Betty Marie Stein
December 10, 1916 – August 9, 2019
Betty Edlavitch Stein, 102, educator, writer and Indiana progressive thinker, passed away peacefully in her home on Friday, August 9. Born in 1916, four years before the first commercial radio station started to broadcast, she observed and participated in more than a century of immense and constant change. One of her favorite conversation topics was to review all the discoveries and improvements in the past hundred years and try to figure out which was the best.
She is survived by her children John Stein and Rena (Don) Black; granddaughters Lisa (Scott) Fybush, Wendy Stein, Susan (Patty) Engle and Lisa Engle Aichele; great-grandchildren (and boy she did think they were great!) Ari and Eli Fybush and Libby and Christian Aichele; former daughter-in-law Fran Adler; step-granddaughter Janet Black, and several extended family members and friends like family.
Born in Fort Wayne, Betty graduated from Central High School at the age of 16. Educated as a social worker at Ohio State University, Betty became engaged in education as her children progressed through public schools. When they were in college, she earned a master’s degree from Saint Francis College and began to teach. When forced to retire because of some silly age rule, Betty and FWCS found a way around that. For the next 30+ years she worked as a consultant to the magnet program at Memorial Park Middle School, retiring reluctantly a few years ago to enjoy her golden years.
For 35 years her columns graced the pages of the News-Sentinel, the best of which recently appeared in her book By The Way. She loved the recent book signings where she had the opportunity to chat with many former readers.
Betty was a dedicated community servant her entire lifetime, as long as the meetings weren’t early in the morning. Active as a volunteer for most of her adult life, she served on many boards and commissions, shattering glass ceilings along the way. She was the first woman to be elected to the board and to be elected president of the board of trustees at Congregation Achduth Vesholom. She was also the first woman appointed to the Police Merit Commission, the first woman to serve as chairperson of the Board of Safety, and the first woman to serve on the Allen County Alcoholic Beverage Commission (which she ultimately chaired and served on for 20 years). She held leadership positions on the boards of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Friends of the Library, and the Allen County Public Library Building Corporation. This only scratches the surface of her accomplishments.
And naturally you cannot be that busy without others noticing. She received many prestigious accolades over the years as well, including the Sagamore of the Wabash Award presented by the Governor of Indiana and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of St. Francis. She is being honored in August as a Hoosier Jewish Legend by the Indiana Jewish Historical Society.
A private graveside service for family will precede a community memorial service on Thursday, August 15 at 2:00 pm at Congregation Achduth Vesholom, 5200 Old Mill Rd., celebrating the life of Betty Stein, educator, reader, writer and friend to all. Calling on Wednesday, August 14 from 4-7 pm and on Thursday, August 15 from 3-5 pm.
Memorials may be made to Heartland Sings! Memorial Park Opera Fund and Congregation Achduth Vesholom Holocaust Education fund, or just ask someone to tell you about a book they’re reading. She’d like that.
- Heartland Sings! Memorial Park Opera Fund
- Congregation Achduth Vesholom Holocaust Education Fund
- Calling Wednesday, August 14, 2019
- Memorial Service Thursday, August 15, 2019
- Calling Thursday, August 15, 2019
Betty Marie Stein
August 12, 2019
John and family,
What a wonderful, intelligent and committed woman your Mother was. She will be missed by so many people, but the loss to you is even greater. How lucky you were to have her in your life for so many years. I will remember you in my prayers.