Elizabeth G. NielsenSeptember 5, 1960 ~ July 13, 2017 (age 56)
Elizabeth “Betsy” Gail Nielsen of Niceville, FL went to be with our Lord on July 13, 2017 after an extended illness. Betsy was born September 5, 1960 at Elmhurst, Ill. She grew up attending public schools in Grand Rapids, Michigan, completing High School in 1978. She completed 4 years of college primarily at Hope College in Holland, MI, then Wright State University in Dayton, OH.
Betsy married Byron E. “Ron” Nielsen in 1981. They spent their early years in the Air Force, being stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, and then moving to Eglin AFB in 1984, and moving to Niceville in 1988 when Ron switched to Reserves. They had 3 children while in the Air Force, Kathryn (Kathy) Morrow, Joel Nielsen of Niceville, and Jonathan Nielsen.
Betsy was known for her gentle sweetness, kindness, perky personality, and how her inner beauty radiated through her beautiful smile. She genuinely lit up a room when she entered. Looking at the posts from all ages, it is apparent that she made a lasting impression on everybody: toddlers to adults. People who had never met her remembered her coming in with her incredible warmth, joyful spirit, and that beautiful Betsy glow. People who knew her knew an active and loving mother, wife, daughter, friend, and a Nana.
Betsy threw her heart and soul into her favorite thing, being a Mommy, then a Nana. Not just a pretty face, she taught all the kids to read before school age, had all 3 practicing piano before school, and volunteered to help with everything the kids did, from soccer to Sunday School, she was there. Her longest-running volunteer activities were being the Ruckel Middle School band lead chaperone for seven straight years, and teaching Sunday school for several years at both Trinity Methodist then First United Methodist (now Crosspoint. She was so good raising the kids in a loving and active manner that she always seemed to have extra kids at the house to raise, (her friends wanted their kids to have the Betsy touch).
Betsy’s health problems were starting to dominate her life by the time grandkids came. But hard as it was to put on a happy face, she showed Brayden and Kylie how delighted she was to have them at our house. Even when her legs and arms stopped working, grandkids were her best medicine available to her. Her smiles and laughter as the kids raced around her was beautiful music… this was her heaven on earth.
It is important to know what a strong person Betsy was in the face of her challenges. She battled a cruel autoimmune system disease for over 10 years. For the past 3 years, she had not been able to take the medicine to slow it down. The death 2 years ago of her youngest, Jonathan, was especially devastating to her in her weakened state. Many hospital stays, many doctors, and unimaginable pain have been a large part of her life for quite awhile, yet she somehow found adrenaline, and never stopped doing all she could to be herself and not be remembered for the disease. But she did hate when she would have to miss family get togethers. So, to now be with Jesus, Jonathan, her Mom, Sophie, and free of the pain and sickness, she’ll now be able to be with us for every dinner, every holiday, every grandkid milestone. For this our happiness exceeds our grief.
The family is extremely grateful to the special friends, relatives, our Riley Road family, and our church family who did not give up on us while we were “holed up” for the past couple of years. Your patience was a blessing, and your prayers made a difference. We will not forget it.
Betsy was preceded in death by her son, Jonathan Nielsen, her granddaughter Sophie Elaine Nielsen, and her mother Connie Berghage. She is survived by her husband Ron Nielsen of Niceville, her daughter Kathy Morrow, Kathy’s husband, Joe , and children Brayden and Kylie Morrow of Ft Walton Beach; son Joel Nielsen of Niceville; father Robert Berghage of Niceville, brother Robert Berghage and his wife Jennifer of State College Pa, and Barbara Nyenhuis of Wisconsin. Also family are the godparents of Betsy‘s children: Larry and Lynn Avery of Niceville; and many extended family members. There will be a time of visitation held on Monday, July 24, 2017 from 5:00-6:30pm at Heritage Gardens Funeral Home. A celebration of her life will begin at 3:00pm on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at Crosspoint UMC, Niceville, FL.
In lieu of flowers, please send an Honorary Rheumatoid Arthritis donation to Arthritis National Research Foundation. Be sure to specify Rheumatoid Arthritis.