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Betty Jane (Klemp) Dickman lived for 90 years and one month before passing away on Tuesday, December 26, 2023. She spent Christmas together with her immediate family at her home before peacefully passing with family present the following day.
Betty was born in Clintonville, WI on November 26, 1933, to Sadie and George Klemp. She was the second of six children and remained close to her family throughout their lives. In 1951 she graduated from Clintonville High School. While in high school, she worked at the local pharmacy as a soda jerk where she met her future husband, Llewellyn (Dick) Dickman.
They were married on September 20, 1952, at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Clintonville, WI and celebrated over 65 years of marriage until Dick passed in 2018. After a year in Clintonville, they moved to Oshkosh, WI where they lived for 15 years. It was while she was in Oshkosh that she began working full-time as a professional artist at the Miles Kimball Company.
She worked as an artist the entire time they lived in Oshkosh and art continued to be a passion throughout the rest of her life. She enjoyed expressing herself in any medium she could get her hands on - often painting or sketching gifts for close friends, decorating elaborate cakes for birthdays and holidays and knitting patterns of her own creation for church members, family and friends. She was never afraid to try something new and her hand painted Christmas ornaments, afghans, and sketches are beloved treasures and heirlooms.
Betty and Dick moved to Green Bay in 1968 and she worked remotely – before it was a thing – drawing Christmas cards for Miles Kimball until a bout with alcohol interrupted her life in 1974. After successful inpatient treatment for alcoholism, she rededicated her professional career to helping others who were battling addiction. This led to a second career as an Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (AODA) counselor with Bellin Hospital and the Brown County Mental Health Center, where she was known for her uncanny ability to tell you – very directly – exactly what you needed to hear, but also somehow in the kindest way possible. This would be a skill she exercised for the rest of her life, sharing advice and a kind word to those who needed it most.
She also became an active community member and served on the board of the 218 Club (Alcohol Anonymous) as well as the board of directors for Samaritan House, a halfway house, as it transitioned to Brown County’s first residential substance abuse treatment center. This center was later renamed for her friend and fellow advocate, Jackie Nitschke. Betty maintained her sobriety for the rest of her life and continued to help others who were battling with addiction and mental health issues.
Betty was a proud mother to her son Craig (Karen) Dickman, her grandchildren Megan (Alex) Dickman-Renard and Brenden (fiancé Clare) Dickman, and great grandson James Renard. Her eyes shone especially bright with family around and preparing for and celebrating holidays together was something she treasured most.
She is also survived by her sisters and brothers-in-law, Ruth and Robert Hall and Judi and Cameron Gorges; sister-in-law Mary Klemp; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents Sadie and George Klemp; sisters Mary Beversdorf/Johnson and Carol Stewart; brother George Klemp, Jr. and brothers-in-law Byron Beversdorf and Bud Johnson.
She was also blessed with amazing friends throughout her life, while too many to mention, they included her Friday night fish fry dinner partners, her Sunday post-church breakfast group, her frequent lunch and theater friends, her many fellow church members, her Bible study group and the friends gained over many summer weekends at Boulder Lake.
Betty was a member of Pilgrim Lutheran Church for 55 years and volunteered to work at the church, assembling church bulletins one-day a week, up until two weeks prior to her passing.
Visitation will be held at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 1731 St. Agnes Drive, Green Bay, WI on Saturday, December 30, 2023, starting at 9:00am with a funeral service to follow at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in support of the Jackie Nitschke Center in Green Bay, WI.