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Elizabeth (Betty) Gainey, 88

Published 9:54am Friday, March 7, 2014

Betty M. Gainey of Owatonna, died, March 5, 2014, at Koda Living Community in Owatonna.


Betty was born Sept. 27, 1925, in Dubuque, Iowa, the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Bardon. Raised in the “Little Dublin” area of Dubuque, she attended and graduated from St. Raphael School. While performing in theatrical productions at Loras College, she met Raymond Gainey of Austin. They were married in Dubuque in 1947 and moved to Austin in 1949.

Betty became a theatrical regular in Austin, appearing in the Passion Play. Later, after moving to Owatonna in 1961, Betty became a regular at the Owatonna Little Theater appearing in “You Can’t Take It With You,” “Damn Yankees,” “Nunsense” and “Steel Magnolias.” She served for years on the LTO Board of Directors an was thrilled to be given the LTO Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award.

Betty was a proud and busy homemaker lovingly raising nine children. She was always coaching, encouraging and present for their school events, dearly loving all sports and theatrical productions. Once her children were in school, she worked at the Owatonna office of Northwestern Bell Telephone where she was an information operator until her retirement in 1995, after 25 years of service.

Betty took this love and devotion to family to her next generation, and enjoyed being involved and present to her grandchildren at their events too, until her health prevented it. To the younger generation she was very dear and affectionately known as Grandma G. Her faith and the people of the Owatonna community were very important to her. She compassionately reached out to help and support family and many others when they needed it most. She had a special joy volunteering for many organizations, and especially loved those that gave scholarships to young people for theater and nursing education.

She is survived by daughter Mary Anne (Jerry) Wolesky, of Austin,; son Michael (Kathy) Gainey, of Phoenix, Ariz., daughter Kathleen (John) Ihlenfeld, of Owatonna; son Patrick Gainey, of Vail Colo.; son Daniel (Anne) Gainey, of Menomonie, Wis.; son Timothy (Lori) Gainey, of St. Cloud, Minn.; daughter Colleen “Putsy” (Jim) Hougas, of Owatonna; son Kevin Gainey, of Freeborn, Minn.; and son Raymond (Becky) Gainey, of Northfield, Minn.; 20 grandchildren, 20 more great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Charles “Duke” Bardon of Dubuque and her ex-husband Raymond Gainey.

Mass of Christian Burial is set for 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 10, 2014, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Owatonna. A private family interment will take at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Owatonna. Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 9, 2014, at Brick — Meger Funeral Home (1603 — Austin Road, Owatonna) and one hour before the funeral liturgy on Monday.

The family is eternally grateful for the loving care given to Betty at Koda Living Community, from Homestead Hospice and from Dr. Janet Beckman. Memorials suggested to Koda Living Community, Sacred Heart Church, Owatonna Young Life Foundation or Homestead Hospice Patient Care Fund. To leave an on-line condolence go to

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