MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A large Twin Cities family is sharing memories of their adventurous mother.
She was a woman who lived a long life and didn’t mind a little trouble. Betty Anne Jordan had eight children after marrying her high school sweetheart in the 1940s.
But as we discovered in this week’s Life Story, before she was a wife and mother, Betty was helping U.S. troops during World War II.
Family — it’s what Betty Anne Jordan treasured. After giving birth to five daughters and three sons over the course of two decades, she was always surrounded by love.
“She was a very fun person, she had so much life and energy, and kind of was always the center of the party,” said Pauli Kennelly, Betty’s youngest daughter.
Kennelly said her mother often teased her about being the last child to be born.
“She would announce to the whole room ‘you know this is the one I never wanted.’ We were very close. It was a running joke.” Pauli said.
It all started with the love of her life — Betty’s high school sweetheart Jim. He joined the Army after high school and became a pilot during World War II. Betty enrolled in college at St. Catherine University.
“She wanted to go help so she found some friends that worked in Washington, D.C., and they said come along Betty, come with us and we will teach you how to decipher code,” said Mary Anne Smalley.
Betty told her parents she was hired by the government to help to decipher enemy codes and track troop movements overseas during the war.
“She was able to track my dad’s missions over… when he was flying at the time. She was able to track the missions and know that he was OK,” said Mary Anne.
Betty saved the many love letters she and Jim wrote to each other. Her daughters say she instilled independence in them.
“She loved fun, and I love fun. I love people — extroverted. We like to have a good time. And she had a whole lot of that,” said daughter Kitty Iverson.
As a retiree, Betty liked to spend time at the slot machines, or at her favorite bar near her home in Cumberland, Wisconsin.
“She would walk in the door and the whole bar would turn and go, ‘Betty!’ They cleared a spot for her. She had a special drink called The Betty. Everyone loved Betty,” said daughter Pauli.
Betty Anne Jordan was 94 years old when she died on Sept. 22.
If you have a Life Story suggestion, you can share it with us here.