John Edward Betts, Jr.

John Edward Betts, Jr. (also known as Eddie), 96, of Springfield, passed away on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at Springfield Memorial Hospital. He was born March 15, 1926, in Wood River, the son of John E. Betts, Sr. and Josie Maurine (Jones) Betts. He married (Myrtle) Lee Gay on August 4, 1946 in Asbury United Methodist Church, just after being discharged from the US Army. She preceded him in death on December 8, 1996, way too early at the age of 69. John and Lee had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their whole family, staying in cabins at Pine Lakes in Pittsfield where the family went tent camping for many years.

John is also preceded in death by his parents, and by his son-in-law, Richard Janikowski, husband of his daughter Phyllis. Richard died unexpectedly in 2021 at the age of 69. John was 95, and grieving, he said to Phyllis “It should have been me.”

Survivors include his two daughters, Phyllis Betts (Janikowski) of Asheville, NC and Cheryl (Ted) Wall of Pekin; five grandchildren, Krista (Chad) Donnely, Susan (Dan) Kinney, Amy Sullivan (Jon Little), Breonna Wall, and Jeremiah Wall; eight great-grandchildren, Haylie, Kylie, Kenzie, Christian, Hayden, Halle, Kason, and Nova, and long-time companion, Linda Cisco of Springfield.

John was a resident of Springfield all his life. He graduated from Feitchans High School in 1944. He attended reunions at Lake Springfield until he was the last person from the class of 1944. He attended services at South 7th Street Assembly of God for many years, which his wife Lee had chosen because it was located in the former Baptist Church she had grown up in. John was a United States Army veteran, serving during WWII, in the Battle of the Poe Valley (Italy). He was wounded and was a Purple Heart recipient. He was a member of the DAV.

After 31 years, John retired from Allis Chalmers as a welder. He was an avid fisherman and enjoyed camping. He took up biking in his late 70’s, after Lee’s death, and would often bike with Linda on the trail from Springfield to Chatham. He went to the gym everyday until five years ago when he bought an exercise bike to ride at home.

John spent every Christmas with his whole family. No one ever missed a Christmas, and the family enjoyed one last holiday together last year. The family also celebrated his birthday in March.

After a diagnosis of congestive heart failure twelve years ago, John nevertheless remained active until his decline early this year. He last rode his exercise bicycle in March. After his decline, his daughter Cheryl moved in with him as caretaker, assisted by companion Linda. Phyllis took care of all of his business remotely from Asheville, and she and the whole family spent quality time together in March. It was a blessing.

Funeral Service: 11:00 am, Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield. The family will receive guests at 10:30 am. Rev. Dr. Blythe Denham Kieffer will officiate.

Burial will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park where John will be buried along side his wife Lee. Military honors will be conducted at gravesite.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Disabled American Veterans.

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