After a long battle with Alzheimer's, Betty Louise Gehrke Hemmer, 78, died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on the evening of Nov. 10, 2010.
Betty was born in Centuria, Wis., on May 11, 1932, the daughter of William Gehrke and Elsie Stone Gehrke. While attending Centurian High School, she spent her free time working as a junior lifeguard and a department store model. Betty moved to Chester shortly after graduation and worked as a waitress at The Grand Bar & Eatery.
While living in Chester, Betty met the love of her life, Gerald Hemmer. They were married on Dec. 29, 1953, and raised five children. In 1974, Betty and Gerald moved to Lincoln, and enjoyed many years owning and operating the 7-up Ranch & Supper Club. In 1991, they sold the restaurant and moved to Billings. Betty spent her remaining years traveling with Gerald to Yuma, Ariz., in the winters and Alaska in the summers.
Betty had many interests and passions. She loved traveling and fishing, crocheting, knitting, sewing, and embroidery. She was also a great collector of unique elephant statues and especially enjoyed playing Scrabble and cards with her family. Betty found the most joy when sharing laughter and love at family gatherings. Above all else, she considered her grandchildren to be her greatest treasures.
Betty is survived by her husband of 57 years, Gerald; four daughters, Cindy Lou Hemmer of Fayetteville, Ark., Mary Ann (Lee) Hikle of Willow, Alaska, Jeanne (Gerhard) Sawatzky and Barbara Cline of Billings; one son, Gerald James Hemmer of Billings; 14 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and two brothers, William (Artis) Gehrke of Seely Lake and John (Laura) Gehrke of Wilcox, Ariz.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Jerry Gehrke; her sister, Eldora Pitcher; and her infant son, Baby James Hemmer.
The family would like to express their sincere gratitude for the Rocky Mountain Hospice team. Laura, JoDean, Crista, Stacy, Anna, and Susan — our family will always cherish your kindness and support.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held at Dahl Funeral Chapel on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, you may give to Rocky Mountain Hospice or the Alzheimer's Association Montana.