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Elizabeth "Betty" Rutten

Elizabeth "Betty" Rutten

Funeral mass will be held for Elizabeth "Betty" Rutten age 85, of Butler, Minnesota on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Butler, Minnesota, with Fr. Don Braukmann officiating. The hymns will be sung by the congregation, accompanied by Ann Koll. Musicians were Matthew and Luke Rutten. The pallbearers will be her sons: Paul, John, Albert, Mark, Chris, Louis, Matthew and Luke. Betty will be laid to rest in Holy Cross Catholic Church Cemetery, Butler, Minnesota. Visitation will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. with a Rosary Service and Parish Prayers at 7:00 p.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Butler, Minnesota. Visitation will resume one hour prior to the funeral mass at church on Friday. Elizabeth Ann (Betty Ann) Rutten passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at the age of 85. Born on December 13, 1931, Betty Ann was the youngest daughter of August (Gus) and Cecilia Wilkowski of Perham, MN. Betty Ann graduated from Perham High School in the class of 1949, of which she was class president. She subsequently attended Fergus Falls Teachers School and taught elementary school in a one-room school house for two years. Betty also worked as a waitress at Babe's Resort (now Zorbaz), in Perham. It was there she met a farm boy from Butler, Clarence Rutten. Betty and Clarence were united in marriage on June 17, 1952 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Perham. They made their home on the Rutten Family Farm in Butler. In 1958 they moved to Florida to operate a large dairy farm. After five years in Florida they returned to Butler; and while Clarence found work with Burlington Northern Railroad, Betty worked as a homemaker, wife and mother. Later, she found fulfillment as a special education aid for the New York Mills School District. Betty Ann raised 11 children, with unconditional love, in a four bedroom, one bathroom farmhouse. She was a good cook and spent each Saturday baking homemade bread and caramel rolls. Betty was always able and ready to offer guests a meal and conversation. Betty loved music and was blessed with a beautiful soprano voice that was often heard in her home as she performed daily household tasks, and also every weekend at the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Butler, where she was a member of the choir.

To know Betty, was to know constant motion - she was always busy, and often repeated the phrase, "most things in life are accomplished by tired people." It was as if she found joy in embracing toil; whether it was cooking, cleaning, mending clothes, gardening, harvesting, canning, and so on, if there was a task that needed to be completed, she just did it, usually while singing or humming. When she did sit down, she did so with purpose and would read or write; although, on occasion she did watch television. She especially enjoyed Carol Burnett's show and Bob Newhart; her laughter was contagious. Betty Ann was an avid letter-writer, preferring that method of communication to keep in contact with her many friends - those from her time in Florida, those she made while traveling Europe, as well as her many nieces, nephews, children and grandchildren. Betty also loved to write poems and penned an original poem, on an optimistic theme, to her children every Christmas. She also enjoyed the hobbies of scrapbooking and organizing photos. And in her free time, she took daily walks until her health prevented her from that form of exercise. Betty's optimism and determination were factors in her initial defeat of multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer, in 2001. That experience, no doubt, encouraged Betty to become engaged in the practice of reaching out to other cancer patients to offer comfort and support. Through this practice she modeled for others what could be considered her philosophy of life: "be kind to others." Betty Ann will be remembered for her constant curiosity, love of humor and unwavering integrity. She was pragmatic, levelheaded and dependable. Betty disdained gossip and was a trusted confidant; she eschewed attention and could always take a joke. In short, she was a genuinely nice and loving person, and a joy to be around. Betty Ann passed away 72 days before her and Clarence were to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, three older brothers Jim, John and Paul; and older sister Rosie. Betty Ann is survived by her husband, Clarence, 11 children and their spouses; Cecile (Jerome) Guck, Paul (Vickie), John (Cheryl), Albert (Lois), Mary (John) Peeters, Mark (Susan), Ann (Kevin) Commers, Chris (Peggy), Louis (Dana), Matthew (Angie) and Luke (Amy); 39 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and countless friends. In lieu of flowers and cards the Rutten family kindly asks that you make a donation to those less fortunate; your local food shelf and homeless shelter, for example. Also, that you offer encouragement to a child, and that you re-double your own efforts to "be kind to others."

Please visit to send Betty's family a message of comfort and support. Arrangements are provided by Karvonen Funeral Home, New York Mills, Minnesota.