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Betty E. Novotney

Betty E. Novotney Betty E. Novotney

Betty E. Novotney, 90, passed away peacefully at home July 5, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska.

Betty was born Nov. 24, 1929, in Phillips, to Forrest and Evelyn (Gilson) Churchill. She was one of seven children.

Life in her early years was very simple; food was grown, hunted and fished for. Very little was purchased from a grocery store.

During her high school years, she met Robert “Bob” Novotney, who become her husband and lifelong partner. They married in 1946, and lived on the farm Bob grew up on, before moving into town, Cadott.

They moved to Menomonie, where Bob purchased Menomonie Shell. Betty was a stay-at-home mother and wife, until Betty became an integral business partner in Menomonie Shell and later in B& B Automatic Transmission in Alaska. With lots of hard work and ambition, the business flourished and so did their way of life.

Traveling with their various RVs or flying; the numerous single engine planes were now part of her life with her husband, Bob. Over the years, they would fly or drive from one end of the U.S. to the other, including Canada, Mexico and Alaska.

Of all the places they traveled, Alaska had won their hearts, and they began planning the next chapter of their lives. They made numerous trips to Alaska, before making the final move in 1971. Once settled, it wasn’t long before the first of their four children moved also.

Their youngest son, Butch, followed with his new bride, Cathi Wuensch, La Crosse, to assist in starting the family business, B& B Automatic Transmission in Anchorage, Alaska. This would be their last business before beginning their long-earned retirement years in 1990.

In their 22 plus years of retirement, they enjoyed their remote, fly-in cabin and also continued to enjoy taking road trips in their various RVs to the lower 48 states, throughout Alaska and Canada, visiting family and friends. It always amazed people to hear of these “senior citizens” talking about all their adventures, which also included four-wheeling around Alaska on their own, and also with family.

Betty will be missed by her family, as well as her many friends. She stayed in touch with everyone! She never forgot to send a card for birthdays, Christmas or any other important occasion, and it was always sent two weeks or more before the occasion! If she knew of someone who needed help, she would do her best to give the help needed.

Memories from her grandchildren vary, some of a gram who “hit the gas pedal so hard, the sound of the engine was louder than the 10 year old had ever heard.” Other grandchildren remember Gram’s colorful descriptions when someone did not think before considering the consequences.

Another grandchild remembers that one did not refuse food when offered, food was a “commodity” that was more valuable than gold to this gram who grew up during hard times. Still other memories were of going fishing or sitting in front of a campfire after a day of work, or fun hearing the stories of long ago, when she once was a child herself.

These memories of Gram will be some of the most precious gifts her grandchildren will carry throughout their lives.

She is survived by and leaves behind four children, daughter – Betty Springen, Anchorage, Alaska; sons – Robert Novotney Jr., Moulton, Texas, and William Novotney, Gakona, Alaska; son and daughter in-law – Butch and Cathi Novotney, Anchorage, Alaska; a sister – Marion Taylor, Exeland; and a brother – Winston Churchill, Exeland; 11 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband – Robert Novotney Sr.; her parents – Forrest and Evelyn Churchill; a brother – Duane Churchill; and three sisters – Leila Peterson, Beverly Prosecky and Barbara LaMay.

A special thank you to Keve Tabares, Betty’s caregiver for over eight years, who became a trusted family friend.

Arrangements have been delayed, partly because of COVID- 19. The family will place Betty and Robert in their final resting place in the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, according to our mother’s wishes. It is planned to have a private celebration of their lives when the inurnment takes place.