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Columbia Missourian

Betty Dack documented travel through art

By Lauren Gatcombe
January 4, 2013 | 4:43 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA— Some of Jamie Dack and Mary Nelson's favorite memories of their mother, Betty Dack, stem from the many summer vacations the family spent in Canada.

In the summer of 1959, the Dacks went to Canada, in the western region of Ontario, looking for a small island to camp on.  After a few years of camping on Celyddon island, the family purchased the property, which was part of the Queen of England's Crownland, in 1963 and built a cabin.

Mary Nelson said the island is shaped like a fish and is three blocks long and one block wide with rough terrain.

"She loved being up there and did a lot of paintings," Nelson said. "She enjoyed the wilderness and camping atmosphere."

Nelson said her mother was artistic from an early age.

"Art influenced everything she did," Nelson said.

Mrs. Dack died Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. She was 90 years old.

She was born Nov. 27, 1922, in Des Moines, Iowa, to Claude A. and Ruth Ogden Burns.

Mrs. Dack received a bachelor's degree in art and art education from the University of Iowa. In 1968, she received a master’s degree from MU in child development.

She was an elementary art teacher briefly in Davenport, Iowa, before marrying James L. Dack. The couple married on July 29, 1944. They were married for 50 years.

Jamie Dack said she has some of the love letters her father wrote to her mother and fondly remembers how in love and devoted to each other they were.

Mrs. Dack worked in the Child Development Department at Stephens College starting in 1969.

In 2006, Mrs. Dack wrote an autobiography with the help of her daughter Jamie titled "Wouldn't it be fun?!" that is full of memories about her marriage and her time in Canada.

The title came from when Mrs. Dack said, "Wouldn't it be fun to find an island in Canada?"

Mrs. Dack is survived by her three daughters, Mary Nelson, of Del Rapids, S.D., Nancy Neff and her husband, Jeremy, of Eau Claire, Wis., Jamie Dack and her husband, Randy Bowden, of Lupus, Mo., and one son, James Dack and his wife, Cindy, of Dixon, Mo.; her sister, Virginia May, of Johnstown, Pa.; 10 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Her husband, James L. Dack, and a son-in-law, Larry Nelson, died earlier.

A service will be held Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. at the Epple Chapel in Lenoir Woods, 3710 S. Lenoir St. The family will be available for visitation from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. Ninth St., Columbia, MO 65201, and to Lutheran Senior Services Living Foundation Benevolent Care, 1150 Hanley Industrial Ct., St. Louis, MO 63144.