Cover photo for Betty Jane Johnson Behrns's Obituary
Betty Jane Johnson Behrns Profile Photo

Betty Jane Johnson Behrns

d. January 7, 2015

88, was born March 27, 1926, at home in North Tonawanda, NY to William Charles and Agnes Gabrielle (nee Jacobson-Sudmann) Johnson of Bergen, Norway. Betty died on January 7, 2015, on Bainbridge Island, WA where she had lived since 2002 near daughter Kristine Behrns Carroll (David Adler) and granddaughter Sina O. Carroll of San Francisco. Betty died in care at Island Health and Rehabilitation Center. We are beyond grateful for their patience and kindness.Betty grew up on the Niagara River between Lakes Erie and Ontario. She loved boating, swimming, and tennis at summer lakeside cottage rentals with family or her high school sorority sisters. After school, she started a full-time business career that lasted from 1945 to 2002, first in banking and transportation, then at Buffalo Forge and Taylor Devices in western New York. She was both an artist and an athlete in her free time. Betty quit riding horses the day she turned a galloping horse at a car, and they jumped it. On the other hand, despite substantial bruising, she wasn't deterred from crewing in weekly keelboat races on Lake Erie. Late in life she slowed down to cycle and play tennis and cribbage with her sister-in-law, the late Carol Johnson. Betty took drawing and painting in oil and acrylics at the Albright-Knox Museum school and with George Palmer throughout her life. Unfortunately, by the time her retirement studio was finished, her dementia had robbed her of many visual skills.A full-time business woman, she was dangerous and frightening in the kitchen, causing incidents that ranged from pressure-cooked pea soup embedded in the ceiling to a jiffy popcorn fire. Traveling for business was much preferred. She could juggle a good Manhattan at lunch and phone calls from whatever barn, school, camp, or horse show her daughter attended.She is survived by Johnson, Holke, and Behrns nieces and nephews and many grands: in NY, Robert E. (Mary) Johnson of Silver Creek, David W. (Mary E.) Johnson of Hemlock, Patricia A. (Michael J) Faulhaber, Debra K. Valenti, and Gary (Nancy) Behrns of North Tonawanda, Sandra J. (Charles D.) Hahn of Buffalo, Richard A. (Eileen P.) Johnson of Snyder, and John Holke and Thomas Holke of New York City; in FL, Nancy Behrns of Clearwater and Catherine Holke Emihovich of Gainesville; and in WA, the Cunningham-Williams-Fricke family of Bainbridge Island.There will be a drawing on BB's next birthday to select the keeper of The Painting and selection of the Next Most Responsible Adult.Friends and family are invited to a Bainbridge at Home on March 27, 2015. Family and passersby will be welcomed when Betty's ashes are shared in New York between the Johnson family site and Great Grandmother Sine Johnson's resting place. A picnic lunch will be served.

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