TORRINGTON – Funeral services for Betty Jo Mathis, 90, will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, at Eastgate Baptist Church with Pastor Tedd Mathis officiating. Burial will follow in the LaGrange Cemetery.
Betty Jo went to be with her Lord Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, at Goshen Healthcare Community. Memorials may be given to the Sonshine Society in Lynnwood, Wash., or Frontier School of the Bible in LaGrange. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home and the casket will be open briefly prior to the service at the church. Arrangements are by the Colyer Funeral Home and condolences may be sent to www.colyerfuneralhome.com.
Betty Jo was born Feb. 9, 1928, in Charlotte, Mich., to Bernard and Mary Hice. She was raised on a dairy farm with three brothers and one sister. She fell in love with a skinny city boy in high school. She and Don Mathis were married Feb. 15, 1946, a week following her eighteenth birthday. Don and Betty Jo’s dream was to be dairy farmers and parents of lots of children. Their first baby, Mary Ellen, was born prematurely and died at 12 days.
This was devastating to the young couple, yet the Lord used it for His purposes. Amidst their questioning and anger they also had to deal with an unexplainable change in Don’s younger brother Ken, who had recently been born again. Through the humbling reality they were not in control of the future, and seeing the obvious Christ-honoring change in Ken, it wasn’t long before God brought them to His Son. Betty Jo surrendered her life to the Lord on Palm Sunday, 1950, a week after Don’s salvation. Their lives were completely changed. A hunger to understand the Bible for what it really was- the Word of God- resulted in selling their beloved Jersey dairy herd, taking their two young children and enrolling in a Bible institute. It was there they became students of the Word of God.
Don became a pastor in the early 1950’s, serving at two churches in Michigan. In 1969 the family left beloved and familiar Michigan, moving to Wyoming, where Don was a pastor of LaGrange Bible Church. From 1969 to present Don has ministered as a pastor in Wyoming and Nebraska with Betty Jo as his faithful helper – filling in words, Bible references, and more – when Don faltered. For more than 25 years they have ministered in nursing homes, visiting lonely residents, conducting Bible studies and church services in several facilities. She could make something out of nothing, whether it was food to feed the many guests around her table or clothing for her children.
Betty Jo wrote her first poem soon after her salvation. That started a flow of her giftedness with words in poetry, prose, songs, skits and teaching and speaking. Multiple books were published with her writings from which many have been, and continue to be encouraged. She was a well-loved speaker for ladies’ events. Her sense of humor (most of the time focused around her own foibles) brought much laughter and made her writings, teaching and speaking relatable to many.
Betty Jo is survived by her husband Pastor Don; children Bill of Beloit, Wisc., Linda (Mike) Ronk of Belton, Texas, Loretta (Rick) Roberts of Hay Springs, Neb., Gayle (David) Johnson of LaGrange, Jim (Mary) of Wheatland, Tedd (Dawn) of Pueblo, Colo., and Scott (Diane) of North Platte, Neb.; 22 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren; a sister, Ann Hull; brother Ken (Sharon) Hice of Michigan; and Don’s brother Ken (Carole) Mathis of Texas.