemetery. A meal will follow at the Fr. Ed Schmidt Center. Visitation will be Wednesday, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the church and again on Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of services. The public is invited to attend while following social distancing guidelines. Facial coverings are requested while in attendance.
Memorials may be directed to St. Martin Catholic School.
Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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