Betty A. Countryman

COLUMBIA — Betty A. Countryman of Columbia died Friday, March 25, 2011. She was 89.

Ms. Countryman was born Sept. 29, 1921, in Carroll County, Ill., to Hans and Amanda Peterson Hansen.

She married Roger Dale Countryman on Feb. 20, 1949.

Ms. Countryman moved to Columbia in the '70s after her husband died. Her son Duane was living in Columbia at the time.

She enjoyed the people she worked with in the canteen of Truman Veterans Hospital in Columbia.

In her spare time, Ms. Countryman made quilts for her family and took walks around town because she loved being outside.

"She would just sit there and watch the traffic go by," her daughter Connie Gilliam said.

While living at Oak Towers, Ms. Countryman took a class where she learned how to make crafts from all over the world. She especially enjoyed making dolls.

Gilliam was not always close to her mother, but as she grew older the two became closer.

"Once I got to know her, I just loved her to death," she said.

Gilliam and two of her brothers, Duane and Gary, live in Columbia now, but the family moved around a lot while they were growing up. The constant moving took a toll on their mother.

"She wanted to find some place stable where us kids could grow up," Gilliam said.

While she had six children, others loved her like a mother. Friends would occasionally stay at the house for months at a time and called her "Mom."

"She cared about everybody," Gilliam said. "She tried to help when she could."

Ms. Countryman is survived by six children, Connie Gilliam, Gary Countryman, Duane Countryman, John O'Conner, Michael O'Conner and Janice Hale; five siblings, Marilyn Greene, Neva Brumm, Sharon Naeve, Shirley Martin and Thomas Hansen; 15 grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.

A gathering will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 27, 2011, at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will follow at 2 p.m.

Memorial donations can be made in Ms. Countryman's name to the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, 115 Business Loop 70 W., Columbia, MO 65203.