WAUKESHA/APPLETON

Betty Jane Bahr (Burdick)


Dec. 24, 1916 – March 14, 2013

Betty Jane Bahr (Burdick), 96, died Thursday, March, 14, 2013, at Touchmark retirement village in Appleton. She was born in Milwaukee on Dec. 24, 1916, the daughter of Claude and Hedwig Burdick.

The family moved to Jersey City, N.J., when she was a child so her father could pursue a career in engineering. During her senior year at Dickenson High School, she won an all-state scholarship competition to attend the New York School of Design in New York City. Often her fashion design class assignments took her to downtown Manhattan, where she would sketch articles in store windows. Years later, her granddaughter took one of these sketches to a dressmaker to use as a pattern for her wedding dress.

On Oct. 1, 1939, Betty married Robert Charles Bahr in Jersey City. The couple spent their honeymoon driving to the Midwest and setting up housekeeping in Robinson, Ill. Following Robert’s return from France at the end of World War II, they moved to Wisconsin, where they enjoyed the remainder of their 64-year marriage.

She was a life member of the Girl Scouts, volunteering to be a troop leader wherever she lived at the time. Her passion for flower arranging eventually led her to become president of the Spring City Garden Club and to creating floral arrangements for the First Presbyterian Church, of which she was a member for the 61 years she lived in Waukesha.

When the Korean War ended, she knit sweaters, hats and mittens for a Presbyterian orphanage in South Korea as part of a family project to provide Christmas presents for each child. Later, her charity knitting included various other causes like blankets for Warm Up America.

In her later years, she built fabulous period dollhouses and themed miniature shadow box rooms. When she could not find the exact furnishing or accessory to exact scale, she would make it herself. This passion has now become a legacy to her greatgranddaughters. She loved art, design, crafts, photography, birds, flowers, Milky Way night skies, rainbows and autumn landscapes. Her artistic touch was evident in everything she did.

Betty was an avid reader, enjoyed theater, ballet and cinema, but most of all, loved to travel. She was happiest when planning her next trip whether in the US, Europe, Africa or Asia. When she returned home, Betty wrote lovely journals of her experiences and submitted articles for publication in International Travel News magazine. Her love of books and travel was exceeded only by her love of family.

Betty is survived by her daughter, Bonibet Olsan (David) of Appleton; grandchildren, Scott Bahr (Jennifer) of Glendale and Heidi Schueller (William) of Mukwonago; and five greatgrandchildren, Joseph, Sebastian and Kaleb Bahr, and Isabel, Claudia and Laurelei Schueller. She is also survived by two nieces, Marylee Bahr of Davenport, Fla., and Nancy Bahr of Dallas, Texas; and a nephew, Duncan (Juanita) of Love’s Park, Ill.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her dear brother, Donald; her 4-year-old son, David; her beloved husband, Robert, brothers- and sisters-in-law, Gordon Bahr (Beverly) and Willard Bahr (Dolores); a nephew, Gordon Bahr; and grand-nephew, Brandon Bahr.

Betty’s wishes were to have friends and family know that she felt greatly loved by them and had a full life with no regrets. She wished them to remember her in their heart and respect that she did not want a funeral service.

Memorial gifts may be made to the National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190-5362 or to the Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410.

Entombment of cremated remains will take place at Wisconsin Memorial Park at a later date.