Betty Jean (Delfs) Bowling, 91, Topeka, died Saturday, July 3, 2021.
She was born August 4, 1929, the only child of G. Arnold and Martha Delfs.
She was a member of the 1947 Topeka High School class. She graduated from Washburn University in 1951 where she was a member of Alpha Phi social sorority. While attending Washburn, she was a member the Child Care Staff at the Menninger Foundation.
Betty taught 3rd grade at Highland Park Central for 1 year. She then married and moved to Manhattan and taught school at Keats, KS. Upon returning to Topeka, she became a full time mother for the next 9 years.
In 1962, she returned to the Menninger Foundation as a High School English teacher at Southard School, the education division of the Children’s Hospital. While there she earned her Master’s Degree from Kansas State University. She continued at Southard School until retirement in 1993.
After retiring, she taught briefly for Highland College and then at the Topeka Adult Learning Center, where she taught GED students and career classes. Later, she became a substitute teacher for the center until she finally retired when she was 80 years old.
In addition to loving teaching, Betty was an enthusiastic gardener. She was a member of Master Gardeners for over 10 years. Her organic shade garden won 2nd place in the Topeka Lawn and Garden Tour in 1998. Her yard was on several city tours. She maintained a butterfly garden and gave many lectures on butterfly gardening to various organizations. She referred to herself as a “Compost Evangelist”
Betty was a member of St. David’s Episcopal Church from 1956 until her death. She served the Sunday school program in various ways. She was a long time member of Community Ministries and served on the Vestry. She enjoyed her membership in Daughters of the King. In 2000, Betty originated St. David’s Servants’ Shop and raised funds for charities. With the help of friends, she operated the Shop for 10 years; then she turned it over to her assistant and continued to serve as an advisor as long as she was able.
Betty had a wooden plaque that read “Faith, Family and Friends” written on it. If it had “Furry four footed creatures” added, it would be a motto for her life.
Betty is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth Bowling Gish; son, Bradford Hall (Kim) Bowling, all of Topeka; grandchildren, Amy Bowling (Justin) Pasley, Christopher Hall Bowling, Jessica Gish Bergin, Jacob Gish; 8 great-grandchildren, Elora and Elyssa Pasley, Brooklyn and Everett Bowling, Eleanor and twin brothers, Thomas and William Bergin.
Celebration of the Resurrection and Thanksgiving for the life of Betty will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 9, 2021 at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 17th & Gage. Private committal service will be in the St. David’s Courtyard. A reception will be held in the church parish hall following the service.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember Betty may contribute to St. David’s Servants’ Shop or Helping Hands Humane Society.
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