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Mary's Story

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Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Koester, 93, Batesville, passed away Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, at St. Andrews Health Campus.
The daughter of Walter and Mae (Ruleman) Borchelt was born June 1, 1923, in Franklin County, just west of Batesville.
Betty was the oldest of five children in a family raised in the Great Depression. As most of that generation, she learned frugality, sharing and self-sufficiency. Betty married Melvin Koester Oct. 4, 1941, on her parents' farm in Ripley County. Melvin passed away Oct. 19, 1988.
She married young by today's standards, and started her family right away. She was a devoted daughter, wife, mother and grandmother as well as an integral part of the community serving as room mother, 4-H leader, Sunday School teacher and church volunteer - locally, association-wide and conference-wide as a member of St. John United Church of Christ, Huntersville. She generously shared whatever she had in all aspects of life - funds, time, food, energy, etc.
She was always interested in education, making sure her children learned a variety of skills, either from her or from someone else giving them lessons. She completed her GED for her high school class' 50th reunion. Her interests included going dancing with Melvin; county, local and church history; and multi-family genealogy for the Huntersville area. After raising her children she enjoyed travelling with a local friend as Melvin didn't "want to leave the farm."
Her interest in education continued through to her grandchildren - teaching simple lessons through daily activities and playing games (especially card games) as well as contributing to college educations for her children and grandchildren.
The family thinks of her as "one of the strongest women we know - her ability to handle any situation with confidence, authority, grace and caring made her an excellent role model. This strength will hopefully have ripples of effects throughout the world from each of us being stronger for learning and growing with her."
She is survived by her children the Rev. Lois Happe (the Rev. Marjorie Mollar), Storrs, Connecticut, Barbara Foster (the Rev. Joseph R.), Batesville, Linda Gavaldon, Long Beach, California, Peg Mertz (Brent), Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania, Jim Koester (Barb), Batesville, and Joyce Jackson, Indianapolis; along with 14 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and brothers Alvin Borchelt, Indianapolis, and Dan Borchelt, Sunman.
In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by her sister Lucille Williams, brother Bill Borchelt, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Visitation will be Monday, Aug. 15, from 4-8 p.m. at Meyers Funeral Home, Batesville. Funeral services are Tuesday, Aug. 16, at 10 a.m. at St. John United Church of Christ, Huntersville, with the Revs. Linda and Dennis Frische-Mouri officiating. Burial will follow in St. John Cemetery.
Memorials may be given to the St. John UCC Kitchen Fund or Heifer International.
Published on August 15, 2016
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