Mrs. Dalton

Isn’t it funny how we only really know people by the role they play in our lives? For example, my kids think of me as “Mom” and can never really comprehend (despite many embarrassing stories) what I was like as a child or teen. Or, in the case of teachers, it’s hard to imagine them out of the classroom, and even running into one in the grocery store was shocking as a child.

One of my favorite teachers, ever, died recently and I spotted her obituary in today’s Journal Star. She was a wonderful teacher, encouraging, kind; she expected a lot of her students and, hopefully, we didn’t often disappoint. Gosh, I’m crying now, over the death of someone I haven’t seen in years. I hope her family realizes her other role, of outstanding teacher, and knows how much she affected her students.

Betty Jo Lemons Dalton
WASHINGTON – Betty Jo Lemons Dalton passed away at 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, 2007, in the presence of her family, her pastor and a few close friends.

She was in the Intensive Care Unit at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

She passed quietly and with dignity from the pain and trials of her life to the joy of the presence of God, to be absent from the body is to be in the presence of the Lord. Betty was a daughter, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend to many and most dear to her heart, she was a teacher.

She was born on Oct. 13, 1927, in Harper Town, Ill., to James and Josie Potts Lemons. She was raised on a dairy farm in Johnson County, Ill., finished high school and started college when she was 14. She graduated from SIU Carbondale in 1945 at age 17.

At a time when most young people are starting college, Betty had finished and was teaching. Her first teaching job was at SIU, teaching freshman English and she still remembered that most of her class that year in 1945, were older than her.

She married Thomas L. Dalton on Aug. 4, 1947, in Arkansas. He died on June 4, 1985.

Shortly, she was teaching at her dream job, a one-room country school in Southern Illinois. She loved that little school and thrived on the challenges. She moved from those unique beginnings to now having spent more than 50 years of her life teaching primarily in the District 50 School system in Sunnyland and Beverly Manor.

Her shining achievement was to teach a child to read.

She is survived by her son, Thomas (Trish) Dalton of Sunnyland; her granddaughter, Heather (Chris) Hibbard of Metamora, Ill.; her grandson, Thomas Michael “Mike” (Tiffany) Dalton of Beverly Manor, Ill.; her great-grandchildren, Taylor and Tara Hibbard and Katie Jo and Claudia Dalton; and her dearly loved nieces, Doris and Sue, who were always in her heart and prayers. She is also survived by her best buddy (feline), Dutch Smudge Dalton, her 20 lb. furball of love; numerous friends who have been family through the years and former students too numerous to mention but loved none the less.

Betty was a member in good standing of Faith Lutheran Church in Beverly Manor for more than 40 years and has been a key member of their confirmation and building committees. She dearly loved her church, her church family and Pastor John.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 28, 2007, at Faith Lutheran Church in Beverly Manor with a luncheon by her church family to follow. The Pastor John Rothfusz will officiate. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 27, 2007, at Deiters Funeral Home in Washington, with additional visitation from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the church. Interment will be in Glendale Cemetery in Washington.

Memorials may be made to her church building fund or to the Library Fund at District 50 Schools as Betty would have wished.

To send an online condolence, please visit Betty’s video tribute will be posted on the Web site on Saturday after the services.

3 Responses to “Mrs. Dalton”

  1. britt Says:

    the first time i saw a former teacher’s obit, it was such a sort of wake up call. i used to run into my teachers outside of school when i was little, and i’d always hide behind my mom. now if i see them, i ALWAYS make an effort to do the “hi-you-pry-don’t remember-me” spiel, even if they don’t, i’m glad i said hi, cause one day i might be reading their obit and wish i said hello that one day at wal mart.

  2. Laura Says:

    This is a very well written obituary. The formula for obits seems to have changed in the past few years. I hope someone mentions my cats when I die…

  3. Olivia Says:

    This topic has been floating in my mind for a while now. At first, I wanted to focus on how people can express their grief when they have experienced the loss of a loved one. However, I realized expressing grief is not always the emotion a person is trying to release. When you think of the person who has passed on, you shouldn’t simply dwell on the present situation, but express and reminisce about the fond times you’ve had together as well.

    Now you can create an online memorial to do just that:

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