Elizabeth Schlichting

Elizabeth "Betty" Schlichting

Saturday, May 29th, 1937 - Friday, August 14th, 2020
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Funeral Service Recording;

At the age of 83, after an eight-week struggle with brain cancer and receiving palliative care at her garden-surrounded home, with her husband of 61 years at her side, Betty Schlichting died on August 14, 2020.
She was predeceased by her parents, John and Elizabeth (Warkentin) Peters, brothers, Dick and Bill, brother-in-law Andy, and son Martin.

She will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by her husband Adolf; children Judy (married to John), Helene (married to Dennis), and Karen (married to Aiden); her grandchildren—in whom she found so much delight: Tony, Rachel (Jake), Christine, Michael (Rachel), Katrina, Hillary, Alana, and Noah; her great-grandchild Julie; three siblings John (Edna), Margaret, and Peter (Elizabeth); her extended family; and all of her many friends at church and in the community.

Early years
Betty was born to a large farm family north of Kilarney, Manitoba. From very early on, she enjoyed reading and listening to opera on the radio. Dad says that at age 11 or 12 the choir director at the Mennonite church in Lena, Mr. K.H. Neufeld, said “She can sing,” and asked her to join the church choir.
She went to high school at the Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, Manitoba, and received a scholarship for her academic achievment in English and Composition to attend teachers’ college (also known as Normal School)in Winnipeg.
She taught at Princess Elizabeth School for one year before she met the love of her life, Adolf Schlichting, on a blind date arranged by Cornie Wiebe who needed someone to join him on a double date.

Betty married Adolf on October 4, 1958, and they began an enviable life together of friendship, adventure, and love that spanned more than six-decades.
On a farm south of Sanford, Manitoba, Betty raised four kids (three girls and a boy) and supported the farm. This is also the time when she nurtured her interest in beautifying her yard, and she became somewhat of a competitive gardener. Her many and large flower beds caught the eye of judges from the La Salle River Horticultural Society and, in 1973, they gave her the top award with a plaque for “Farm Home Grounds.”

She was an active and life-long member at Springstein Mennonite Church. With her powerful soprano voice, of course she sang in the choir. She was part of the sewing circle, “Ladies Aid,” and taught Sunday school.
When Ron and Connie Loeppky joined the church years ago, Connie wondered what they were teaching to the children.
“Betty used her own curriculum with Jr. Highs. It was called ‘I care for you, you are special, and of course, God loves you,’” wrote Connie in a recent reflection posted on the funeral home’s memory board. “To her dying days she always asked about our children. And when cancer hit, she called and said, ‘Pray for me and ask [your children] to pray for me for as well.’”

Her own life-story
After Mom passed away, we began digging through her mementos sure that we would find her life story in her own words. Finally, we found a 14-year old sheet of paper with six or seven little photographs (cut from original prints) glued on the perimeter of the page. There was 36 lines of text ammended with white-out and hand-written corrections. She called it “Life Story (Very Short Version),” and it was dated from the year she graduated in 1956, up until 2006.
She listed her many interests:
“Interests and hobbies: family, flower gardening, friends, travel, hats, poetry, writing, music, singing (two hearing aids are making this difficult), decorating.”

And then she listed her skills, in the negative:
“Skills: Can’t type, ride bike, ski, [or] swim.”

Then, to give the reader a flavour of what she was like, that is, how unique she was, Betty listed a number of things she doesn’t do:
“Don’t like to: play games, cook, clean (obsessively), can or shop (except at thrift stores, a.ka. ‘thrift shop Queen’!)
“Don’t: drive, jog, golf, do hand work, camp, computer.
“Don’t have: motor home, camper, cell phone, stereo system, big T.V., digital camera, sky or cable, answering machine [this changed and she loved checking messages], bread maker, kitchen machine, security system, Skidoo, cottage, hardwood floors, granite counter tops, or tiles, etc.”
She concluded:
“Boring life? Not! Come and visit! (I do some cooking!) [and] I’ll fill in the details.”

Her cooking
Betty set a high standard of cooking in her home. In the past few days, after Mom was gone, a number of us kids have been hanging around the house, supporting Dad as best as we can.
One daughter made what they call “Schlichting Stew,” a favourite of Dad’s and a specialty of Mom’s. Dad, who is blunt in his appraisal said, “It’s good, like Mom’s.” Whew!
Over the years, children have commented on Mom’s cooking. At Mom’s 70th birthday, we gave her a booklet with comments answering the question, “What we like about Mom.”
“I think that Grandma is really good at making food, especially borscht,” said the youngest grandchild, Noah, then a teenager.
Noah’s dad, Martin, agreed: “There are many things about Mom that I like. One is how she makes me my favourite meat on my birthday and how it tastes so good.” Sadly, Martin died four years ago from colon cancer.
“Another thing [I like about Mom],” said Martin, “is her outgoingness and accepting nature and how that has helped me in my life. I also like her warm and caring smile. Happy birthday Mom. Love you.”

Betty was close to her grandchildren
“Every time I phone her I never want to stop talking,” said granddaughter Katrina in her comments about Grandma. “I love talking to her. She is very verbal.”
Granddaughter Christine said, “I love how [she] make[s] everyone feel special even though there are other people in the room.”
Granddaughter Rachel Harms said this week that Grandma had an especially enthusiastic wave good-bye.
“For as long as I can remember, whenever we would leave Grandma and Grandpa’s house, Grandma would either stand out on the driveway, or porch, or by the window, and wave goodbye with not one, but both hands. [That] always put a smile on my face and I made sure to wave back.”

Sense of play
Grandma played with the kids. One Christmas the kids were tobogganing down the riverbank and Grandma didn’t have a sled. So she took a large old suitcase, opened it, climbed in and rode down the hill, in a skirt! “I will have that picture in my mid forever,” said daughter Helene in Betty’s 70th-birthday recollections.
“When I was little, Grandma would babysit me at her house,” recalled granddaughter Hillary this past week. “I owe a lot of my creativity to her nurturing of my creative mind. We would make up stories and act them out, or build forts around the house and come up with elaborate back stories and plots. One memory is playing one of the “Solitudes” CDs (spa/nature music) and using it as a soundtrack to our ‘camping adventure in the woods’ throughout the house.”

Fun Grandma
When the grandkids were older, on summer holidays, they began doing things on their own, and I guess Grandma felt left out. Like the time three of the girls went to a movie at Clear Lake. Hillary recalls:
“Alana & Katrina & I went to a movie (I think it was Bridesmaids) and Grandma followed us. [She] convinced the employees to let her into the movie to ‘check up on us,’ without paying. [And] then [she] let out an ‘evil laugh’ from the back of the theatre, right in the middle of the movie. [And] when the movie was done she trailed us home, laughing to herself,” said Hillary. I guess that puts her in the “fun Grandma” category.

Style, character, nuturer
Betty was close to her three daughters, and they were near to her right to the end. Looking back at some words of appreciation Judy made for Mom’s 70th, she said, “I admire your confidence in your style—hats, short hair, one earing, etc. It’s always fun. You are a wonderful child of God.”
Her youngest daughter Karen said, “What I love about you Mom is your strength of character, especially when I see you stand up for what you believe. So often we have conversations around the family table and you bring up the uncomfortable alternative to what everyone is saying.... Thanks for being a warm, welcoming presence for me and so many others.”
And Helene said recently that “Mom was a gardener, and a gardener of people too. She nurtured people, and she left a legacy of love.”

I asked Karen if her Mom liked doing chores. “No,” she said, flatly. Growing up on the farm, Karen remembers the vinyl flooring they had in the kitchen and dining room. She said, “Mom prided herself for not having washed the floor in three years.” To be fair, they did look clean.

House was tidy
It did appear that Betty Schlichting kept a tidy house. Any visitor to her home would observe that her living room looked like a display suite in a department store.
Her kitchen counters were a display of country charm, replete with plates and trinkets and hand-gilded plastic vines.
But don’t lift the tea towel covering a heap of something or other in the sink. Don’t, heaven forbid, open the pantry door next to the fridge, and see a miscellany of stuff tucked into this spot here, that hole there and rising two feet off the floor. The red box of saltines next to the hammer. And higher up, to the left, a second box of saltines next to the maraschino cherries.
Oh, and don’t go too deep into the basement. Let’s not talk about that room in the back, which, if you will pardon my language, she literally called the “hell hole.” It’s not that bad actually, just precious memorabilia mixed in with half a century of thrift-store castaways.

Independent spirit
Betty was independent and resourceful. Meaning she liked to figure things out on her own. (When it came to learning new technology, I found her quite unteachable.)
Eventually she embraced the VCR. It didn’t take her long to figure out how to stop the digital clock from blinking. Why fiddle with instruction books and cryptic buttons—just cover the clock with tape(!)
Betty never got her driver’s license. And most days her personal driver (husband Adolf) was away at the farm. This meant that for Betty, her world was often confined to the yard surrounding her house (and the telephone, of course). As everyone here knows, Betty’s world was lush: she had peonies, lilies, delphiniums, hostas, lupins, irises, roses, purple rockets, and Johnny Jump-ups. Plus the birch, elm, lilac, maple, the varieties go on and on.
At the end of her autobiography, “Life Story (Very Short Version),” she extends an invitation to readers to stop by her house at 32 River Crescent. “The house with flowers in front,” she writes. And then she adds, “I don’t like being told what to do! Not even by garden gurus!”

Two poems
I’d like to end this reflection by reciting two short poems Betty wrote in her journal almost twenty years ago. They reflect a thoughtful, spiritual side of the woman whose memory we celebrate today. I think they each have a tragic foreboding sense about them, especially when read at her funeral.
The first poem was written when she was poolside at a resort in the town at Clear Lake, Manitoba.
At this point I need to mention how much the Christian story was ever-present in Betty’s mind. In addition to hearing sermons every Sunday, Betty often read aloud to Adolf meditations from from a complete set of Barclay’s New Testament Bible commentaries.
In the book of John there’s a story of a paralyzed man lying beside a pool called Bethesda, and the man is miraculously healed by Jesus. At Clear Lake that summer, around the swimming pool, Betty observed an man gently caring for a woman in pain.
I know I shouldn’t offer my interpretation of the poem, but I can’t help but think of Betty as the woman in need of aid, and Adolf the man offering care, as he did so well:

{Doner’s Resort Pool - 4:15 p.m. July 11, 2003}
Jesus; Compassion,
Love filling his eyes,
The man; healed/
with Love, by Love
The woman, dying – soon
Oh, too soon –
The man; compassion
Love filling his eyes,
Gathers her tenderly,
cradling gently
the tortured body
Now – the waters
at Doner’s
as at Bethesda –
– e.a.s.

The second poem refers to Betty’s obsession with love. In her last days she was so totally convinced that God is Love, that Love is big, that Love is where we’re all going.
An odd thing happened a few days before Betty slipped out of consciousness: a twig fell from a tree and landed on her deck. While Dad was sweeping outside he picked it up because it was shaped just like a Christian cross. He brought it to Mom, thinking someone, maybe the youth at church, had made it. But no, it was indeed a dry little 8-inch twig with a peculiar 5-inch cross branch.
Mom’s ability to form words had become diminished. She took the cross and pressed it to her chest and said, “Miracle!” And then thoughtfully, again and again, “Miracle, miracle.”
I would like to conclude with the this poem, only four-lines long, written in her journal, 17 years ago:

Witness the Miracle Love
Oh so to Love,
To be so loved –
This, this is to truly heal –
to be truly healed.
– e.a.s.
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Private Condolence

Judith Guenther

Posted at 11:34pm
I was one of Betty’s (formerly Miss Peters) fortunate Grade 1 students at Queen Elizabeth School who was dearly loved by her and who dearly loved her back. I’ll never forget her kindness to me when she found me crying in the bathroom and soon made everything better for this devastated little Grade 1 girl.
Many years later Betty was at a choir program put on by Westgate Mennonite Collegiate. My daughter was singing in the choir. After the program Betty walked right up to my girl and asked her if she was Judy Guenther’s daughter. Yup! When Tracy came home and told me that, I couldn’t believe my ears! After all those years being lovingly remembered by my Grade 1 teacher?! Wow!
I am sooo sorry for your loss Adolf and family. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Kim Peters

Posted at 03:29pm
My earliest memories of Springstein church include Betty. They are of a strong feeling of belonging, faith, family and music. No choirs or congregational singing has ever compared.
The voice I always searched for and heard was Betty. It just went right into my soul. So beautiful. My father also shared his love of her voice. He always said it reminded him of his Mom's voice (dec'd 1975). It would bring tears to his eyes.
I remember Betty as always smiling. Her eyes and face just sparkled with happiness. She was always eager to know about my life, ever willing to give a hug and always full of encouragement.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful women with me and my family. She was a blessing to us. She will be missed.
Sympathies from Kim (Unrau) Peters & Mary Unrau

Edith Langseth

Posted at 11:46am
It was a shock to hear of Betty's passing on the CFAM funeral announcements. It brought back many fond memories of the Peters family and the time spent at Jaques school at Killlarney. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family.
EDITH (Storey) Langseth

Peter A. Peters Posted at 04:55pm

Hi Dear "Teach" Edith!! I remember on many occasion Betty, my dear Sister, speaking of her & Adolf's visits with you & how you kept in "Toiuch" after all those Years, I truly believe Betty as the "Teacher's Pet" as they called it in those "Good Ole Days" Elizabeth & I drove from Halifax to Sanford in late May & had an incredibly wonderful visit & it would be the last time we visited with her... We will see her again on that Beautiful Shore Edith, so wonderful to see your Tribute about my Special Sister, next visit to Halifax you will have to "Look" us up, Luvu & God Bless you always & in all ways too..Peter & Elizabeth Peters

Ron and Connie Loeppky

Posted at 10:46am
With caring thoughts,
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Ron and Connie Loeppky

Posted at 10:38am
Many years ago when we moved to Springstein and started attending the Springstein Mennonite church I, as a mother, wondered about what Sunday School curriculum was being used. It didn't take long to realize Betty used her own curriculum with Jr. Highs. It was called "I care for you, you are special, and of course, God loves you" To her dying days she alway asked about our chidren and when cancer hit she called and said "Pray for me and ask them to pray for me for as well. Today we are going to play the "Hallelujah Chorus" in honor of Betty. She always told me that was one song she wanted at her final time. To Adolph and the family - Betty impacted our life in many ways! Connie & Ron Loeppky

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