Cover photo for Betty   Sleister's Obituary
Betty   Sleister Profile Photo
1923 Betty 2017

Betty Sleister

September 28, 1923 — November 5, 2017

   Betty Jean Sleister was born to Darlene Markley on September 28, 1923 in Atlantic, Iowa. At about two years of age she was placed in the Iowa Soldier’s Orphanage in Davenport, Iowa. At the age of four years and three months she was adopted by Elmer and Ellen Pauline “Nellie” (Markley) Hansen, of Mason City, Iowa. Nellie was her birth aunt. On November 9, 1940 she married Robert (Bob) Sleister in Papillion, Nebraska. They made their home on a farm near Manilla, Iowa. In 1989 Betty had a major stroke while being prepped for the removal of a brain tumor. Her husband Bob was a great caregiver for her and provided her encouragement in her efforts to recover. Bob died on March 9, 1996. In the fall of 1996 Betty moved to West Burlington, Iowa to be near her youngest son and his family. She lived there until 2008 when she had a light stroke. She then moved to Forest City, Iowa so her older daughter could help take care of her. She lived there until she moved into the Lake Mills Nursing Center in 2013.

   Betty received her education in the Audubon and Council Bluffs public schools. She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs. Betty was an excellent bassoon player and played a solo at the National Contest in Kansas City, Missouri. She was the first chair bassoonist in the Abraham Lincoln concert band and orchestra. Both received the top rating at the National Contests in Colorado Springs and Kansas City. While in high school she was a substitute bassoonist for the Omaha Symphony Orchestra and played for one concert.

   At the age of ten Betty accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Her faith was very important to her. After she married she joined the Methodist Church in Manilla where she was very active in the Sunday School, Bible School, the United Methodist Women and the church board. In 1980 she accepted a position on the Sioux City District UMW Executive Committee and served eight years as Secretary of Global Missions and Secretary of Global Concerns. She attended the School of Christian Missions eleven times. Betty was an officer for the United Methodist Women’s group while she lived in West Burlington. Betty knitted numerous little sweaters for premature babies in Zimbabwe at the request of one of the missionaries.

   Betty was a busy farm wife and mother. One year she canned over a thousand quarts of garden produce. She liked to cook and bake, especially bread and rolls. She made sure that there were pies, cakes and other baked goods for all to enjoy.  She enjoyed sewing and made clothes for her family and friends. She enjoyed knitting and crocheting. She made at least one afghan for each of her children, for fifteen grandchildren, a cousin, a niece, and a good friend. She made nearly forty baby blankets for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Betty loved to read and talk to people. For the last twenty years she was a big Iowa Hawkeyes fan and watched most of their ballgames.

   Betty passed away on November 5, 2017 at the Lake Mills Care Center. 

   Besides her husband, Betty was preceded in death by her son Larry, a grandson Ryan Hammer, her parents, her sister and her brother. Betty is survived by five children: David (Priscilla) Sleister of Exira, Paulette (Ray Hammer) of Forest City, Dennis Sleister of Warwick, Rhode Island, James (Sheila) Sleister of West Burlington, and Kathy Oliver of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She is also survived by her daughter-in-law Pat Sleister of Guthrie Center, fifteen grandchildren, twenty-eight great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Funeral Service

Saturday, November 11, 2017, 1:00 PM

United Church, Manilla

Rev. Vicki Fisher, Officiant



Jim Sleister, Kathy Oliver & Alex Oliver



“His Eye Is On The Sparrow”

 “Precious Lord”   “The Lord’s Prayer”  

“Wind Beneath My Wings”  “Amazing Grace”   

Recorded Music


Casket Bearers

Matt Sleister     Darren Sleister     Natalie Hammer

Andy Sleister     Tasha Troha     Alex Oliver


Honorary Casket Bearers

Marti Sleister     Kim Sullivan     Jon Sleister

Steven Hammer     Christie Stiles     Mary Mansheim

Aaron Oliver     Adam Oliver    Maury Sleister



Oak Hill Cemetery, Irwin

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