Betty Siefert, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, formerly of Oconto Falls, went to her heavenly home on her 98th birthday, October 22, 2023. Betty loved music. She recalls taking the street car to church and choir practice in Detroit as a young girl. She sang in church choirs from the time she was eight years old and at that time decided to become a teacher when she grew up.
Betty Jean (Priestaf) Siefert was born October 22, 1925, to the late Henry and Marie (Gombert) Priestaf in Detroit, Michigan.
Betty graduated from the Detroit High School of Commerce in January, 1944, and worked as a secretary at General Motors Headquarters before attending Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1949. She taught vocal music in the St. Bernard, Ohio, public schools in Cincinnati. On August 5, 1950, she married Clyde Siefert, who she met at Heidelberg College, at Bethel Evangelical and Reformed Church in Detroit. She was baptized there by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Since a young girl, Betty’s Christian faith and love of Jesus was central to her life.
As a teenager, Betty was active in her church and the city-wide interdenominational youth groups. As a young woman, she was also a member of the Detroit Business Women’s Association.
When Betty and her husband moved to Oconto Falls, WI, in 1954 where Clyde opened his office as a family physician, Betty was a substitute teacher in Oconto Falls schools. She also organized the United Methodist Youth Choir. She later became the Senior Choir director, directing for close to 30 years. She retired in 1985 and was instrumental in bringing ecumenical choir cantatas to the community. Betty kept in contact with friends and family through letter writing. She moved to Eau Claire in 2014 and enjoyed being closer to her family.
Betty was a member of the Oconto Falls Women’s Club and the Red Hat Society. She was on the advisory committee for the building of the Oconto Falls High School, many church committees, a member of the Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, and the Friends of the Performing Arts for the city of Oconto Falls.
Together with her husband, Betty raised four children who she leaves along with their families:
Randall (Patrice Piper) Siefert of Apple Valley, MN
-Ashley (Michael) Siefert Nunes and Mitchell (Kate Luskin) Siefert
Lynn (Daniel) Severson of Eau Claire, WI
-Erin (Reed) Flathmann, Alyssa (Aaron) Hedenstrom, and Jenna Severson
Craig (Jacqueline Byrley) Siefert of Lewisville, TX
-John (Ash) Siefert and Carl (Kathryn) Siefert
Beth Siefert of Brooklyn Center, MN
Five great grandchildren
Betty found being married to a busy physician and raising children was a full-time job. Betty and Clyde enjoyed travelling around the world which was something they never dreamed of doing while growing up during the Depression. They relished attending concerts and musicals, singing in the church and community choirs, attending grandchildren’s activities, downhill skiing, and ballroom dancing.
Betty is also survived by her sister, Marilyn Rank, sister in-law, Sue Priestaf, and many nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Clyde, her in-laws, two infant brothers (Carl Henry and Harvey John), her brothers Harold Priestaf and wife Ruth, Rev. Donald Priestaf and wife June, Earl Priestaf, niece Linda Kilburn, nephew Brian Priestaf, and several brother in-laws and sister in-laws.
Visitation will be held at 9:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2023 at the United Methodist Church, 165 N. Farm Rd., Oconto Falls until the time of service. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am Saturday at the church with pastor Sherwin Parmar officiating. Private family burial will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery, Oconto Falls.
Her family would like to thank the kind staff of Grace Willowbrook Assisted Living, Azura Memory Care, and Mayo Clinic Hospice including Dr. Jo Cosiquien, Michele, RN, at Grace Willowbrook, Emily, RN, at Azura, and Miranda, RN, at Mayo Clinic Hospice.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorials may be given in Betty’s name to the Dr. Clyde and Betty Siefert Scholarship Fund, Oconto Falls High School.