Lucile ‘Bettie’ Nelson Michelson

Lucile "Bettie" Nelson Michelson of Waukesha died Monday, Nov. 12, 2007, at AngelsGrace Hospice at age 87.

Bettie grew up in DeKalb, Ill., in a loving, three-generation family. She graduated from Northern Illinois University NIU with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and earned a diploma in occupational therapy from the University of Illinois. Bettie also spent a summer in Mexico City in a foreign study program and took a summer class at Columbia University. She had successful careers in both teaching and occupational therapy, attending many conferences and workshops. After teaching elementary school classes, she became certified in special education and taught children with special needs.

Bettie worked in Army hospitals with psychiatric patients, and also volunteered in a privately funded program of Aid to Caribbean Mental Health, spending a summer at the University of the West Indies Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. The following summer she was invited to a mental health conference in Trinidad.

During a sabbatical leave, she visited special schools in England and Scotland. Bettie then received a fellowship to the Health, Education and Welfare Children’s Center on the campus of the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Later, she became the director of occupational therapy at Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb for 14 years before moving to Wisconsin. She continued to use her writing and artistic skills, designing worksheets for a mental health and wellness company; publishing a children’s book, "We Salute the Stars and Stripes," which helps to explain the Pledge of Allegiance; and writing her genealogical roots in historic settings for her family. Bettie used a board game she developed and copywrited, "A Slice of Life," in her professional work and later to stimulate conversation and feedback in some group settings. She was a member of Methodist Church groups, Delta Kappa Gamma, League of Women Voters, and The Order of Eastern Star. In Wisconsin, Bettie participated in the Intergenerational Folk Art Fairs and, in Illinois, she was a guide at the Ellwood House Museum and organized displays at the historic Gurler House. Bettie also served as a judge in high school history displays held at Northern Illinois University.

Bettie was the loving mother of Monica (Dale) Johnson of Waukesha and Mark Michelson of Philadelphia. She leaves four grandchildren: Christopher Weeden of Sycamore, Ill., Colleen (James) Pickens of Waukesha, Mark Michelson Jr. of Philadelphia and William Michelson of DeKalb, Ill. Great-grandchildren include Trayton Weeden, and Marcus and Makayla Michelson. Also surviving are her brother, John "Jack" Nelson of DeKalb; three nieces, Carolyn Brode, Christine Monzo and Colleen Sottolano; and a nephew, John Nelson.

The funeral service for Bettie will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, 2007, at First United Methodist Church, 121 Wisconsin Ave., Waukesha. The Rev. Bob Gossett will be officiating. The visitation will be from 4 p.m. until the time of service at the church.

The interment will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007, at Fairview Cemetery, DeKalb, Ill., with the Rev. Jane Eesley officiating.

The Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home, Cremation and Pre-planning Services is serving the family. For more information, call 542-6609 or for an online obituary, directions or to leave a condolence, please visit www.waukeshasfuneralhome.com.