Betty Marie Pflittner Hancock was born on Palm Sunday, 1926, in Cedarburg, WI. She departed earthly life peacefully on February 28, 2019, one month shy of her 93rd birthday, in Mandeville, LA. She was predeceased by her husband of 70 years, Harry Franz Hancock; parents, Leona (Kuether) and Richard Pflittner; siblings, Louise Friess and John Pflittner of Cedarburg, and Ann Hennings of Fairfield, CA. She is survived by three daughters, Beth (Bill) Drewes, Incline Village, NV, Martha (Neal) Hennegan, Mandeville, LA, and Nancy Hancock, Towson, MD; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren (with two more on the way). Until age 18, Betty spent her life in Cedarburg, where her forebears, German immigrants, had settled in 1860. There, she skated on Cedar Creek in the winter, swam in it in the summer, and had jobs babysitting, picking ginseng, and selling tickets at the local Rivoli Theatre. As a teenager, she spent summers in nearby Oconomowoc helping to care for a young cousin. In 1944, after graduating as class salutatorian, Betty accepted the offer to join the Service — and get a free education — as a cadet nurse in Chicago. Against her parents’ wishes (just a tad stubborn), she ventured to the city she would ever after refer to as “my favorite city in the world” to pursue her degree as a registered nurse at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital, now part of the Rush medical system. Betty was dedicated to nursing throughout the rest of her life. Her last formal job in home healthcare gave her insight that she carried into her final years, when she determinedly ministered to those around her, despite her own limitations. Betty was in Chicago soon after the end of The War, when Harry Hancock, newly returned from his time in the European Theatre, and whom she’d known during those summers in Oconomowoc, managed to make contact with her, abetted by a mutual friend. (Thank you, Ila Mae.) The rest, as they say… In September 1947, Betty and Harry were married in Cedarburg and then settled into their “honeymoon apartment” at 1260 North Dearborn Parkway in Chicago. Harry was working at Carson Pirie Scott in the loop, rival of neighboring Marshall Field & Company. His retailing career proceeded to relocate them many, many times throughout the Midwest. They tallied 34 moves during their marriage! Betty saw her role as wife and mother as her highest calling. Possessed of perhaps limited means but boundless determination, a creative streak, and a fierce sense of home, she made each new house a haven for the family. With every move, the first order of business was to find and become involved at the local Episcopal church. Though raised Lutheran, Betty embraced the Episcopal church so dear to her husband, and served faithfully in many capacities: Altar guild, flower guild, every member canvas, Sunday school teacher. These were among the many outward signs of a deep and abiding faith that sustained Betty throughout her life and with which she blessed her family by example. Not the least of these was the equanimity, good nature, and peace with which she met her final days. The Hancock’s left the corporate rat race in 1979 to return to Oconomowoc, where they re-connected with the community and owned LaBelle Photo and Gifts, blending Harry’s talents for photography and merchandising and Betty’s eye for design. They were active in the LaBelle Yacht Club and at Zion Episcopal Church, and Betty was a multi-year president of and passionate contributor to the work of the Oconomowoc Historical Society. They traveled abroad (Betty had 17 Heathrow stamps in her passport) for unique gifts for “The Roost” and thrived in their antique lakeside home, where Harry’s parents had lived years before. 430 North Lake Road was a treasured family gathering spot for the Hancocks’ children and grandchildren for the next 30 years. The community remains dear to all the family. In 2009, the couple’s octogenarian status and some health scares prompted them to decamp from beloved Oconomowoc and move to Mandeville, LA, to be nearer to family on whom they could fall back in case of emergency. Little did anyone suspect what that would look like in the ensuing years! But daughter Marty and her Neal took it on, while Betty and Harry enjoyed proximity to family and their new community and its culture. Betty also found a “home” in connecting with the Mandeville PEO chapter. After Harry’s death in October of 2017, Betty showed her characteristic resilience by adapting to yet another home: Beau Provence in Mandeville. Following some understandable reluctance, but with the patience and love of Beau Provence staff, ministrations of the Christ Church Covington pastoral team, and ongoing care from Notre Dame Hospice, she formed a bond with the Beau Provence community. Betty’s family will be forever grateful. Betty, Sergeant Granny, Flit/Pflit, Mom, Goodie will be remembered for her many, many gifts — her unswerving devotion to our Lord, to family, to friends; welcoming tins of cookies; cross-stitched versions of anything and everything — and so much more. As a dear friend who shared Betty’s birth date (if not year) said upon learning of her passing, Betty Marie Pflittner Hancock was “a model of grit and grace”. We hold her in our hearts. A Memorial service is planned at Zion Episcopal Church, Oconomowoc, WI, in July. Interment at Zur Ruhe Cemetery, Cedarburg, WI. Memorials may be sent to: Zion Episcopal Church 237 North Lake Road Oconomowoc, WI 53066 zion-oconomowoc.org
OR Christ Episcopal Church, Covington 120 S. New Hampshire Street Covington, LA 70433 christchurchcovington.com
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