Betty J. Kjer

Betty (Nee Hull, Hagen), a resident of Milwaukee for over 55 years, died on October 31st, 2019, of complications after having surgery. She celebrated her 90th birthday in March with her family and friends at Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church.

Betty was born to Mary (McReath) and Ben Hull in their farmhouse in Montello, Wisconsin on March 31, 1929, during a blizzard. Betty told of her father hitching a sled to the horse to go to “town” to get the doctor. Doc arrived in time, and Betty was greeted by her only sibling, Donald Hull who was eight years her elder.

After graduating Montello High School in 1947 Betty attended Marvel Beauty College in Milwaukee.  During that time, she met Earl T. Hagen, a veteran of WWII. Upon Betty’s graduation, the two were married in 1948 in a simple ceremony at the Milwaukee County courthouse.  The couple purchased a house in Milwaukee in 1955, where Betty lived the rest of her life. Betty and Earl had four children before Earl died in 1959. After Earl’s death she worked at Ashley’s Beauty Salon, and eventually became a manager of one of Mr. Ashley’s salons.

Betty met David D. Kjer a few years later, and they were married in Milwaukee, at Washington Park Lutheran Church (now Spirit of Peace) in 1963.  Betty went to work at the Boulevard Inn and worked there until her retirement.

Employees and management at the Boulevard became involved in the Sherman Park Food Pantry. Betty was a volunteer in the earliest years of the Pantry. Betty’s involvement continued through the rest of her life. She worked in all aspects of the pantry in the early years and struggled with the Pantry as it experienced growing pains in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Betty was drawn to the food pantry in those early years as she served the mothers with young children. Times changed and her heart went out to the elderly as they came in search of food.  In the recent years, she was troubled by the number of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren with very limited resources.  Betty served on the Board of Directors of the Pantry for many years, until she became a Board Member emeritus. Betty remained committed to the food pantry throughout her life.

Betty had a deep, abiding faith in God.  She was raised in a family steeped in the gospel. Conversation at the dinner table always turned to talk of religion. Betty’s life experiences taught her the depth and breadth of God’s love for all people. She took to heart the admonishment that we are to love and serve all of our neighbors. Her ability to see the Holy Spirit in each person she met resulted in a wide and diverse group of friends and acquaintances. She worked at loving each person as they were created. People responded to her in kindness and gratitude. Betty belonged to Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church; she also maintained a strong relationship with the people at Trinity Presbyterian Church. She was a member of Eastern Star, Myron Reed Lodge.

Betty is survived by her four children: Gloria Kjer (Gary Prost), Stephen Kjer (Kathy), Carl Kjer, and Nancy Hopland (Marvin). Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren include: Rachel (Michael) Klemp-North [Alexandra, Thalia, Cayden], Naomi Andanie (Joseph) Klemp-Hawig, Nathan (Kelly) Kjer [Grace, Ashlyn],  Emily (Ronald) Harling, Samuel Peters, and Jeremiah Peters. Gloria’s family also includes: Matthew Prost and family, Andrew Prost and family. Stephen’s family also includes: Karri Johnson (Jeffrey) [Samuel], and Tracy Steffan (Richard). Nancy’s family also includes: Christine Monaghen (Troy) and family, Ginger Clark and family, Rick Hopland (Shelly) and family, and Pamela Davis (Jody) and family.

Betty will be missed by her many friends. Her life-long friends include: Nancy Meach who was Betty’s maid of honor when she married Dave, Russ Haberman, director of the food pantry, who has been Betty’s source of inspiration and mirth through the years, and High School friends Lois Ubert and Beth Johnson.

Betty was preceded in death by her two husbands: Earl died in 1959 and Dave in 2004. Also preceding her were: her brother Don Hull, her son-in-law, Gary Peters, and her granddaughter, Jerusha Peters.

A Celebration of Betty’s life will be held on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 7:00 PM at Krause Funeral Home, 9000 West Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Visitation will precede the service, from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM.  Interment will be at Oak Lawn Cemetery in rural Montello, Wisconsin on Thursday, November 7, at 12:00 PM.

Memorials to the Food Pantry are appreciated:

Sherman Park Food Pantry c/o Russ Haberman

2323 North 81st Street

Milwaukee, WI 53218

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