Betty Jane Burrell

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Betty Jane Burrell (Vest)

Birthdate: (80)
Death: Died in Elkhart, IN, USA
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Place of Burial: Elkhart, Elkhart, IN, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Edwin Clay Vest and Dorothy Lawee Vest
Wife of Joseph Warren Burrell, Jr.
Mother of Suzann Burrell Haas; <private> Burrell; <private> Burrell and Ellen Anne Hemminger
Sister of Dorothy Ellen Hunter

Occupation: Teacher
Managed by: Melissa Anne Forbes
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Betty Jane Burrell

ELKHART -- Betty Burrell's death surprised her friends and family, but they're coping by remembering her commitment to education and her no-nonsense, we-can-do-it-better approach.

"Betty had a lot of answers -- I'll bet she's up there talking to God and she's already bent God's ear about changes that need to be made," said Bruce Klonowski, Hawthorne Elementary School principal who worked with the longtime educator.

"She was always thinking like an educator," said Klonowski, who worked with Burrell for 20 years. "She was always asking 'What else can we do?'"

"She probably went the way she would have liked to -- just to sit down and die," said Manley, who most recently worked with Burrell as one of four volunteer coordinators at Trinity United Methodist Church. "I'll always be grateful for the chance that I had to know her."

Burrell taught elementary school for Elkhart Community Schools for 29 years, retiring in 1983. She was one of the first teachers in Elkhart Schools' PEP program and served as kindergarten chairman for the corporation. She stayed active after retiring, helping start a volunteer mentoring program at Trinity United Methodist Church, which now sends 70 volunteers into Hawthorne Elementary School.

Her death was unexpected, said Burrell's daughter, Ellen Hemminger, because she'd just been to a luncheon and a funeral that week -- in her usual style of giving to others.

"She cared more about other people than she did herself," said Hemminger, an art teacher at Goshen Middle School. "She was a good mother."

She was also a good teacher, said Matt McCoy, who was in Burrell's second-grade PEP class at Roosevelt Elementary School in the early 1980s.

"She was a good educator, very no-nonsense," said McCoy, who graduated from Denver University and lives in Colorado. He said he remembers creative learning techniques, like making "stone soup" and binding books.

Matt's mother, Jackie McCoy, was a teacher's aide to Burrell and remembers "how very personal she was with everyone." She gave a "thank-you, very fancy" tea in her home for the teacher's aides nearly 20 years ago that Jackie, herslef an Elkhart teacher, said she still remembers.

Hemminger said all memorial contributions should be given to Trinity United Methodist Church for a Hawthorne book fund.

"I'd rather have the money sent to the school where she worked hard getting the program started," said Hemminger.

A memorial service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home. See complete obituary on this page.

ELKHART -- A memorial service for Betty Jane Burrell, 80, 138 Graywood Ave., will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home, with calling from 4 p.m. until the time of the service. The Rev. Mark Fenstermacher of Trinity United Methodist Church will officiate, and burial will be in Rice Cemetery.

Mrs. Burrell, a retired elementary school teacher, died at 11:45 a.m. Aug. 22 in her home.

She was born on April 20, 1921, in Columbus, Ohio, to Edwin C. and Dorothy L. (Lake) Vest and married Joseph W. Burrell April 20, 1946, in Columbus. He died March 11, 1994.

Mrs. Burrell was an elementary teacher for Elkhart Community Schools for 29 years, retiring in 1983. She was among the first teachers in Elkhart Schools' PEP program and served as kindergarten chairman for the corporation.

She was a graduate of Ohio State University and held a master's degree from Purdue University.

Mrs. Burrell was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, for which she was co-leader of a student mentoring program at Hawthorne Elementary School. Her other memberships included the Elkhart General Hospital Auxiliary; Indiana chapter of Mayflower Descendents; Elkhart County chapter of the Indiana State Retired Teachers Association; Pilgrim Edward Fuller chapter of the Colonial Dames of the 17th Century, for which she served as organizing president; William Tufts chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; Indiana State Board of Management; and the Elkhart and South Bend chapters of the Embroidery Guild.

She is survived by daughters Susan Haas of Arlington, Texas, and Mrs. Michael (Ellen) Hemminger of Goshen; sons Steven J. and Timothy Burrell of Elkhart; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A sister, Dorothy Hunter, and a granddaughter, Michelle Burrell Haas, preceded her in death.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the church's Hawthorne Elementary School book fund.


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Betty Jane Burrell's Timeline

April 20, 1921
August 22, 2001
Age 80
Elkhart, IN, USA
August 2001
Age 80
Elkhart, Elkhart, IN, USA
Columbus, Ohio, United States
West Lafayette, Indiana, United States