Elizabeth Ann (“Betty”) Schierbaum Jobe Stevenson
Betty passed away in Kenosha, WI at the age of 97. She lived a long and varied life that reflected the unique conditions of the times. She endured difficulties and hardships, and emerged as a successful, resourceful citizen of the world,
The Schierbaum era. Betty’s uniqueness started early. Born in Iowa, to parents who were nearly 50, she often called her appearance “somewhat surprising.” Growing up on a small farm in Illinois during the worst of the depression, she played in fields, creeks, and along railroad tracks. She even took a ride on a switch engine. (Times were different then.) The little family got by selling produce like eggs, chickens, and cider. A “sewing lady” visited annually to make clothes for the women in the family. They were poor but generous. A hidden mark on the house indicated that the family would share what they had with the wandering unemployed (who may have jumped from a passing train). In return, they had to do some chores around the farm.
Betty’s father died. Her mother Rose and older sister Ethel became major influences in her life. Ethel, who was old enough to be her mother, was fortunate to have a teaching job and an income. Family lore is that she was one of the first women in the area to earn a master’s degree. She helped round out Betty’s life-experience and provided seeds for her global outlook. For example, the two visited Chicago to see plays and concerts, plus the 1933 World’s fair. They took a train trip to Colorado to visit family and a road trip to Canada.
Mother Rose was also a major influence in Betty’s life. She was gracious, calm, and resourceful in the face of many difficulties. By virtue of hard work, Rose made their little farm a home through exceptionally difficult times.
The Jobe era. After graduating from high school, Betty went off to the University of Illinois, a major financial commitment by her family. Like many young students, it was the start of a new phase in her life. Betty joined the 4-H House on campus. She also met Bob Jobe. The major global influence then was not to be the Depression, but the coming of WWII. Bob joined the Army Air Corps, they got married, and moved to the west coast while he trained as a navigator. When Lt. Jobe shipped out, Betty returned home, pregnant.
During “Big Week,” February 1944, his B-17 was shot down over the Netherlands, and he perished. He is an American war hero — a member of the greatest generation. His body is interred in a US military cemetery in the Netherlands. A wonderful family from nearby Margraten visits and attends his gravesite.
The Stevenson era. Some time later, Betty decided that she needed to finish the final year for her degree. So Betty, Rose, and the three-year-old Dennis Jobe moved into the living room of a house near the U of I campus. Three families used the downstairs, including one bathroom and kitchen, while an overflow from a fraternity house occupied the second floor.
The second semester, Betty started dating Wil Stevenson. Betty often said that he had to court three generations, the girl, her mother, and her son. He persisted and the couple wed. After Wil finished at the U of I, his father invited him to come and help run the family farm. Betty agreed, with the stipulation that they would attend church and take vacations. These requirements would shape the rest of their lives. Thereafter, the family was active in the Streator (IL) Park Presbyterian church. Betty was an elder, and served on many committees. The family took regular vacations, beginning with tents, then pop-up trailers, cabins, and finally proper hotels. Vacation sites graduated from state and national parks to the capitals of Europe. Betty and Wil also hosted many foreign exchange students.
Mirroring the influence of Ethel, Betty arranged to take numerous offspring (and spouses) on a week-long trip to New York City.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Wilbert, parents Rose and Tim, sisters Ethel and Edna, and brother Karl. She is survived by children Dennis, Jim, Tim, and Sara, along with three generations of grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank the staffs of Casa Del Mare and Hospice Alliance, in Kenosha, for their exceptional care.
It is suggested that remembrances be directed to Hospice Alliance, 10220 Prairie Ridge Blvd.
Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158 or to a favorite charity.