A graveside service for Betty (Kalstrom) Van Ransler, 94, formerly of Ekalaka, will be held at 1:00 pm Friday, August 20, 2021 at Beaver Lodge Cemetery in Ekalaka, Montana. A meal will be served following the graveside service at Ekalaka Bible Church.
Betty Claire (Kalstrom) Van Ransler passed on to Eternal Life in the early hours of June 10, 2020 at Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Betty was a born again Christian, having been water baptized by total immersion in 1968.
Betty was the first daughter born February 17, 1926 to Nils H. and Ina D. Kalstrom in Ekalaka, Montana. Betty had four older brothers who helped make her a bit of a tomboy. She loved helping her dad outside with the farm. A couple years after Betty’s birth, two more boys and three girls were added to the family.
The older children, including Betty, attended Sherwin Country School for all eight grades with only one teacher. Betty was a natural caregiver. Her first experience was sitting with her paternal grandmother at the young age of thirteen as she passed away. Betty worked as a waitress in Ekalaka in her younger years.
In 1948, she married the love of her life, Vincent Van Ransler, who was a farmer living 23 miles from Ekalaka in the Chalk Buttes. Once again, she loved working in the fields. Born to this union was one daughter, Linda. Betty gave Linda a correspondence course for first grade. They then moved to Ekalaka for her schooling.
Betty worked at Dahl Memorial Hospital and Vincent farmed during farming season until ill health forced him to stop. Betty cared for him at home until one week before his death in 1964. During her marriage, she enjoyed several wonderful vacations, traveling over a good part of the United States.
After Vincent’s death, Betty received her GED through correspondence courses and Carter County High School. After Linda graduated in 1967, they moved to Salinas, California, where other family members lived. Betty worked at Natividad and Salinas Valley Memorial Hospitals while living with and caring for her brother with MS and aging parents. Also during this time, she took more courses and trainings to become a Medical Records Technician.
After her father passed away, she and her mother moved to Merrill, Oregon, to be close to her daughter and her family. While there, she cared for her mother until her passing in 1980. Betty then worked as a dental receptionist, retiring in 1999.
Betty loved to travel. One of the highlights was a trip to Europe to visit her nephew and his wife in England. She also loved sports. From professional to family member activities, she was always there to cheer them on. Family gatherings were very important to Betty, whether they be in Montana, California, or Oregon. Betty always had a deep concern for family and was always available to lend a listening ear along with some advice. Betty had many hobbies, including woodworking, building large pieces of furniture with perfection for her daughter and grandchildren. Above all, her passion was writing poetry, especially in someone’s memory. Ekalaka was always close to her heart, as is reflected in the poem below, which was written when she lived in California.
Due to dementia, it was necessary for Betty to spend the last four months of her life in Memory Care where she is remembered as being a rummy card shark and showing concern for other residents.
Betty is survived by her daughter, Linda (John) Robustelli; grandchildren, Wendi (Bryan) Baird, Tim (Sara Hovland) Croy, and Carlea (Darryl) Langston; great-grandchildren, Eric, Tanner, Taylor, Morgan, Garrett, Austin, and Connor; sisters, Marlene Aman of Billings, Montana, and Diane (Herman) Venable of Gresham, Oregon; and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Vincent; parents, Nils and Ina; brothers, Edward (Helen) Kalstrom, Robert Kalstrom, Marshall (Verle) Kalstrom, Nels Kalstrom, Melvin (Geri) Kalstrom, and Lester Kalstrom; one sister, Bonye (Jack) Sharbono; one granddaughter, Misti (Croy) Matulewicz; and many other relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a contribution in Betty’s memory to the Beaver Lodge Cemetery, PO Box 189, Ekalaka, Montana, to help with the continued care of the cemetery.
A little town not known for fame
Most people can’t even say its name.
Rich in cowboy and Indian lore,
Did you ever hear of Ekalaka before?
Wide open spaces we could boast,
Friendly folks there were the most.
Our doors were always open wide,
No need to lock the world outside.
I’ve seen it when the wind did blow,
And the town was covered deep with snow.
I’ve seen it when the grass was green,
Thought it the prettiest sight I’d seen.
Some are born and stay there til
They bury them upon the hill.
When someone dies they’ve laid ‘em down,
Now there’s more up there than in the town.
A little town that lives in my heart,
And in my life played a major part.
Songs are written about Texarkana,
This one’s about Ekalaka, Montana.
So I’ll hang my dreams upon a star
And let it carry them afar
To a little town and days of yore
Did you ever hear of Ekalaka before?
Betty Kalstrom Van Ransle