OBITUARY

Elizabeth (Betsy) O'Connor

September 16, 1952July 14, 2019
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She was born to Clarence (published Professor) and Delphine Hein (lifelong middle school teacher) on September 16, 1952 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was preceded in death by her parents, and her two older sisters – Katherine and Margaret Hein. She is survived by her older brother – Theodore (professor- wife Lulu) in the Philippines – and nephew David Carl Hein –(playwright / musician – wife Irene Sankoff) of New York. Married three times – William Christensen, Micky Oxler, and Patrick “Kelly” O’Connor. She graduated from Shawnee Mission South in 1970, received an AA at JCCC in 1973, received a BA from UMKC in 1976 in English Literature. She worked at the SU Handicapped workshop 1984-1986, Ranchmart Hardware 1985-1990, Cy Young Hardware 1988 - 1996, worked for Westlake Hardware in Raytown for 7 years. She sustained a stroke in 2006 that forced her onto disability - but she sustained her spirit and desire to enjoy and experience life. She became a member of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 2 during this time. She enjoyed their fellowship, celebrations, comradery, and of course their food and libations! They became her adopted family and they and her cats were her main joy in life. Devoted ex-husband Kelly remained by her side as her caretaker and friend till the end, and he is extremely grateful to have been granted this privilege, trust, and honor.

She had few words prior to her demise in the last 4 weeks. I miss my kitties, I want coffee, where are my cigarettes, her purse and her car. She also asked how I was doing. For those who visited, you saw those eyes acknowledge you, and the smile and squeeze of hand confirmed she was glad to see you and that she was still there fighting. She loved flowers, traveling, music, eating out, zoos, horses, calligraphy, museums, plays, concerts, and of course – was obsessive over cats. I got to share all these with her, and her dreams and desires and goals exceeded anyone I have ever met. This brings me to the final chapter. Everyone kept telling me to think of quality of life and what she would want. Most people – myself included – would consider a diminished ability to eat, bathe, and care for yourself, as a life not worth continuing. Then there are those people that are content to hear a voice, squeeze a hand, taste a flavor, see a sunrise, smell a flower, hold a cat, and enjoy a cigarette. To appreciate being alive still and grateful to just be. I mentioned her working at the handicapped workshop. She experienced life through these people’s eyes. She never judged based on status – wealth – health, or standing. She appreciated the colors and glory of flowers – be it a single stem or a field of glorious sunshine. She adored all cats – be it feral and antisocial and deformed – or a prize show cat. To see her smile at nature, and to not expect nothing in return. That is what Betsy felt till the end. She fought so hard, I kept begging her to give up – but then I would see her smile through those labored breaths, and those eyebrows expressing that she was still living, feeling, enjoying the nurses talking to her, the housekeeping people cleaning the room. She lived every second, and wanted even more! I honored her wishes, and respected what she deemed “Her” quality of life. Be it unlike what we would choose, she always lived her life outside the realms of normal- be it hours of the day or wearing antlers and bells for the holidays. She lived her life as she would want to live it, not as others deemed conventional!

Services

  • Visitation Thursday, July 25, 2019
  • Memorial Service Thursday, July 25, 2019
  • Celebration of Life Friday, July 26, 2019

Memories

Elizabeth (Betsy) O'Connor

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Patti & Doug Danner

July 23, 2019

Heaven has a new angel. RIP our beautiful friend. prayers to your family.

mary messmer

July 21, 2019

I have seen the pics from the family, boy did she like to dress up and she won prizes she really wowed as a southern belle she even had flowers entwined on her walker

Sharon Keyes

July 20, 2019

Met Betsy at the DAV. She always had a smile. We shared many minutes having a cigarette and small talk in the smoke shack. I shall miss her. Rest well, sweet friend. Your race has been run.

Mary Messmer

July 18, 2019

Betsy was a fun and eclectic person,she did love her cats, I liked the way she signed their names to cards with hers. Betsy, you are going to be missed.

FROM THE FAMILY

Waiting for the Grandkids

FROM THE FAMILY

I wished I had more pictures with her smile

FROM THE FAMILY

Loved to dress up

FROM THE FAMILY

Never without those headgear

FROM THE FAMILY

A smile like no others

FROM THE FAMILY

Dressed to impress

FROM THE FAMILY

Waiting for the Grandkids

FROM THE FAMILY

I wished I had more pictures with her smile

FROM THE FAMILY

Loved to dress up

FROM THE FAMILY

Never without those headgear

FROM THE FAMILY

A smile like no others

FROM THE FAMILY

Dressed to impress

FROM THE FAMILY

Surprising her friend Lisa

FROM THE FAMILY

Nothing but love in those frowns

FROM THE FAMILY

New Years at her favorite place

FROM THE FAMILY

It will not seem the same without her to welcome the year