April 18, 1922 - July 7, 2019
Betty Lorraine Alleman (nee Menzel), 97, of Amherst, passed away peacefully with her family by her side on July 7, 2019.
Betty was born on April 18, 1922 in Park Falls, where through her early years she lived a Northwoods kind of life. Betty was the third of six children of Carl W. Menzel and Alice R. Menzel (nee Bruce). The Bruce family arrived in America from Scotland in the 17th century with Betty and her mother becoming members of the Daughters of the American Revolution based on the service of their ancestor James Bruce.
After her junior year of high school, Betty and family moved to Stevens Point, following her father’s job as a railroad engineer for the Soo Line Railroad. Immediately after high school, she held clerical jobs in Stevens Point while finding fun and excitement with such activities as winning dance contests at the Indian Crossing Casino and swimming across Columbia Lake on a dare.
In 1944, Betty joined the Women’s Army Corps. Trained as a skilled Army stenographer, she traveled to the European Theater by troop ship where she was assigned to train local German clerical staff in Frankfurt, Germany. Betty was honorably discharged at the rank of Tech Corporal in 1946. On returning to Stevens Point, she became the first woman to receive her pilot’s license at the local airport. It was hanging out at the airport that Betty met her husband, recently returned P-38/P-80 pilot Jack Alleman, by asking him if he wanted a ride in an airplane. A couple months later, Betty and Jack flew in a borrowed airplane to elope in Kansas City.
After selecting a destination by throwing a dart at a US map, the two of them settled on Boulder, Colorado, where their first son, John Jr. was born. When Jack was called to active duty during the Korean War, Betty was socially active taking community leadership roles, chairing Officers’ Wives’ Clubs, Welcome Wagon, and bridge clubs on the nine different bases that Jack was posted to between 1950 and 1967. Betty and Jack’s second son, Karl, was born on their penultimate assignment as an active duty US Air Force family in Altus, Oklahoma.
After Jack retired from the Air Force, Betty and Jack built the home they would live in for 43 years in the countryside between Amherst and Waupaca. Betty raised horses, grew Christmas trees, and managed rental properties, while still finding time to be an outstanding cook, champion bridge player, avid gardener, and aspiring golfer. She won two bouts with cancer during this time, demonstrating her incredible fighting spirit.
When Jack passed away from illness, Betty moved to Naperville, Illinois, to be near her two sons and their families as she recovered from a stroke. She was a well-known and beloved member of her assisted living community where she enjoyed a happy, active life for her last nine years.
Betty will be remembered by her family and friends as a bright, witty, classy, glamorous, determined, positive, and loving wife and mother. She and Jack were married for over 63 wonderful years, traveling the world and particularly enjoying their many trips to the beaches of Puerto Rico and the wilderness of Alaska. Her sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren were her pride and joy, and she reveled in their achievements and potential.
She is survived by her sons: John, Jr. (Loredana) and Karl (Kathleen); her grandchildren: Matteo, Zachary, Jacob, and Karleen; her sister, Vera Eichstaedt; and her brothers: Bruce Menzel and Gerald “Jerry” Menzel. She was preceded in death by her husband, John F. “Jack” Alleman; her father, Carl Menzel; her mother, Alice Menzel; her brother, Harold “Bud” Menzel; and her sister, Jane Burgess.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Stroke Association.
Interment was at Badger Cemetery in Lanark Township, Wisconsin (south of Highway 54 on County Road D), where a burial service with military honors was held on July 27.
A.J. Holly & Sons of Waupaca assisted the family.