Katherine Betts
Katherine Betts
Katherine Betts
Katherine Betts
Katherine Betts

Obituary of Katherine Betts

Katherine Thebus Betts 2/1/1931-2/6/2023

Katherine (Kathy) Andrews Thebus Betts was born February 1, 1931 in Denver, Colorado to Armin and Dorthy Thebus.  She was their only daughter and the middle child of 3, older brother Peter and younger brother Fred.  Kathy graduated from East High School in 1948 and went on to Colorado State University where she met the love of her life, Frank Betts.  They were married in August of 1950 which began an over 60 year marriage and life of adventure. Frank got into the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) and his first position was in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Kathy immediately became the prototypical park service wife following Frank in his profession for nearly 30 years and 6 national parks.  

Kathy and Frank were blessed with 2 sons, Don and Tom. They lived in many interesting spots and houses, from the rock cabin on top of Trail Ridge in Rocky Mountain, where she baked Angel Food cakes in the wood stove and had no running water, to the log cabin at Badger Pass ski area in Yosemite, where they had to shovel a trench to get out of the house, the house in Moose with a view of the Grand Teton, the house in Crater Lake that would get enough snow to ski out of the second story window, and the extremes of the seasons in Denali.  Kathy was deeply involved in every park they lived in and became an expert packer with all the moves that were made -11 of them alone in Yosemite to and from the valley.

Kathy was never one to sit around, she loved being in the outdoors with activities that included hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing and horses.  One of her favorite hikes was to Solitude Lake in the Tetons where she had her favorite rock that was used for sitting and letting the world go by. In her many solo hikes in the Tetons she actually performed two rescues before the NPS even knew the hikers were in trouble! She climbed the Grand Teton for her 50th birthday, had several trips to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and Havasupai and floated the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon at least three times.  She caught salmon in Alaska, steelhead in Oregon and trout all over the west.  She shot a moose in Wyoming and doves in Bolivia.  She loved wildflowers and admonished us to think of her whenever we saw a little white flower.

Kathy was an avid game player; bridge, gin, and cribbage were favorites, all of which she was a difficult and serious opponent.  She loved Mexican Train and several board games.  1000-piece jigsaw puzzles were always on going as well.  

She was a very good trap shooter and member of the Rocky Mountain Oysters (a trap shooting club) for over 50 years.  The group would have annual gatherings at different trap clubs and cities once a year.  The gatherings were known for the outstanding shooting and daily meals and parties.  Kathy was a very integral part of the score keeping and trophy presentations as you could only “win” an event one time. It was a system that she developed that determined the winners.

Kathy followed Frank by getting her pilot’s license and became a very accomplished airwoman.  They had a Cessna 182 that they took from the tip of Baja to above the arctic circle in Alaska.  She was an excellent instrument (IFR) pilot and handled in air emergencies (including an engine failure on take-off in a rental plane) with a calm and professional demeanor.  She ended up with around 1000 hours as the pilot-in-command. 

She was active in many community organizations and always one to volunteer or be available whenever there was a need.  Kathy was a member, and past president, of PEO here in Ft Collins for as long as we can remember, and it was an organization very dear to her heart.

Kathy spent many years as a paid tax preparer for H&R Block. She was well trained by her father to be financially savvy and tried to pass that knowledge to her boys.  After retirement from the NPS she and Frank began volunteering their time to the Association of National Park Rangers (ANPR) of which they were life members, to provide financial workshops for NPS employees. In the approximately 15 years that they did their workshops they managed to get to dozens of NPS parks and monuments and empowered hundreds of employees with the knowledge to maximize their retirement savings.

The Betts household had guest rooms that were never empty. Friends and family made a point of stopping in to get her friendship and cookies. We even had a “Lot Full” sign for the driveway when it got overwhelming! She would consistently go out of her way to help family and friends. She supported numerous charities, including St. Judes, Wounded Warriors, Rotary and many local ones. 

For Kathy, family meant everything and she loved having them around anytime. No matter what was being served for dinner there always seemed to be enough for the extra “family” that would show up at mealtime. She is survived by her sons Don (Jan) and Tom (Beth), grandchildren Kelley (Kenny Dimmick), Nick (Christen Holder), Dana (Matt Broomfield) and Drew, and great grandson Quin.   She was preceded in death by her husband and best friend Frank, her parents, and both her brothers and her summer son Mike Metherell.

We will miss her smile, her wisdom and advice and her love. She always said that we should do things for her now and not after she was gone.  One of the best pieces of wisdom and advice was “The time for taking cookies is when they’re being passed out.” So true!  Rest in peace and know that we were listening (most of the time).

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Katherine Betts, please visit Tribute Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Katherine
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Vessey Funeral Service - Fort Collins
Share Your Memory of