Betty Jean Otis

May 1, 1929 – Nov. 30, 2021

Betty Jean Otis, 92 years young, Westfield, passed away Nov. 30, 2021 at 1:22 p.m. 

She was born May 1, 1929, daughter of Homer and Anna (Wood) Dill. Anna passed two days after giving birth to her beautiful daughter. Homer passed two years after Anna.

Mrs. Otis was raised by Anna’s sister, Bertha and her husband, Andy Whicker in Westfield, Ind.  The Whickers had two sons, Lowell and Lester. At some point cousin, Kathleen Frost (later married to Mahlon Heinzman) joined the family as a result of her mother passing.

Mrs. Otis was raised in the Wesleyan Methodist Church where she shared her gift of music vocally on many occasions. The Church was located on North Union Street, Westfield, Ind.

A new minister came to the Wesleyan church in Westfield by the name of Reverend R. J. Otis along with his spouse, Ollie. They had four children, Eldon (more commonly known as “Deacon”), Louise, Charles and Sandra. The oldest, Deacon, was attending Marion College in Marion Ind. (this later became Indiana Wesleyan) where he studied theology. Deacon hitchhiked often to visit his family. He met Mrs. Otis in Westfield, and in time they grew fond of each other without really ever having a date. By now the Whicker brothers had their own families and kept a close watch on young Mrs. Otis. She and Deacon were married after a few years of courting.

Deacon worked on the Monon Railroad along with doing some evangelistic ministry work. Mrs. Otis took in ironing and caring for older family members while acquiring the necessary experience and education to qualify her to begin work as a nurse’s aide at Riverview Hospital. She worked for several years at Riverview until Dr. Robert Shonk asked if she would work as a nurse in his medical practice.  She did, and when Dr. Shonk passed away she began working with Dr. Eunice Carter in Noblesville until they both “retired” (not really). She took a little time off before going to work for Dr. Karl Siebe in Noblesville, where she worked until 2015 (a few months before she turned 85).

Mrs. Otis had many friends along the way – many were family members. She spoke fondly of her shenanigans with cousin, Keith Whicker, singing and cooking with her cousin Kathleen (Frost) Heinzman and friend, Evelyn (Myers) Owen. They were asked often to perform as a gospel trio. She also enjoyed driving around town with cousin, Norma (Wood) Barker to “keep an eye on things” in the community. Many times, she shared a meal with friends Hubert and Geneva Berry and so many more.

Deacon passed away in 2004, but Mrs. Otis’s social life continued. She was still working, but enjoyed cooking (country cooking), music (especially hymns), animals (almost any kind, wild or domesticated), community events and people. 

Mrs. Otis shared many meals with her daughter, Teresa Skelton (formerly Otis); and son-in-law, Matt; and her buddy, Bill Marlott. Jim Harvey became a very important friend of hers for five years until Jim passed away. They both enjoyed driving across the countryside and eating Mexican food.

Mrs. Otis was on the Summerfest committee (a summer festival Westfield used to host each year), she served the Republican Women’s organization, she was a precinct committee person, a member of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce, Westfield Historical Society, Westfield Business Women’s group and she received the Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the year award in the 90’s. She also did some volunteering at Sanders Glen which became her home over the past four years. She loved her friends and caregivers at Sanders Glen, the visiting musicians and the companion animals that often visited with her.

Visitation will take place Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021 from 11 a.m. till 1 p.m. in Bussell Family Funerals. Mrs. Otis will be laid to rest along with Deacon in Hamilton Memorial Park.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Sanders Glen, 334 Cherry Street, Westfield, IN 46074. Bussell Family Funerals is privileged to assist the family in arrangements.