Betty Lou Denner, 89

Betty Lou Denner, age 89 of New Hampton, died Sunday, June 23, 2019, at Linn Haven Rehab and Healthcare in New Hampton.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at Holy Family Parish, New Hampton, with the Rev. Brian Dellaert celebrating the Mass. Interment was in St. Mary’s Cemetery, New Hampton.

Friends greeted the family from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory in New Hampton. Visitation continued from 9:30 - 10 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.  Online condolences for Betty’s family may be left at

Betty Lou Denner was born September 9, 1929, in rural Waukon, the daughter of Earl and Florence (Ewing) Roffman, and at an early age, she learned a valuable lesson from her mother — the cookie jar should never be empty.

She received her education in a rural country school, Jefferson No. 8, before becoming a student at Waukon High School, where she was an excellent student. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the Class of 1947 valedictorian. She then attended Allen Lutheran School of Nursing in Waterloo and received her degree. 

On January 20, 1953, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Waterloo, she married James Denner. To this union, eight children were born between October 1953 and November 1961. Kim, Bruce, Kay, Jay, Judy, Lisa, Joe, and Tim were all welcomed into a caring, loving home that included a mother who worked as a nurse at the former St. Joseph Hospital but always made time for her children.

In 1954, she began a 40-year career as a registered nurse at the New Hampton hospital, almost always providing care during the 3 to 11 p.m. shift. When she so-called retired in 1994, she worked as an “on-call” nurse at the New Hampton Clinic and also spent 11 years at the front desk at the former Southgate Motel.

Betty and Jim loved boating on the Mississippi River and one of her fondest memories was the month-long trip Betty and Jim took to Alaska with Bud and Dorothy Denner.

When Jim died on March 16, 1994, Betty found the strength to continue living a vibrant and full life, one in which her “social butterfly” skills shone brightly.

She had a bevy of interests, including sewing, flowers, books, collecting and, of course, the Red Hat Belles.

She was first introduced to the world of “Red Hats” when she traveled to Arizona to visit her daughter, Kim. While out one day, she ran across a booth of “Red Hat” ladies and thought to herself, “We can do that in New Hampton.” When she returned home, she and her good friend, Jean Lowe, co-founded a group that grew to almost 40 ladies and continues to this day.
Betty also loved collecting things — ranging from antiques in her younger years to crafts later in life. She started her own business, Cactus Creations, that specialized in southwestern crafts, especially dream catchers. Her affinity for dream catchers lasted right up until her final days.

Her flower beds, especially her daylilies, were breathtaking and she loved tending to the beds that were also filled with gazing balls.

She was a vivacious reader, one who would finish a book in a day or two and move onto the next one. She loved her iPad and Kindle because it gave her access to even more books. 
And if there was a bigger John Wayne fan than Betty, we’ve yet to meet him or her, and she was thrilled to visit the John Wayne Museum in Winterset.

Betty loved to sew, and while she created quilts and blankets, she was best known for the pillows that she made and gave as gifts.

Until she moved into Linn Haven, where she loved visiting with those around her, one of the highlights of every week was the “Sunday Dinner” she hosted faithfully. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren knew if they didn’t want to cook, go to Mom’s” on Sunday evenings. Even though she never knew how many people were coming over, she always had enough food and both the cookie jar and the candy dish was full.

Even at Linn Haven, she still passed out cookies that her daughter would bring to her, and there is no doubt that the folks at the nursing home will miss “Betty’s cookies.”

Survivors include three sons, Terry Roffman of Ripon, WI, Joseph Denner, Tim (Julie) Denner all of New Hampton; three daughters, Kimberly (Merlyn) Hansen of Mesa, AZ, Judy (Mark) Moetsch of New Hampton, Lisa (Peter) Reicks of Lawler. 16 grandchildren 20 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Jim; three children, Bruce Denner, Kay and Jay Denner in infancy; grandson, Ryan Moetsch; son-in-law, James Richards; brother, Eldo Roffman.

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111

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