Elizabeth (Betty) Dawson

Elizabeth (Betty) Ann Dawson was born in Horton, KS on May 27, 1934.  The first 18 years of her life she lived in Hiawatha, KS. Her father, V. Loy Dawson, was a leader in the development of Hiawatha as the city engineer. After his untimely death in 1937, her mother, Irene VanDalsem Dawson, was Brown County Register of Deeds from 1941 to 1960.

Betty graduated from Hiawatha HS in 1952, St. Luke’s School of Nursing in 1955. She received an Associates degree from JCCC in 1977, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ottawa University in 1978, and a Master of Liberal Arts from Baker University in 1983.  She worked as a R.N. for over twenty years at St. Luke’s Hospital where she developed a patient education program in the Resident’s Clinic. She was the Women’s Health Educator at the KUMC from 1985-2000.  Her life’s work was supporting women’s reproductive rights.

Betty married Eldon Wenger in 1954, a marriage that lasted until 1983.  Her children – Vince Wenger, Vicki Crandall, and Randy Wenger were the joy of her life.  Her trips to Europe with all three children were dreams come true. Her grandchildren, Stefanie, Dylan, Jake, and Lily gave her moments of bliss.

She had many interests during her life – Cub Scout den mother, Girl Scout leader, Bible School Teacher, PTA President and Picture Lady, traveling, civil rights, Another Mother for Peace, Audubon Society, Friends of Art, flower gardens and the awesome beauty of cosmos.

Her hobbies were reading, walking in nature, collecting movies, playing bridge, the N.Y. Yankees, watching Tiger Woods and starting her day with fantastic journalists in the KC Star: Diuquid, Judge, Butler, Barnhart, and Whitlock.

Being an only child, her friends in this life were very important to her.  Her favorite quote was Helen Keller’s “life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”  She believed love is our only reality and loved the mystery of life. Betty learned in her 70’s that without Truth and Beauty there could be no Love. Thoreau and Walt Whitman spoke her Truth, Nature her Beauty.

A celebration of Betty’s life will be held on February 2nd at The Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St., Kansas City, MO at 12 pm. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO in Betty’s honor and remembrance. Thanks for a wonderful life mom!


  1. Linda Sanchez on April 2, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Randy and Vince, I’m sorry this is a belated message but I wanted you to know how much I miss your mom. Betty was a joy and light in my life. After we stopped working together at KU Med, we only saw each other once or twice a year. But each time was so much fun. She was a good friend to me when I needed one and I will never forget her.

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