Obituary: Elizabeth “Betsy” Altenburg
Elizabeth “Betsy” Altenburg passed after a determined battle with Parkinson’s disease on August 3. Predeceased by her dear parents, Mary and Jack and brother, John DeLorme. Betsy is survived by her beloved and devoted husband of 56 years, Jim. Betsy was dearly loved by her daughter Amy Altenburg (Doug Bellhorn) and sons Jeff (Rana), Andy (Jenny), and Timothy (Lori), grandchildren Hannah, Brett, Sophia, Madie, James, Jack, Sally, Lola, Max, and many, many more caring family members and friends.
Betsy was born in Manitowoc and grew up in Maribel, Wisconsin. Betsy moved to Stevens Point and attended Wisconsin State College earning a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education. She moved permanently to Stevens Point upon meeting the love of her life and marrying Jim in 1962. Betsy taught for several years then started a family. She held different positions in child care and retail while also serving as vice president of Altenburg Dairy where she helped Jim grow the business.
Betsy loved to travel and made numerous trips to Europe with friends and family until her health made her stop. Not to be forgotten in her travels were the frequent sojourns spent in Door County. She began traveling there as a baby and never missed an opportunity to spend a summer or winter vacation on the peninsula. Betsy particularly loved Ellison Bay.
She also actively pursued myriad interests such as walking (and talking), aerobics (at the Lincoln Center), READING, art collecting, shopping, more shopping, gardening, traveling, cooking, sewing, movie and Netflix watching, consuming root beer floats, gift giving and advocating for the Family Crisis Center. Although Betsy was a quiet and unassuming person she engaged in her interests with a hearty fervor which enticed others to join her, leading to several walking and exercise groups and one brief skirting around the law to obtain coveted Door County street signage (and which will nix future canonization efforts). Her passion for reading led her to recommend and/or lend thousands of books to family and friends…some of which she apparently didn’t enjoy but still recommended.
Of all Betsy’s passions, taking care of family and friends stood uppermost in her heart. And her heart was exceptionally tender. She was a loyal and steadfast friend which engendered similar feelings in others. To have known her was to love her is an idiom that fits perfectly with Betsy Altenburg. She had numerous friends near and afar that she dearly loved and who gravitated toward her as they recognized her generous spirit and genuine affection for others.
Betsy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2003 and resolved to stave off the debilitating effects of the disease and overcome limitations which arose by supreme effort and will. She never let her illness prevent her from pursuing her passions. Betsy Altenburg left an indelible imprint on those who knew her. Her loss will be deeply felt.
Visitation will be held at Shuda Funeral Chapel, 3200 Stanley Street in Stevens Point on Wednesday, August 8, from 4-7pm. A Mass of Christian Burial for Betsy will be at St. Stephen Catholic Church on Thursday, August 9th at 11:00 am. Visitation will also be held that day from 9:30 – 10:45 at the Shuda Funeral Chapel and a procession to the church for mass will occur at 10:45am Thursday.
In lieu of flowers please consider donating to one of Betsy’s passions or donating to the Family Crisis Center. The Altenburg family will match funds given to the crisis center so that a small library can be established at the center honoring Betsy. Any funds left over can be used by the crisis center as they see fit.