Betty D. Blake, 87, of Belvidere, IL passed away peacefully, Wednesday evening, October 9, 2019 at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center. Betty was born February 23, 1932 in Nashwauk, MN the daughter of William and Ellen (Johnson) Bankord. Betty spent her childhood years in Pengilly, MN where she graduated from high school.
She was the seventh of eleven children. They moved to a farm on Swan Lake with 140 acres and a log cabin built across the road. The farm had chickens, horses, cows, pigs, goats, and turkeys. Betty used to wear long brown stockings held by a garter belt and curl her hair with a curling iron that was heated by the kerosene lanterns they used for lighting. They would can their own vegetables, smoke their own meats, churn their own butter, and make thick cream. While Betty was walking the three miles to and from school, she would sell war stamps to the homes she passed. She remembers how her neighbors would always give her homemade strawberry sauce and save Life magazines for her and her brothers and sisters to read. It was magical. During the winter, the kids would ice skate on O’Brien Creek and her dad would make a huge bonfire. She had many friends growing up and still can remember the good times they had with one another. Playing with dolls, hopscotch, marbles, and so many other things.
She once wrote, “These sounds like rough times, but we were always happy and would sing around our big oval table.” She could remember eating meals and telling stories around their big oval table. When she would come home to Minnesota, she would visit the rolling hills of Pengilly, the mines in Hibbing and Calumet, the beautiful drive to Grand Rapids, Blandin Paper Company, the Saw Mill, Forest History Center, Hibbing High School, Iron World, The Polka Fest, fish fry’s at Mr. Robert’s, and visiting her good friends.
She married Kenneth Schrader on October 29, 1952 and following his death, she married Dale Blake on May 2, 1991. Betty spent her working career in the medical field and retired from Dr. Richard F. Yee, MD’s office after ten years of service.
Betty is loved and will be missed by her children, Denny Schrader and Debbie Reints both of Belvidere; grandchildren, Shannon (Courtney) Schrader, Holly Lyman, Geoff (Keli) Reints, Jennifer (Jon) Schrader; 13 great-grandchildren; sister, Bonnie and brother, Larry. Betty is preceded in death by her parents, both husbands, siblings, Hazel, Beatrice, Howard, Aiden, Beverly, Willie, Gordon and Gene; son in-law, Gary Reints and daughter in-law Karen Schrader.
Memorial gathering will be held from noon until 2:00 p.m., Friday, October 18, 2019 in Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Avenue, Belvidere, IL with Memorial services held at 2:00 p.m., burial of Betty’s cremated body will be at Highland Garden of Memories. Memorials in Betty’s name can be given in care of her family. To share a memory, please visit www.AndersonFCS.com