Betty F. Geisler

Geisler, Betty lilacsMay 26, 1933 ~ April 9, 2015

Betty F. Geisler, 81, Valley Springs, died Thursday, April 09, 2015, at the Sanford Centennial Hospice Cottage in Sioux Falls.

Memorial services will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday, April 18, 2015, at Messiah Lutheran Church, Murdo, SD followed by inurnment at the Murdo Cemetery. Coffee and tea will be served in the church basement afterwards.

She was born May 26, 1933 in Manchester, NH, the only child of Robert Joseph Fortier and Catherine Virginia (Ettridge) Fortier. While given the birth name Mary Catherine Virginia, she went by “Betty” throughout her entire adult life. She attended Mount Saint Mary College in Hooksett, NH and Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA. Betty’s first daughter, Catherine Eileen, was born during her marriage with Bert Queen. Betty met and married John Geisler while they were both working with geriatric patients as social workers at the Norwich State Hospital in Connecticut. The couple had a daughter, Johanna Catherine Vivian. The family moved to Minneapolis, MN, where John and Betty enrolled in the Master’s programs at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. From there, they moved to Murdo, SD to be near family and the family-operated Pioneer Auto Museum. For many years, the family traveled extensively around the United States collecting items for the museum. Later in life Betty and John moved to the Sioux Falls area to be near their children and grandchildren.

Betty pursued many career interests during her lifetime: school teacher, social worker, grant writer and entrepreneur. At various times she operated a souvenir store, a long distance telephone company, a fireworks stand, and a tow truck company. Betty also pursued many leisure interests. Early in life, she enjoyed flying small planes and rally racing; the family treasures a silver trophy plate she won shortly before Cathie’s birth. Betty also enjoyed people, classical music, travel, genealogy, clothes and beautiful Ferragamo shoes. Betty was always unconventional, and life with her was always an adventure!

For many years, Betty struggled with diabetes and cardiac problems. She suffered a stroke on April 3, 2015, and passed away on April 9.

Betty is survived by daughters Cathie (Johnnie) Littles, Sioux Falls, Johanna (Mark Dykstra) Geisler, Valley Springs, SD; grandsons Lee Littles, Corwin Dykstra and Rune Dykstra; sister-in-law, Roma (Delaine) Richards, Irvine, CA, brother-in-law, David A. (Leila) Geisler, Murdo, SD; nieces Vivian (Jeff) Sonder, Patty (Donald) Tyus, Jennifer (Bryan) Kaiser, Lisa (Larry) Williams; and nephews Eric (Janet) Staudenbaur and David M. (Ann) Geisler.

Betty is preceded in death by her parents and her husband of 47 years, John Nels Geisler.

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  • Roma Geisler Richards says:

    Betty you will be missed. I never knew that you had flown an airplane or been a rally racer. You loved your family so much and were always interested in mine. We both enjoyed reading and I always enjoyed discussing and sharing books with you. You have missed John so much and now you are together again. Rest in Peace!

  • Nancy Olund says:

    Betty, I always enjoyed my Wednesday to say the rosary with you at the Nursing Home. You were so interesting and interested in everything around you. I will miss you greatly on Rosary Wednesday.

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