Betty Popkes – Brookings

July 15, 1929 - Nov. 4, 2019

Betty Jean Popkes, age 90, of Brookings, S.D., formerly of George, Iowa, died Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, at the Brookings Health System.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Faith Reformed Church in Brookings, S.D., with the Rev. Rick Van Ravenswaay officiating. Burial will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Evergreen Lawn Cemetery at George, Iowa.

Visitation will be Friday, Nov. 8, from 4-6 p.m. with the family present at the Jurrens Funeral Home of George. A second visitation will take place Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service at the Faith Reformed Church in Brookings.

Betty Jean Popkes was born at her parents’ home northwest of George, Iowa, on July 15, 1929, the daughter of Henry and Gladys (Wischmeyer) Jansen. She graduated from eighth grade when she was 12 and graduated from George High School.  In the fall of 1945 she started college at Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa, and graduated in 1948 with a teaching degree.  

Betty was united in marriage to Art Popkes on Aug. 3, 1950, at Bethel Reformed Church near Ellsworth, Minn. After their wedding, Art and Betty farmed near Magnolia, Minn., for six years.  They lived in Sioux Falls, S.D., for two years and in Worthington, Minn., for a year.  

During that time Betty taught at various schools and also continued her education.  She graduated from Augusta College in 1959. In 1960, they moved back to George and made their home on a farm northeast of town.  Betty taught school for the George Community School District for 30 years.  In 1976, they purchased some land on the lake at Lake Benton, Minn., and developed Benton Shores Estates and sold residential lots. 

After retiring, she and Art spent most of their time at their lake home. Betty enjoyed singing in the church choir. She served on many committees at church along with serving as Elder. After Art died in 2003, she continued to live at Lake Benton and later moved to Brookings, S.D. This past Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, Betty passed away at the Brookings Health System in Brookings, S.D., at the age of 90.

Betty is survived by her son, Gene Popkes and his wife, Marjorie of Crookston, Neb.; four grandchildren, Laura and her husband, Paul Winckler of Rapid City, S.D.; Toni and her husband, Jason Praus of Gillette, Wyo.; Eric Popkes and his wife, Kate of O’Neil, Neb.; and Jack Popkes and his wife, Lora of Riverton, Wyo.; along with 13 great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Gladys; her husband, Art; and her son, Dale Popkes.


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