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ELIZABETH “BETTY” ANN BIREN, lovingly known as “Bets” to her family, was born on July 6, 1933, to Theodore Nicholas and Mary Helen (Hamerlinck) Biren in Pipestone, Minnesota. She was raised in the Catholic faith, being baptized on July 9, 1933, and confirmed on July 9, 1944, at St. Leo Catholic Church in Pipestone. She grew up and attended school in Pipestone where she graduated in 1951. Betty furthered her education at Mankato State University in Mankato, Minnesota and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Education and English. She taught High School English in Paynesville, Benson, and Worthington, Minnesota before going on to earn a Master’s Degree in Library/Information Media from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Betty returned to Worthington and began working as an Elementary Librarian. She then went to work with the Southwest Minnesota Opportunity Council in Worthington and eventually served as the Director of Head Start in addition to teaching Early Childhood classes at Minnesota West Technical School.
In 2000, she returned to Pipestone to be closer to family as she grew older and held a position as a paraprofessional at the school and also did door-to-door census. Betty retired at the age of 80, but remained active by taking on various duties at St. Leo Catholic Church such as serving as a lector, committed adorer of the Eucharist, assisting the sacristans, and distributing communion to the senior living facility as a Eucharistic minister. She had also been an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Worthington during her residency there by serving as Guild president, parish council member and secretary, trustee, and finance committee member. She also served her community by participating in the Worthington BPW, District 518 Community Education Advisory Council, Women’s Awareness Series, American Association of University Women Program Board, Pipestone Library Board, and Friends of the Library Board. After suffering a heart attack, Betty passed away on Thursday, December 9, 2021, at the Pipestone County Medical Center at the age of 88 years, five months, and two days.
Betty was an avid scrabble player, reader, and writer. Her dream was to be a published author of children’s books. Betty was a dog lover; Muffe, Tucker, and Sunbeam brought her joy and companionship. All of them lived into their teen years from her love and devotion to them. She also attended Bible studies and enjoyed spending time with her coffee lady friends who were very special to her. Betty had a sign that read, “FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS” and she would often say that is all a person needs. Though she lived alone, she was comfortable in the fact that she was never alone, she had God.
A Journal entry from Betty to her family: “I am thankful to God that he has placed me with the family I have had. I love my family. I die giving thanks to God for my long, wonderful life. God is calling me home. May all your days be happy. Love you all, Bets”
Betty will be remembered by her sister, Carolyn (Warren Sr.) Bailey of Pipestone; sisters-in-law, Donna “Terry” Biren, Delores “De” Biren; 22 nieces and nephews; and many great-nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Theodore Jr., Phillip, and Christopher Biren; sister, Mary Lou Kellen; sister-in-law, Helen Biren; brother-in-law, Robert “Bob” Kellen; and nephew-in-law, Jamie Winter.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials in honor of Betty to the Alzheimer’s Association or ALS Association of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota Chapter (1919 University Ave. E. Suite 175, St. Paul, Minnesota 55104).