Betty Jean Harmsen
December 18, 1941 – March 13, 2021
Betty Jean Harmsen of Horseshoe Bay, Texas, passed away on March 13, 2021, after fighting to recover from a ruptured brain aneurysm. She was surrounded by her family.
Betty was born on December 18, 1941, in Harvey, Illinois, to Opal Wayne and Marie Frazer. She grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1959. At William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa, she majored in math and minored in biology, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963. Shortly after graduation, Betty married her college sweetheart, Gary Alvin Harmsen of Bennett, Iowa. They moved to Nebraska, where she taught high school math, got her master’s degree in mathematics, and began a family. She taught math for several years at Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska, as well as at Brownell-Talbot college preparatory school. She later taught at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. At age 48 she went back to college to earn her PhD in mathematics with a focus on difference equations at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, graduating in 1995. She then taught at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri, and at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, as well as another year at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
In 2007, Betty and Gary moved to Horseshoe Bay, Texas. That same year Betty visited Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to meet a child she sponsored. She fell in love with the small Caribbean country and founded Haiti Share, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charity that provides schooling and leadership training to Haitian youth. She made many trips to Haiti over the years and was affectionately known by her Haitian team and those they served as “Doctor Betty.” Betty also taught math classes at Central Texas College-Marble Falls.
Betty had a deep faith that touched every area of her life, and her passion for math never faded. She was always learning and serving others, from writing Bible study curriculum to helping her grandsons with their math homework. Musically gifted, she played the violin, piano, organ, guitar, and mandolin, and she sang in the church choir. She loved singing around the house and going for long walks, especially with her beloved miniature schnauzer. She will be remembered for her overflowing joy, her deep intellect, and her kindness to strangers and family and friends alike.
Betty is survived by her daughter Cheri Huerta, her husband Juan, and their children David, Daniel, and Nathan of McAllen, Texas; her daughter Debbie Harmsen of Dallas; her brother Robert Frazer and his wife Mary Ann of Hendersonville, Tennessee, her sister Barbara Colligan of Denver, Colorado, and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service honoring Betty’s life will be held at 1:30 pm Saturday, March 20th, at The Bible Church of the Lakes, 24101 Texas Highway 71, Horseshoe Bay, Texas. Memorials may be given to Haiti Share, Inc. at www.haitishare.org or Haiti Share, P.O. Box 9208, Horseshoe Bay, Texas 78657–9208.
Online condolences may be made at: www.clementswilcoxfunealhome.com
- Juan Huerta
- David Huerta
- Daniel Huerta
- Nathan Huerta
- Mark Harmsen
- Scott Harmsen
- Haiti Share, Inc
Friday, March 19, 2021
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Betty Jean Harmsen
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March 24, 2021
Although I never had the wonderful privilege of meeting your Mother, I feel like I’ve known her from your words, written and verbal. She was an amazing woman and I see her in you and in your dedication to God and to others. You are a beautiful tribute and legacy to her. May God grant you that peace that passes all understand that only He imparts. We love you!
March 23, 2021
I used to walk my schnauzer with Betty and her little Reecie at Swanson park in Omaha. We had wonderful walks and visits. I missed her after she moved to Texas. My condolences to the family, she was a very special person you must be proud of her and your memories. God bless
March 19, 2021
The Trinidad Family would like to extend their most sincere condolences to Cheri, Debbie and all of the lovely family of Betty Jean.
I, Ada, have very fond memories of Betty as well as my mother Margarita and siblings do. We first met Betty Jean when my uncle Juan and Cheri married in 1995 in Omaha, Nebraska. We had the privilege of spending some days with the Harmsen family and the newlyweds during these days.
In the summer of 2003, when I was living with my uncle Juan and Cheri in McAllen during my college years, I remember Betty would come visit and she'd spent time giving me support and tutoring in my Math classes. She had a passion for teaching math and made sure I was progressing in my Math courses.
As a believer of Jesus Christ, I know Betty Jean was welcomed into heaven. She fulfilled her race here on earth and I truly believe she's rejoicing in her eternal home in heaven.
Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you!
Raymond Figaro EXCELLENT
March 19, 2021
The Haiti Share Family will never forget you. We are sad. And your seat will be empty.
March 19, 2021
I never met your mother in person, but I met her many times in our conversations, and now more fully in the words you wrote here. She "lived to die" to self, which is how she could love you and your family so well and have enough left over to pour herself into Haiti Share and other commitments.
As I study the photographs you selected, I'm also struck by the quiet smile on her face. That smile belied her fighting spirit that sustained her over the last eight days of life. I know you will miss her terribly, but I see that same quiet smile, and fighting spirit, on your face, too: her everlasting gift to you.
March 17, 2021
Debbie - I only had the privilege of meeting your mother very briefly once but I feel that I knew her because I knew you! You shared such wonderful things about her, her life, her commitment to the Lord and the mission He gave her, and your deep love for her. Since I know you, I know that she was a wonderful person who passed on her best qualities to you and who lived a life worth emulating. May the long, sweet, increasingly precious memories you hold in your heart give you peace and may God's wonderful gift of His Grace give you hope. I am praying for you and your sister and the whole family. We love you, dear friend - Jeanne and Nat Burns
March 16, 2021
From the first moment I met Betty Jean, I was enamored. She was one of those gentle, loving, wise souls whose inner beauty beamed and made me want to just sit at her feet. I didn't get to have much time with her, but the times we interacted, she always left me wanting more - more of Jesus and more of her...wanting the insight and love she exuded. I know if she touched me that much for as little as I knew her, she touched thousands during her lifetime even more - through her work, through Haiti, through her love for math, through her family, and the sheer ripple effect of whom she loved and what she did; and I have no doubt she leaves a legacy of that love behind in her family.
Heaven is rejoicing, but the world is a little darker without her light.
I'll be praying for your family. You must be reeling. If I loved her much from knowing her little, your love and grief for losing her must be without measure.